- The best state to learn in is a relaxed state.
- The best state to recall information (Test Taking) in, is to recall it in the same state you received it in.
- We (virtually all systems of education) do not teach our students how to relax, how to be in the optimum state for learning.
- For that matter, we don’t teach our teachers either.
- The mind is pliable and eager to learn.
- Teachers have the most impact in our children’s education.
- Other considerations are required to be addressed as well, such as proper sleep, food, family dynamics, etc.
Knowing these facts shouldn’t the very first thing we should be teaching our students, is how to relax, how to be in the optimum state for learning.
But how do you teach relaxation? How do you teach it to a group of 30 kids or more? Do I teach them all at the same time? Or do I teach them individually, one at a time? How do I teach it to myself?
solution because there’s often more than one
When we are talking about Hakalau, it’s basically peripheral vision. BUT, really it’s much more! (we will use Hakalau, peripheral vision and expanded awareness interchangeably)
When you are in Hakalau (peripheral vision/expanded awareness), it’s extremely difficult (if not impossible) to hold on to a negative thought. Did you really get that? You can’t hold on to a negative thought. Don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself.
Note: To make sure you are in Hakalau (peripheral vision)
- hold your hands out to the sides in front of you, at eye level
- See your hands as well as the walls on both sides
- Think of a negative thought. Make sure you can feel the negative emotion behind the thought.
- Try to hold on to the thought/neg e and go into Hakalau
- The negative thought will dissipate and then disappear
Question: How does/did that work?
Answer: There’s actually some science behind this.
First, a little bit of neuro science and NLP.
Where you position your eyes is where you access your brain. In Neuro Linguistic Programming, it’s referred to as Eye Accessing. There are only 3 basic positions. These positions are directly related to your learning styles. It’s a little more involved than that but basically:
- Looking up: Making or remembering pictures; Visual learners look up, answers tend to be there.
- Looking straight out: Remembering or creating sounds; Auditory learners look straight out, answers tend to be there as well.
- Looking down: Internal dialogue and emotions; Kinesthetic (hands-on) learners look down, answers tend NOT to be in there internal dialogue. Especially if their internal dialogue is negative or they are nervous.
However, when you are in expanded awareness, your mind quiets down. It’s very difficult to hold negative thoughts in your mind. If you want to be a little more scientific, Hakalau puts you in a light alpha state. Most people know this as the zone.
Imagine being in the zone when learning. Sounds too good to be true.
Most learning institutions teach to the visual and auditory learners. When people take tests and are relaxed, they are able to access all the learning styles for recalling information. However, when individuals become tense or nervous they go to their primary learning style. The visual learners look up, answers tend to be there. The auditory learners look up and straight out, answers tend to be there as well. Hands-on learners look down, answers tend NOT to be there. Especially if their internal dialogue is negative or they’re nervous.
The purpose of writing this section is to give teachers & educators a practical tool to use every day in the classroom to assist students to be in the optimum state for learning; a relaxed state.
Do we all agree that the best state to learn in is a relaxed, focused state?
Psychologically, it is said that the best state to retrieve information (test taking) is to retrieve it in the same state you learned it in. Makes sense to me.
If that is the case, then shouldn’t we be receiving the information initially, studying and taking the test in this same relaxed state? Again, makes sense to me.
This is where Hakalau comes in. Again Hakalau, simply put, is peripheral vision. The kaona (deeper meaning) comes from Uncle George Na’ope.
Hakalau is based on one of Hawaiian’s most basic values. How do Hawaiians view the world? Not just Hawaiians, but indigenous people in general. Tunnel vision or Big picture? Big picture, of course. That’s not a metaphor. It’s a physiological reality. Meaning, when we look out at the world we can physically see 180 degrees. If we are in a class room, we would be able to see the walls on both sides. This not only enhances our visual senses but all our senses in all directions. OR 360 DEGREES AROUND. ???
Being a teacher, how many times have you told a kid to just relax and you will do much better? But, did you show them how to relax? Do you even know how to relax yourself? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. Most people were never taught how to relax, let alone how to teach others.
Expanded Awarness: Simply put; “looking up and out”
When you are looking at the teacher (receiving information), be able to see the walls on both sides including the ceiling. Is that it? YES! Look straight out, (slightly up is better) and be able to see both sides in your peripheral vision.
How to teach it to others: (Your students)
For older students, when you are in front of the class teaching, tell your students to be able to see the walls on both sides.
For younger students, use pictures or stuffed animals along the walls and say “When I’m in front of the class, I’m going to check (periodically) how many of you can see me and the cat & dog or dolphin & whale on the walls at the same time.” Make it a game. When they learn this skill early in life, they will have it forever.
In short, we believe Hakalau should be in all the schools, taught to all teachers so that they can teach it to their students.
When teachers learn the skill set of Hakalau, they can immediately implement Hakalau into their classrooms. They will ensure students are in Hakalau when receiving information initially, remind students to study in Hakalau and ensure students are in Hakalau when taking tests.
If given the opportunity to teach Hakalau to one teacher or 100 students, I would always choose the teacher. Why, because that one teacher will reach more students than I could imagine. Touch this generation now and we can shape the generations to come.