The Four Leaf Clover and Educational SerendipityBy Shama Noman
The four leaf clover represents the coming together of faith, hope, love and luck. The following essay is an observation made by a teacher of a group of pupils who represent the diversity in cultures that creates a beautiful bond amongst strangers and holds the ability to fill in the gaps to complete each other.
The four-leaf clover is an uncommon variation of the common, three-leaved clover. According to tradition, such leaves bring good luck to their finders, especially if found accidentally. According to legend, each leaf represents something: the first is for faith, the second is for hope, the third is for love, and the fourth is for luck.
In Primary grades, it is of utmost importance to identify student strengths and weaknesses and group them up accordingly. A lot of experimentation is required to fit in this jig-saw puzzle. However, sometimes, the not so perfect combination can also bring about amazing results. And that too accidentally.
The year had just begun and the children who had walked into my classroom were sitting in random groups. I had actually placed their name tags on each table and they placed themselves accordingly. My observation was a continuous process and here I hold distinct memory of a special group who came about accidentally.
None of the four group-mates was academically independent. They were average achievers and not very prominent in class. The first group activity that I gave to my class in the beginning of the First Term, was to learn about each other and create a group profile booklet. I introduced a few designs to them to choose from but gave them an open hand to decide on how they wanted to present or interpret their group. Work began.
I moved around quietly watching them all discussing how they wanted to do it. Some argued on ideas clashing and some sat quietly waiting to accept the final decision. I tried to keep my input as less as possible but intervened where I saw no progress. The perfectionists could not accept the abstract thoughts and the practical players found the idealists quite annoying. I learnt that these were young minds at work and their experiences were quite similar to what we as adults face working with each other everyday.
All these groups, had a lot of commotion. And then there was my special group, “Group A” where all four children had come to an agreement and were busy writing about themselves. I walked by their tables and stood for a while to see how they had managed to come about a decision.
Member A was writing…
My name is “A”. I am from Sri-Lanka. My mum and dad work in an office. Everyday before we leave the house, we pray together. I know that if I will be good, others will be good to me. If I will help my group-mates, they will also help me out. If I will be in trouble, they can help me out. I will not do anything bad, because then nothing bad will happen to me. ( Her writing reflected strong faith. She was a believer who was run by her conscience and knew how important it would be to be honest and induce positive energy in the group.)
Member B had this to say…
My name is “B”. I am from the Philippines. I love my class very much and my teacher. My group-mates are all nice. We have to work together all year. I know that we will be a good team. My group-mates are like my family. We help each other and work together to make our group the best. ( She was definitely a team player. She was an emotional factor who would bring warmth and sustenance to their group. )
Member C was deep in thought…
My name is “C”. I am from Pakistan. My father works in a bank. I have a pretty mother. My sisters take care of my baby brother. I have a big house. All my family goes to the park every Friday. My new class is very big. It has nice boards. My friends in my group are very clever. They all like me. I am thankful to Allah for this class. ( I smiled to myself. Here we had a lucky charm that saw everything as beautiful and counted his blessings well. His appreciation of what his group would offer him through the coming year, would inspire them to move forward at all times. )
Member D had almost completed his comments…
My name is “D”. I am from the U.A.E. I am a very good boy. My class is good. My friends are two boys and two girls. My father is in the Police. He works to protect my country. I will also be a Policeman when I grow up. I like to catch the bad people and put them in a jail. When I will be old, I will not let anybody fight. I will wear a green uniform with a cap. (It was delightful to see a dreamer in the group. He had an element of hope in his persona and would prove to be a strong anchor in difficult times. )
And so to me, this group was an amazing discovery of human strengths. A realization of many religions coming together. Each one offering its own strong influences. There was faith, love, luck and hope all coming together as in a four leaf clover. I dared not change their group arrangement as I had been lucky to find such visionaries by accident.
About the author:
Shama Noman is an educationist with over eleven years of classroom experience, developing results driven curriculum, and the desire to provide all students with an equal opportunity to excel.
It is her desire to empower each child with the most effective tools, a sense of inquiry and equal opportunity. She believes that “Reasoning” is the foundation skill of all learning and fundamental to the development of all the other skills. There is no ‘doing’ without some form of thinking. Children can be taught to value their capacity for thinking and for this they need to be given the opportunity to work out their own thoughts, to put their ideas into words, to advance theories and to justify their beliefs. They need to discover themselves as thinking, feeling and whole people.
Being an optimist, she writes articles on her blog to inspire teachers, parents and children around the world to understand the true definition of Education and its Magical Powers.
Blog: I’m Awake
Blog Link: http://mirshama.blogspot.com