Tag Archives: chanda

Live and Learn: Helping My Child at Home

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How can I best support my child’s education at home?

By Michel Thibeault, Head Teacher

Michel Thibeault, Panyaden School Head Teacher

Relax, have fun together, share your passions and give your child lots of space to be his own person!

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the time spent helping with homework that is likely to make the biggest difference in our children’s education. In fact, research shows that only high school students benefit from doing homework, while elementary school students gain little or nothing. What does make a positive difference then? Well, “Relax, have fun together, share your passions and give your child lots of space to be his own person!” seems to be what is needed!

The usual “What did you do at school today?” rarely yields more than the monosyllabic “stuff” or the extended version, “I don’t know”. What we would like of course is for them to share the exciting moments of their day, the learning highlights but also the challenges they faced and the way we dealt with them. In “How to Talk so Kids will Listen & Listen so Kids will Talk”, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish suggest we simply talk about our day first and model what we would like them to do! Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work right away. Staying relaxed and avoiding interrogation sessions is likely to do the trick over time.

One of the key elements of the Panyaden approach is support the development of the wonderful Wise Habit of Chanda, the love of learning for its own sake. This requires that we create an environment that will be conducive to inquiry, that will support creativity and make discovery and learning a fun activity. Pressuring students takes them in exactly the opposite direction. Whether it’s from Buddhist principles, new data on how the brain works or research by people like Carol Dweck or Alfie Khon, the conclusion is the same: feeling pressured and stressed kills creativity and limits our learning potential1.

Besides modeling, there are many small things that can help boost our children’s learning:

  • Make sure they get enough fresh air and opportunities to run around after school.
  • Avoid high sugar and other unhealthy snacks.
  • Read to them, never mind how old they are.
  • Read yourself and do it in front of your children: children will follow their parents’ example.
  • Work together on home activities.
  • When there is homework, provide a set time and quiet environment for it to happen. Patiently help out if needed but don’t feel you have to do the teacher’s job. Send a note to school to inform the teachers if you encounter any problem.
  • Look up information together when you’re not sure about something.
  • Listen to his ideas and respect the level of his attempts.
  • Understand and accept that while the goal is always mastery of a concept, skill or knowledge, we can only take the next step today. Tomorrow might take us closer to the goal.

img_3178 (1)If your child is reluctant to do his work, it might help to ask him to estimate the time needed for various sections and set a timer to see if his prediction was accurate or not, “how long do you think it will take you to read the text?”. The next questions, after the text is read, could be something like “how long do you think it will take to answer the first 5 questions?”. You could also build in an incentive such as “dinner will be served as soon as your homework is done”. Or “I hope you’ll be done before I go to your uncle’s house because I would like you to come with me”. In this case, dinner is not withdrawn, nor is his chance to go to his uncle’s house but it’s clear that something else must happen first. The child then has to decide by himself to do his homework and reap the benefits or not do it and assume the consequences. The wording is important to make sure it is not perceived as a reward. It’s best to avoid statements such as “If you do … you will get …”

If, as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect”, let’s allow our children as many opportunities as possible to practice making decisions. If they feel they have a choice – even if it has to be limited – about when and where they do homework or other duties, when to have a break and so on, they are more likely to feel empowered…and from there Chanda will follow.

So, relax, have fun with your child, share your passions and give him lots of space to be his own person!

 

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1See also recent New York Times article by Adam Grant: “How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off”, January 30th 2016

‘Chanda’ by Neil Amas

DSC_1716 Neil Amas, Panyaden School Director

img_7798 Students of Panyaden School enthusiastically showing off their flower arrangements
Students enthusiastically showing off their flower arrangement for Wai Kru Day.

Chanda (pronounced chan-ta, ฉันทะ) means being enthusiastic or having aspiration. It is the desire to achieve a worthy goal, of having intrinsic motivation to apply oneself in order to achieve knowledge, truth or good behaviour.

There is a common misunderstanding that in Buddhism all desire is ‘bad’ and leads to suffering. In fact the Buddha recognised that there are two different kinds of desire. One is desire borne of ignorance, an unwholesome or negative desire (tanha), for example towards an object of greed, which gives rise to suffering. The second is wholesome, skilful desire (chanda), which originates from wisdom, from a clear understanding of the way things are. It means bringing up motivation or desire to do the very best that you can in the present moment because you have a coherent understanding of the benefits, even if the results are not immediately apparent, or are out of your control.

Ajahn Jayasaro, Panyaden School Chiang MaiVenerable Ajahn Jayasaro explains that this is an important principle in the education of children or in the raising of children by parents. We should not be overly obsessed with results, but instead look for quality of action in the present moment. It is natural that as parents or teachers things will not always work out the way we had hoped and we feel disappointed. But when we recognise that there are outside influences that we cannot control, we are better able to put effort into things that we can, such as our own actions and reactions. We water and nourish a young tree to give it the best chance in life, but when it matures the sweetness of its fruit is beyond our control. This is ‘right motivation.’ Venerable Jayasaro cautions that ‘an over-emphasis on results in the future tends to have a number of negative consequences in the present, such as anxiety, restlessness, boredom and dissatisfaction. This very easily can lead to dishonesty because if you feel that something you do in the present is merely a means to get what you want in the future, the temptation to take short cuts becomes very strong.’

As parents and teachers we all want our children to be healthy and happy. We feel naturally motivated to help develop and maintain the best possible qualities and behaviours in them. Chanda is a ‘prerequisite for the job’ of educating children. But if this desire is not wise it may lead to us becoming overly protective – causing our children to become timid and dependent on us – or over-controlling – creating alienation and rebellion.

In the classroom and at home, chanda means encouraging our children to be enthusiastic in developing their own learning and knowledge, to give their best no matter the consequences and to create and maintain good behaviour. Because chanda has to come from the heart and cannot be ‘taught’, the best we can do is create opportunities for children to develop their own passions and interests and help them reflect on how it feels when they put good effort into achieving something. This leads them to generate further motivation. Praising effort over results, encouraging them to try something despite initial reluctance or helping them reflect on the benefits of what might otherwise seem like a boring task – such as tidying their room – can all help generate chanda. At school, we refrain from giving rewards such as stars or treats because this tends to encourage working for a ‘prize.’ Directing focus towards self-assessment and reflection is more likely to cultivate a true love of learning.

Chanda arises from a place of genuine and unconditional love. A sister who helps her younger brother get dressed for school purely out of love and a desire to help him has chanda. A group of students who are enthusiastic about learning a new subject at school solely from their love of learning and desire to work hard at it regardless of the results, are displaying chanda. A boy who happily undertakes a chore because he sees the wider benefits for himself and his family, has chanda.

We all know how precious a parent’s praise is to a child. If we concentrate on celebrating effort, we will help them develop chanda, a wise habit for life.

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Download Thai version here: Chanda (Thai)

Chanda by Neil Amas

DSC_1716 Panyaden School Chiang Mai Director, Neil AmasWe are currently learning about Chanda at school. Here is some information that we hope you find useful when reviewing this wise habit with your children.

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Wise habit Chanda session at Panyaden School

Chanda (pronounced chan‐ta, ฉันท) means being enthusiastic or having aspiration. It is the desire to achieve a worthy goal, of having intrinsic motivation to apply oneself in order to achieve knowledge, truth or good behaviour.

There is a common misunderstanding that in Buddhism all desire is ‘bad’ and leads to suffering. In fact the Buddha recognised that there are two different kinds of desire. One is desire borne of ignorance, an unwholesome or negative desire (tanha), for example towards an object of greed, which gives rise to suffering. The second is wholesome, skilful desire (chanda), which originates from a clear understanding of the way things are. It means bringing up motivation or desire to do the very best that you can in the present moment because you have a coherent understanding of the benefits, even if the results are not immediately apparent, or are out of your control.

As explained by Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro at a talk at Panyaden in 2011, this is an important principle in the education of children or in the raising of children by parents. We should not be overly obsessed with results, but instead look for quality of action in the present moment. It is natural that as parents or teachers things will not always work out the way we had hoped and we feel disappointed. We need to recognise that there are outside influences that we cannot control, so the best we can do is put effort into things that we can, such as our own actions and reactions. We should water and nourish a young tree to give it the best chance in life, but understand that the sweetness or abundance of its fruit is beyond our control. This is ‘right motivation.’ Venerable Jayasaro cautions that ‘an over‐emphasis on results in the future tends to have a number of negative consequences in the present, such as anxiety, restlessness, boredom and dissatisfaction. This very easily can lead to dishonesty because if you feel that something you do in the present is merely a means to get what you want in the future, the temptation to take short cuts becomes very strong.’

As parents and teachers we all want our children to be healthy and happy. In fact, chanda is usually a ‘prerequisite for the job’ of parenting or teaching, in that we feel naturally motivated to help develop and maintain the best possible qualities and behaviours in our children. But if this desire is not wise it may lead to us becoming overly protective ‐ causing our children to become too dependent on us ‐ or over‐ controlling ‐ creating alienation and rebellion.

IMG_2404 Students sharing their learning in class, Panyaden School
Kindergarten students in class

In the classroom, as well as at home, chanda means encouraging our children to be enthusiastic in developing their own learning and knowledge, to try hard to succeed no matter the consequences and to create and maintain good behaviour. Because chanda has to come from the heart and cannot be ‘taught’, the best we can do is create opportunities for children to develop their own passions and interests and help them reflect on how it feels when they put good effort into achieving something. This helps them to generate further motivation. Praising effort instead of results, encouraging them to try something despite initial reluctance or helping them reflect on the benefits of what might otherwise seem like a boring task – such as tidying their room – can all help generate chanda.

Chanda arises from a place of genuine and unconditional love. A sister who helps her younger brother get dressed for school purely out of love and a desire to help him has chanda. A group of students who are enthusiastic about learning a new subject at school solely from their love of learning and desire to work hard at it regardless of the results, are displaying chanda. A boy who happily undertakes a chore because he sees the wider benefits for himself and his family, has chanda.

We all know how precious a parent’s praise is to a child. If we concentrate on praising effort, we will help them develop chanda, a wise habit for life.

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Thai translation of above article: Chanda_TH

New Wise Habit This Week

Chanda

Wise Habit, Chanda session at Panyaden School Chiang Mai

We met Master Chanda this morning. She had come to Panyaden School to teach us about the wise habit, ‘Chanda’ or ‘being enthusiastic’, with the aid of a video about a girl who is so enthusiastic about art that she keeps painting without rest. She has Chanda but she must also remember the other wise habit, Mattanuta (knowing the right amount). We can love art and other hobbies but we should also learn when to stop and rest.

Being Enthusiastic

Panyaden students during school's wise habit session

The objective of Chanda (ฉันทะ) is the desire and cultivation of dhamma, truth and goodness as well as the pursuit of knowledge. This wise habit leads to effort and action based on clear thinking, common sense and goodwill towards others. These values are all part of the education process at Panyaden School in Chiang Mai.

At this morning’s assembly, our Kung Fu Chef points out that a good example of chanda in action at school is when our students work together on their ‘My Project’ programme. They have been engaging themselves wholeheartedly in independently gathering and applying knowledge of various subjects with the help of our teachers who guide them in discovering and creating rather than simply telling them what they need to know. Watching our students during this process, we see their desire and enthusiasm to learn as well as the joy and fun in working as a team towards finishing their projects well.

Panyaden students practicising their kung fu moves for 12 wise habits Panyaden students working together to recycle plastic bottles for their school project

Chanta

Doing the very best that you can in the present moment

Neil Amas, Director of Panyaden School, bilingual school in Chiang Maiby Neil Amas
Panyaden School Director

 

There is a common misunderstanding that in Buddhism, all desire is ‘bad’ and leads to suffering. In fact the Buddha recognised that there are 2 different kinds of desire. One is desire borne of ignorance, an unwholesome or negative desire (tanha) which gives rise to suffering. The second is wholesome desire, or chanta, which originates from a clear understanding of the way things are. It means doing the very best that you can in the present moment. It’s a basic Buddhist idea of wise effort.

Panyaden School's Buddhist Spiritual Advisor, Ajahn JayasaroAs explained by Ajahn Jayasaro during a talk at Panyaden last year, this is an important principle in the education of children or in the raising of children by parents. We should not be overly obsessed with results, but, rather, look for quality of action in the present moment. There will be disappointments and things will not always work out how you want them to be, and there will be outside influences that you cannot control, so the best you can do is put effort into things that you can. This is right motivation. Ajahn Jayasaro explained, “An over-emphasis on results in the future tends to have a number of negative consequences in the present, such as anxiety, restlessness, boredom, dissatisfaction, or very easily can lead to dishonesty because if you feel that something you do in the present is merely a means to get what you want in the future, the temptation to take short cuts becomes very strong.”

As parents and teachers we all want our children to be healthy and happy. But if this desire is not wise it may lead to us becoming overly protective causing our children to become too dependent on us, or we may become over-controlling and create alienation and rebellion in our children.

Chanta, then, is positive desire and arises from compassion and unconditional love. In the classroom, as well as at home, this means encouraging our children to be enthusiastic in developing their own learning and knowledge, to try hard to succeed no matter the consequences and to maintain and create good behaviour. For example, a sister who helps her younger brother get dressed for school purely out of love and a desire to help him has chanda. A group of students who are enthusiastic about learning a new subject at school solely from their love of learning and desire to work hard at it regardless of the results, are displaying chanda.

We all know how precious a parent’s praise is to a child. If we concentrate on praising effort, we will help them develop chanta, a wise habit for life.