Both years that I have been in college, I have made an effort to attend an event at my school called Senior Scholars Day. This is an event where students have an opportunity to present their research to the rest of the school. It is so interesting and it never ceases to amaze me. I have to say that I was blown away by all of the presentations, especially the ones by people I know.
This year I decided to go to support a couple of my sister’s friends because my sister was unable to and I have always enjoyed hearing about what students have been doing in class. I wanted to highlight one of the presentations I went to because it really resonated with me and amazed me. The first presentation was about how yoga affects preschoolers and 1st graders in a positive way. That was the first time I had heard about Casey Falkenstein's research. I was super excited about it and interested to hear more about it. It is not something that most people would think of, but she said she is passionate about yoga, so she wanted to share it with the children that she teaches. One of her favorite things about it is that she can come up with kid-friendly names for the poses and then the students can make the pose their own in some way. Some of the names that she came up with are "tree," and "rock."
There are a number of things that I really enjoyed about her presentation. The first thing is that she made it a bit interactive, so she had us do a yoga pose called “tree.” It is a favorite of the kids and it helped the people listening to the presentation visualize what she was talking about. It is so important that it has become a part of the routine during the school day and she doesn’t have to remind the children to do it because they are so used to it. Everyone reacted positively because it made the presentation more fun and made Casey a little less nervous.
Overall I think this presentation had a ton feedback since it was tried on two different classes of different aged students. Testing the theory on two different classes gave her more results. It also helped to show that she was correct about the fact that it would help students to focus better and be less fidgety during testing. She found that it helped them to relax a little bit so that they didn’t get so worked up about having to take a test when they just wanted to talk to their friends. Another thing she said was that sometimes the students would try to show off that they had good balance.
I think one of the most important things about Casey's research is that she turned a passion of hers into a reality to help students do better in school. Research is about turning a passion into reality and this amazing young woman did exactly that. Now that she knows it is a positive thing for students, she will be able to continue to use this technique when she becomes a teacher.
I am very excited to hear how she will take this evidence and use it wherever she goes in the future because this is an idea that I think all education majors should think about. How do you keep the students focused on what you are saying when they are young and don’t really know how to sit still for a long period of time?
Huge shout out to Casey for sharing her research! The presentation was amazing and I am so glad that I attended!