Here you will find writings that give some insight into Trinity’s programs.

For Teachers

Posted on Jan 26, 2016 in

It is time to talk about the role, work and presence of the teacher with a view to how he/she can play a productive part in the social/emotional development of their students. This is important to discuss because the links between the social/emotional sides of a person’s nature and their learning capacity are becoming more apparent thanks to neuroscience.

And important too for all of us, including teachers themselves, to develop more literacy around the role public education plays in our society’s vision of itself. What indeed does it say about ourselves and our communities that we want our young to be educated in this way? And consequently what are we actually expecting of our teachers, and what should they expect of themselves, as men and women of vocation?

The teacher is in many ways the most significant adult a young person meets after the adults in their immediate and extended family. And we have been assuming that the primary social/emotional development work is being done only in the nuclear family. But what if that primary ‘education’- given what we now know of the length of time involved in the developing brain through childhood and adolescence- is also being supplied by other adults in the community?

As well we should also examine whether we are assuming that a young person’s learning is primarily the result of a conscious act – meaning the parent or later teacher sits the young person down and transmits articles of learning. When in truth the child does not only learn but absorb information and practices from its adults and it always takes in far more than the adults actually intend! All of which makes the actual ‘education’ of the child a complex act.

There is a role for the teacher in the social/emotional development of youth. This is obvious at the elementary level of education, and largely dismissed at the secondary level. This is a mistake. There is a role for teachers with youth, possibly as guide, as mentor, as inspiration, as conscience, as model, and as friend.

What if the secondary teacher’s role lay beyond academics? What if that role was one that involved creating a pathway to community, by helping youth to learn how to learn with others- including how to balance the social/emotional aspects of one’s developing character with the engaged work/achievement aspects of conscious living?

There are simple ways a secondary teacher can introduce social/emotional development in the classroom without detracting from the academic subject they are teaching. Following is a list of some of those ways that we will elaborate on in further blogs.

(1) Use talking/learning circles.

(2) Become a peer leader in learning.

(3) Define your personal educational goals.

(4) Think like a river.

(5) Sweat the small stuff!

(6) Make it personal.

(7) Story the classroom.

(8) Strive for relevance.

(9) Make connections.

A re-cap of the best Christmas break of my life and back to school

Posted on Jan 22, 2016 in

Let me start with a Happy New Year (even though it feels like quite a while ago that we had our holiday break). I had the best Christmas ever! My son Matthew, who dances with the Stuttgart Ballet, is always performing over Christmas (like all dance companies seem to). This year, however, the company was given five days over Christmas off. This knowledge he and his twin brother Alex decided to keep a secret from their parents, and on December 23, for the first time in ten years, Matthew came home for Christmas. The guy surprises us by walking into our respective kitchens. This was, of course, captured on Alex’s cell phone camera, and posted on Christmas day. You can see it if you find me on Facebook. The video is somewhere on my home page. It was truly a dizzyingly wonderful handful of days with Matthew here. Add to that the joy that delightful grandson Wesley brings into the mix, and I will hold Christmas 2015 in my heart for the rest of my days.

Now that we are back to school, and I am once again writing blogs, I want to refer to an aspect of that extraordinary reunion – namely the cell phone on which Alex captured my reaction. Thanks to the presence of cell phones in our lives, I now have a video to look at when I’m feeling sentimental – for which I am grateful. But here’s my dilemma – what about the presence of cell phones during our training?

We are guests in schools, and as a result, not always sure what each school’s official and/or unofficial stance is regarding cell phones. I’d like to think I am easy going regarding their presence in the nooks and crannies of a training session – I mean, before we begin, during breaks, etc. – but I think that when we are involved in the actual training there should be undivided focus and attention given to the trainers and fellow peer leaders.

So what would you do when presented with a group of Grade 8 peer leaders who throughout the course of an entire day had to be constantly asked to put the cell phones away? Who put knapsacks on their laps to disguise their compulsion to continue texting? Who, in the end, were either being openly oppositional, or didn’t even hear the request to put them away because they were so caught up in whatever was on their screen?

I’d also like to think that I am always respectful of those I am training – regardless of their age. I do my utmost to treat everyone kindly, reasonably and with transparency. But to have that approach of patience and respect challenged eventually got my insides roiling. Reluctantly, I went ‘adult’ and started lecturing. But I did leave the group with this task for our next training session – “If you were me, how would you handle the cell phone issue? “ We will consider their suggestions for removing them as distraction and work with the most reasonable solution. By the way, the school has a no cell phones in class policy, so we can always fall back on that, but it would be an accomplishment if we could, as a group, arrive at a solution in which they felt they had some say.

So I ask you, what about our attachments cell phones? In the end, I am thrilled that there was a cell phone present to capture the experience for me. But, what about in school? At Trinity, we are looking for ways to integrate a role for them in our training, but I have to say that when it comes to face-to-face interaction and the very real mentoring and leadership development work involved, there is no place for split focus and the optics of disrespect that is part and parcel of looking at a smart phone screen.

Navigating Trinity as an Intern!

Posted on Jan 19, 2016 in

Khaya’s Perspective

For those of you who don’t know – I am Trinity’s newest intern for Marketing & Communications.

I’m remembering how badly I wanted this position approximately 3 weeks ago. “THAT’S IT!” I yelled aloud while frantically scrolling for internship positions related to my school program, “This is me! I can do this!”. I envisioned myself working for Trinity Theatre, knowing nothing about the organization itself other than what was presented to me through the website and listing.

The position outlined a platform of ideas that I could get behind – community & relationship building, social & emotional development in youth and experiential learning through theatre and other related workshops. It also lined up rather nicely with my acquired skills – writing, communications, marketing, promotions & social media. My heart started racing and I couldn’t seem to whip up a cover letter and edit my resume fast enough. (For those of you in need of a co-op for school, you know the type of pressure I’m talking about!). I was convinced someone else might swipe the position or catch their attention quicker than I did. Fortunately, I was wrong!

As of today, I have leapt forward into my second week at Trinity. Informative and fruitful are words I would use to describe my first week at the office; which has me eager for this week as well as what’s to come! As a soon to be Media Communications graduate from Humber College my goal is to maintain an optimistic attitude and a progressive impact on the Marketing & Communications sector of this organization. So far, I am inspired by not only the staff around me to learn and move forward but more importantly the students & peer leaders in which Trinity continues to work alongside.

I remember being in high school and having mixed emotions about it. There were some unforgettably fun & rewarding experiences, no doubt, but simultaneously there were some experiences I could deem “the hardest of my life” (thus far)! It wasn’t until I attended an alternative school for my last year of high school, prioritizing experiential & community learning, that I began to gain confidence in what I was learning and how. Sometimes all you need is a shift in perception and a little push in order to broaden your horizons and let the light in.

My point in saying this is that I understand the position of some of the students who may learn with Trinity or need Trinity’s help. I am going to make it my duty here to carry out that knowledge and apply it to all of my work. I am here to deliver Trinity’s message of compassion, community and empathy through various media platforms.

Please join me and everyone else here at Trinity on this journey to create a positive change in the next generation of Canadian youth!

– Khaya