I proposed that the two videos be used for every subject in order for the habit of silence and the examen to take root. Repetition is a key learning tool.
In the Senior High School of Ateneo de Davao University in the “old normal,” we experienced the benefits of these two habits. The 1-minute of silence was beneficial in focusing the attention of the students to the subject at hand—not on the previous subject. It also provided the teacher a breathing space before he/she began a class. Moreover, it was also a good practice for school-wide gatherings, especially at mass and other forms of prayer and worship.
I have 3,000 students, aged 16-18, sprightly and noisy. But the 1-minute of silence contributed to the acquisition of an appropriate behavior at mass and other events that needed attention and focus.
Furthermore, the examen also helped students articulate their learning and formative outcomes, as well as developing a sense of gratitude to God, and the spirit to continually improve and learn. The examen also enabled teachers to see what needs attention and explanation in the next class. It was a good assessment and evaluative tool for teachers, aids in the preparation for the next class.
The link to my Youtube vlog is here. The following is the transcript.
I. Opening an online class: The 1-minute of silence.
When I think about opening a class online, I’d like to bring the school into their homes, or their desk. Every student should feel the soul of the school from the moment they click on the link to the class. The click is their experience of entering the gates of the university; and they should be able to say, “this is a Jesuit school or this is a Dominican school or this is La Salle.” At this point, both the student and the teacher connect with each other. The minute of silence introduces and prepares the students for a new experience. Done repeatedly, silence also contributes to the students’ mental well-being.
Sample Opening Script:
Welcome to our online class. Silence and prayer are important in Ateneo. We begin and end with God. May I invite you to spend a minute of silence and to pray together before the lesson of the day. The minute of silence begins now. (Play video)
Let us pray. For the Catholics, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. “Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with wisdom, help us to appreciate, understand and find you in all things, especially in our class today. Give us a big and generous heart to love and find meaning in continuous learning. Amen. Have a fruitful class today!
2. Closing an online class: The examen.
More about the consciousness examen is here.
Every class is an experience. But we should end with a high note. This way, the class becomes memorable. The end should capture the important points of the class; and nothing can bring this about than the practice of the examen. This is the Jesuit way to see God clearly in a day’s experience, and here, in an online class.
The examen can be contextualized. In the following video, it is appropriated to an academic class.
Sample Closing Script:
As we close the class, let us do the examen for 1 minute. For every part of the examen, you will be given 15 seconds. For every question, write only one idea in the chatbox. The teacher will read aloud what you’ve written. Let’s begin the examen.
1. Review the lesson today.
2. What did you learn? Say thank you to God.
3. What was unclear?
4. What would you want to be explained further in the next meeting?]
For the Catholics, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Thank you Lord for the opportunity to learn something today. Keep in our hearts the people in need to motivate us in our studies. In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Opening and ending in this way integrate formation and the academics. Knowing that they have gained something, the students would be excited to come to the next online class. That means, the class ends affirming the school’s purpose and identity.