School Name: North Peace Secondary School
School District: SD#60 Peace River North
Inquiry Team Members: Samantha Stackhouse: firstname.lastname@example.org, Naomi Broadhead: email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Physical & Health Education
Focus Addressed: Community-based learning, Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Experiential learning, Growth mindset, Inquiry-based learning, Self-regulation, Social and emotional learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Utilizing Yoga 12 to enhance personal, emotional, and inquiry based reflection on the mental health, physical health, and overall understanding of well-being for students ages 16/17/18.
Scanning: Students were asked to journal on the 4 Key Questions.
Students were invited to share their growth and development based upon their 4 Key Questions and the self inquiry that is promoted via a yoga practice
This growth, change, or development will be tracked by the student, to build awareness of intrapersonal skills, self awareness, and mental health understandings.
Focus: In secondary school, many students struggle with self identity, understanding, and personal connections. Frequently, school focuses on the rote education practice, but students need to be taught the skills/tools of self study to promote personal connections necessary for a healthy life. Yoga fosters these non-linear concepts, by creating space for self reflection and development that enhances the concept of success beyond the curricular outcomes.
Hunch: Education can take a dogmatic approach relaying the banking system of education, and undervaluing the personal connection necessary for deep and soulful learning. As a result, many students feel pressure to succeed, creating high levels of anxiety and unhealthy living conditions. Furthermore, some high risk students feel that the present schooling system leaves them behind and does not promote the skills that would benefit them daily – survival of mind and body.
New Professional Learning: We explored the relationship between yoga and mental health; specifically, the influence of mindfulness and self study upon students. By using the Four Key Questions as framework for self-reflection, the yoga practice would further develop positive psychological relationships to self and skills necessary for introspection. This study was based upon Jungian psychology (depth), yogic philosophy, and pedagogical/curriculum theory.
Taking Action: To take action for Yoga 12, students and teacher participated in the physical and philosophical practice of yoga.
As a result of COVID-19 the specific actions taken growth included:
– Journals for students to write about their experiences during COVID-19. Journals included: Body Mapping/Scanning, 5 Senses Activities, Reflection on Personal Growth, Place-Based Learning.
– Portfolio creation as a personal exploration of symbolism. This included creating a symbol that represented the student and finding a way to represent this concept on their portfolio.
– Physical practices hosted within the classroom space and posted to the internet for students to practice at their leisure during COVID-19.
– A Final Project that was oriented around the question of “What does Yoga mean to you?” where students were invited to create a representation/reflection via image, video, oral, written, or any other artistic expression.
These actions were deemed successful upon marking of the reflections/projects/etc. Students clearly noted their mental health and wellbeing in relation to the practice of physical/philosophical yoga. This is significant because it demonstrated a growth mindset, even in a very uncertain time. Final projects thoroughly reflected upon the necessity for physical wellness with the connection being developed to mental wellness.
Checking: It would have been exciting to see this inquiry continue in the physical classroom, but student connection and reflection was incredibly strong despite the complexities driven by COVID-19. Considering the end of the semester, I am pleased with the progress and deep learning that students exemplified. The writing/journalling on personal growth and wellness exceeded expectations. The Yoga 12 Final Projects that asked students “what Yoga meant to them”, were deeply insightful and demonstrated growth, place-based learning, connection to core competencies, and self awareness.
Reflections/Advice: This inquiry has reminded me about the simplicity of teaching. Although COVID-19 interrupted the intended function/path of this inquiry, the results were no-less impactful as I read the words produced by the students.
Moving forward, this inquiry will continue to be a stepping-stone on my journey as an educator. If others would be interested in endeavouring upon this inquiry, I encourage a deep understanding of psychological practices and the willingness to support students in a very vulnerable and personal space. Boundaries are necessary; however, it is integral for a counselling relationship to be developed and maintained with a burgeoning understanding of counselling/psychological practices.