When you consciously play a role for somebody, you also offer them a chance to see what the role is about, and why it is played.
Newsletter Summer '16
Welcome to our summer Newsletter!
After a wonderful time in Tuscany, Italy, where we had a Teacher Training resulting in four new Italian CT teachers, we are back home in Denmark again. We are right now planing the next Teacher Trainings:One will be in the south of Germany in October. When everything is in place it will be posted on our site. Another will take place in the Netherlands, November 19th - 20th. See more here.
A page with the CT teachers that right now would love to offer their work with this material has just been created. We still have problems with matching the photos and the text when you are watching it on smart phones, but we are working on it. It works fine on Firefox. See them here.
AND now we are happy to present an article written by Amy Jecheva. She tells about her experiences with teaching the CT material in several classes in the school she works at. We were both so amazed when we red it, so please enjoy:
"The class was very relaxing. It made me so much more aware of how I can be in control of what I do and what happens because of me."
"It felt calming. If felt amazing! I felt confident."
"I felt all the emotions. It was kind of overpowering. I learned what I could be."
"The role play was fun and helpful."
As you can see by the extremely positive comments I received from my students, Consciousness Theater for Kids is engaging and the content is potent enough that it touches the students deeply and gives them the confidence to know that they can recognize when someone is stealing energy from them and stop that. I had the honor of being the first person to be trained in Consciousness Theater for kids; I was eager to learn from Anne and Finn because I knew the impact SES has on the adults I've taught it to and so I definitely was interested in a kid-friendly version. I am a gifted education teacher in a public elementary school and I knew my extremely intelligent students would quickly see the value of CTfK and be able to immediately apply it to their lives. Yet first, I wanted to make sure that I had my principal's support since I would be discussing topics that aren't commonly talked about in school; well, bullying is discussed, yet not from this unique angle. In case it might be helpful, I'd like to share the letter I gave to my principal to explain what Consciousness Theater for Kids is about. You can feel free to use some or all of this letter if you need to talk to a principal prior to introducing Consciousness Theater for Kids.
Imagine the impact on our students' lives if we teach them a variety of tools to become more self-loving, establish boundaries, and consciously choose how to live. I have recently attended a wonderful teacher training class in Denmark called Consciousness Theater that taps into the power of role playing to introduce deep, life-changing concepts in a simple, elegant manner that a child can understand. Consciousness Theater is the playful integration of wise teachings presented in a safe environment where children are free to express themselves, with the ultimate intention that children will apply these concepts to the way they act and relate to others. I am writing to explain what Consciousness Theater has to offer and to ask for your support to present Consciousness Theater to our students.
Throughout all of the exercises, role playing and brief discussions, students will witness and observe their thoughts and feelings. Consciousness Theater takes the idea of finding peace within themselves and makes it easily attainable through some breathing exercises and a demonstration of what a difference it makes if we act from a place of being grounded. One of the vital skills I intend to assist them with is to recognize that at any time in any situation, they can create a safe space for themselves simply by choosing it. They will have an opportunity to practice speaking from this grounded, calm state instead of reacting and/or lashing out and having the scene escalate into drama. Students will participate in an exercise in saying no when they feel something isn't OK and someone has overstepped their personal boundary. This will empower them to stand up for what they feel is right and has the potential to change not only the dynamics on the playground and in the classroom, but most importantly, in their lives.
The combination of these tools will provide a firm foundation from which students can communicate their truth clearly and as a result, relationships may significantly improve. For example, this could mean having the courage to tell a classmate that it's not OK to ridicule another classmate or letting another know in a matter-of-fact way that something the other did has hurt their feelings. One of the most crucial pieces of the teaching will be for students to become conscious about the roles they play, particularly those of the victim or bully, and recognize ways in which people try to steal energy from another. We'll do this through experiencing how we feel when we take various poses and feel into the message underneath our body language. Students will quickly transform themselves from acting like a victim to being in a position of power and back again and as a result they will feel what it feels like to take on both roles of victim and abuser/bully and hopefully come to the realization that it is all an act and they can choose which role they want to play in life.
The initial introduction to the students would take about an hour per class, though follow up is advisable and the range of issues that can be dealt with can be individualized and targeted for different classes. I would like to suggest that I first begin with my enrichment classes and after some experience with them, with your permission, I would then offer Consciousness Theater to all classes. I am excited about the potential this holds to enable our students to empower their lives.
I look forward to talking with you more about introducing Consciousness Theater to AFNORTH.
The above letter was a success and my principal was warmly in favor of my introducing it to the students. Yet I am sorry to report that following this approval, I unnecessarily stopped myself for far too long as I thought my role playing partner had to meet certain criteria. In my mind I wanted to have a role playing partner who had taken SES. So for months I didn't teach it, lamenting the fact that there wasn't an SES teacher living near me. About half a year later I taught an SES class and so then I thought, aha! I can ask one of my students to assist me, yet I didn't for some reason, perhaps because I wasn't sure how the students would respond to my bringing in a stranger to our class whose native language isn't English. More mind excuses. I then began wondering if I could ask a colleague to assist, yet that just wasn't practical because she would be teaching when I wanted to present and it would need to be someone available multiple times.
Finally, I had a brilliant idea and one which I was sorry I hadn't thought of long before. I would ask one of my students to assist me with the role playing! Anne and Finn had recently sent out their videos of the role plays so I invited ten year old Alison in to watch them with me and we talked about the scenes and practiced acting them out with the guidelines provided by Anne and Finn. Alison was a wonderful choice to be my role playing partner. She had recently performed a part in the school musical and I had seen how her personality transformed on stage. Normally she is quite shy and reserved and lacking in self-confidence despite her amazing intelligence. Yet onstage she came alive and acted with gusto and flamboyance. Alison also seemed pleased that I had sought her out to assist me with this special task. I was talking about how amazingly well she had performed with a good friend who is a psychic and my friend looked at me in amazement and said, "You changed her life!" I knew instantly that this was true. These teachings from Consciousness Theater are powerful. She learned without a doubt that she can choose which role to play in any moment and also she demonstrated Adamus' suggestion to Act, even if her role is something other than what she normally is, in this case confident and outgoing. I sense she was deeply appreciative of the extra time and attention from me and now she can act as a role model for others to stand up to people who may for instance tease her for always knowing all the answers. So, if you are feeling stuck about who to choose for a role playing partner as I was, I would highly recommend a student; you just may change her life!
Together Alison and I presented the role plays with three different classes, my third, fourth, and fifth grade students. In each class the discussion was rich and meaningful. We stopped to discuss their own personal experiences and reactions after each role play. They could easily see when they had played that role or a friend, brother or sister had and their insights were amazing! Our classes were about an hour and fifteen minutes and we didn't have time to do the No exercise or exercise with the voice. At the end it was heart-opening to watch them tenderly caress themselves in loving support. I could feel how soothed they were by this simple touch. Kudos to Anne and Finn for making the very real connection to the kids about lovingly stroking their pet. One boy commented he could, "feel as if I were touching my cat." As an interesting aside, the same boy observed that when he was playing the role of the bully he, "felt like Chuck Norris."
Now I am eager to introduce Consciousness Theater to even more classes and to of course follow up with my own classes. On the feedback I received my students unanimously loved the breathing exercises and so I have decided to start every class with breathing. I had breathed with them previously, before a test or to calm an excited class, yet it feels like incorporating this simple tool as part of our daily routine will have a long-lasting impact not only on my classes and also on the students who will transfer it to use in their own lives. I will also include some of Anne and Finn's suggestions to remind students to be here and now, ask them about which roles they are playing and occasionally have a discussion about energy such as who is stealing it and who is giving or receiving energy in different situations as they arise in class.
My experiences teaching Consciousness Theater were wonderful! Trust that the perfect role-playing partner is out there, whether that is someone who has taken SES, a friend or even a student. In fact, I wonder now if students might not even be more powerful than adults because students are interested in hearing what another student has to share. I strongly encourage you to teach it if you haven't! Consciousness Theater for Kids is the kind of thing that can change lives and leave an impact greater than we even know.
The students' responses speak for themselves:
"When we did breathing it was so peaceful. And the role playing was amazing and so fun!! The breathing again at the end was awesome and it made me so relaxed."
"I felt the emotion when it was described. I loved the deep breathing. I felt relaxed and good about myself."
"I felt more confident in myself. The role play was fun."
"I felt extremely relaxed. I almost fell asleep. My favorite part was the deep breathing."
"Relaxing, fun, funny, grounding, stealing energy, stand up to bullies, [breathe] up nose out mouth, victims freak out."
"A bully is like in the 'sky.' Neutral is on the 'earth.' Victims are in the 'ground.' Every kid should know this. You can react to bullying by saying, 'no' to bullies. You should ground yourself if someone is mean to you. If you feel stress you can do five to six deep breaths."