Teaching – Not comfortable in their skin
Review in Dutch Magazine ‘JONAS’ / Education & learning.According to tutor Corrie Schouten these children from groups three and four have a weak locomotion and problems concentrating. One child a little more of the one, the other child a bit more of the other , but all of them “are not comfortable in their skin”. Every week she has the group for over half an hour. The lesson always starts with moving to the music. Corrie Schouten has been giving these lessons for ten years. She uses different methods and for about a year now has also been using the working method of ‘ The Timeless Hour” which was published in 2000. Corrie Schouten: “Then you can be yourself. By drawing with both hands, both sides of the brain are stimulated, as the left side of the brain guides the right hand and vice versa. Meanwhile the children hear the music, by closing their eyes they exclude the outside world. There is no control of the hands through the eyes.
This stimulates feeling. They are therefore active in various areas simultaneously.
They feel, they hear, they move, they reflect. Basically the exercises teach the children to recognize and use their own abilities in both the cognitive and emotional areas”. Pupil Bas about the exercise: “With my eyes closed and with the music I can think well. About how you are going to move over the paper with the crayon. I like that. You don’t think about anything else.” Daniza prefers the rubbing out of the crayon. “That feels soft.” Just as at the beginning of the lesson, when the fists were still clean. they feel one hand with the other. It is quiet, only the sounds from the schoolyard permeate into the play room. After a few minutes, the eyes may be opened. What have they felt? Does it feel different than before when they had not yet drawn with crayon? Nigel: “ My nail is still smooth”. Linda points to the palm of her hand: “ This has become soft. And warm. And a bit sticky.” Robin feels nothing. “Nothing at all?” Corrie Schouten asks. “No”. “Are they warm? Or cold?” Robin, after a few seconds thought: “Warm.”. And in reply to the following question if he does not feel anything else, after another pause: ”And soft.”
Later on Corrie Schouten says about this: “When questioned Robin started to feel all sorts of things. My goal is that in a year from now he will reply to the question what he is feeling without any assistance. At the moment he still has a blockade: “I feel nothing.” According to her especially perfectionist children have trouble is just drawing something. “Just now, when we started drawing to music, one of them quietly asked me what he should draw. But we are not going to draw ‘something’, we are just going to draw. Perfectionist children want the drawing to be beautiful. That is the left side of the brain acting up. It more or less says: “This is the right way and that is not.” The drawing exercise is not meant for drawing a beautiful house. It is meant for stimulating the pupils’ emotional side. Just as the feeling of the hands. You make them aware of that feeling by letting them work with it. It is different from learning the table of three. That is important too, but that is the left side of the brain. That is activated all through the day. For instance, another time you exercise feeling is by kneading clay.The children make discoveries. They consciously experience that there is more than just their brain. That their bodies have all kinds of senses that they can name, feel and bring into play. I notice that it works this way because eventually the children themselves start talking about what they feel.”
Pupil Daniza finds the “feeling” the most pleasurable. “We have also done it with clay. Then you have to knead and then exchange with someone else from the group. The other person’s clay felt so different. That was funny.” How that Corrie Schouten notice that the children with an exercise become more ‘comfortable in their skin’? Schouten: “It often happens that after they have been busy, when they have finished they say: “ That was nice miss, when can we do it again?” They have felt comfortable, they have been themselves during that period of more than half an hour. What more can you achieve? Of course they go back to their regular class after the ‘write dancing lesson’. And there is once again more than enough attention for the cognitive. But even if they will have a tutor who only stimulates the cognitive side for a number of years, once the balance between emotion and reason has been introduced, they will never lose it again. I notice it when I see them again, sometimes years later”
English translation of an interview in the Jonas MAGAZINE number 57, May 2002, The Netherlands.
This reflects the effects and comments of the tutor and the children regarding the application of the exercises from The Timeless Hour by author Michiel Czn. Dhont. In the playroom of primary school De Vijzel in Heerhugowaard a long piece of paper is lying on the floor and nine pupils, all seven or eight years old, sit down behind it, next to each other. They have selected two bags of crayons to draw with, one for the left and one for the right hand. They will shortly start drawing with both hands. With eyes closed and to the rhythm of the music. The pupils call the lesson ‘ write-dancing’. Tutor Corrie Schouten, not only vice-principal of the Primary School De Vijzel, but also nursery school teacher and remedial teacher for locomotion defects, switches on the music.
Experience of a tutor / Remedial Teacher in Primary School: Corrie Schouten / Translation: Liesbeth Rientjes