January 22, 2015 – by Frédérique Smit &samhoud consultancy
Try picturing yourself at school again: learning new stuff every day, playing in the schoolyard with your friends… Can you recall the meaning and importance of connection in those days? What it meant to really ‘connect’ with your friends and class mates? These days, when we ask about what connection means to children, one of the first associations that comes up is Wifi or Whatsapp. However, in an era of online communities and social media, the value of relating to one another face-to-face and helping each other out by putting your own strengths into practice could be of more importance than ever. By teaching kids interactively how to discover and pursue their own dreams and ambitions, we help them develop themselves by knowing who they are and what they’re capable of. And that not only gives them great opportunities in life, but brings with it a lot of fun too!
Giving connection lessons at school: kids are the future
Each year, every &samhoud consultancy employee gives two connection lessons at a primary and/or secondary school. Because we believe that realising breakthroughs by connecting and inspiring isn’t just preserved for our clients, but is needed in all of society. And who better to start with than kids? They are young, often open to new experiences and, last but not least, they will be in charge of this world in the future. By starting a dialogue about connection now, they gain a better understanding of themselves and each other.
A new learning environment makes connection an even more important theme
The move from primary into secondary education is huge for pupils– it involves leaving an often safe environment and known friendships, as well as having the courage to start new ones on top of getting used to different timetables and new ways of learning. It challenges their ability to connect and to make friends.
While giving a connection lesson to first-year students at a secondary school in Dordrecht, the Netherlands, last December, I really enjoyed talking to kids about connection. Through different exercises each pupil was asked to give every one of their class mates a compliment. Everybody (including the teacher) had a blank paper on his or her chair, and, while playing loud music, the kids walked around and wrote down their compliments. Not only did this give insight into their strengths, it also re-enforced their self-esteem. And the sheet of paper is a valuable memento to take home. The fun and pride in giving (and receiving!) compliments was delightful to see. At the end of the lesson, we asked the pupils what they had learned about connection and what they would remember. It turned out that they got to know each other better by sharing stories and asking questions. Even class mates who had never spoken to each other before were now more open to sharing experiences. The ones who already (thought they) knew each other quite well learned that there was a lot more to discover.
I’m already looking forward to teaching more connection lessons in 2015!
For more information about the &samhoud foundation and the connection lesson in particular (offered free-of-charge), please visit our website.