Exchanging Teaching Experiences — 2022 TAG Teacher Training

"What kind of world do we want the next generation to live in?" asked Venerable Hui Dong, Abbot of Hsi Lai Temple, to kick off the first English 2022 Northern America Three Acts of Goodness (TAG) Teacher Training Workshop. On April 15th and 16th, nearly 100 enthusiastic Fo Guang educators from the United States, Canada, Singapore, the Philippines, Australia, and Taiwan participated in the online workshop together, in hopes of cultivating good seedlings by instilling the TAG core values into the next generation. The workshop was co-organized by Hsi Lai Temple and Fo Guang Shan Foundation for Buddhist Culture & Education.

Venerable Hui Dong emphasized, promoting TAG is the core mission of Humanistic Buddhism and is more important than the achievement of personal enlightenment. Venerable Ru Chang, Director of Fo Guang Shan Foundation for Buddhist Culture & Education, explained the TAG teaching materials published by the foundation provide teaching methodologies to bring about the greatest effect in cultivating children's moral concepts and in implementing the concepts into their daily lives.

Helpful instructions were provided on using the TAG teaching materials, lesson plan elements, teaching resources utilization, Buddhist Maritime Silk Road exhibition and its worksheet (activity) design. Five lecturers shared their vast knowledge, experience and expertise in the children/youth educational field, headed by Venerable You Lu, leader of the International Affairs Department at the Buddha Museum. Lecturers included Becky Du, Yi Zhen Chia, Stacey Weng, and Kurt Ko. Following the lectures, participants brainstormed in groups and presented actual lesson plan designs focused on five Buddhist themes using (1.) visual art/cultural competence & multi-literacy, (2.) music & drama, (3.) participating, influencing, and building a sustainable future, (4.) daily life & selfcare, (5.) self-expression, interaction and mindful movement.

"Every Day is Earth Day, What can I do?" Yenyu Liu shared the theme of "Environmental Sustainability Protection" taken from a dialogue with her son. "As parents, we tend to unintentionally tell our children, don't do this, don't do it . . . until one day my child [said], Mom! What else can I do? Since then, I changed my approach and [started] encouraging my child to use his abilities in a positive way”.

During reflections and feedback, the topic of how to integrate meditation and mindfulness sparked a heated discussion.

– Jean Lee-Baker suggested teachers could guide students to focus and to adjust their breathing first, if sitting still is challenging.

- Lecturer Stacey shared, she usually focuses on how to make the course design lively to attract children and unconsciously ignores letting children calm down and cultivate concentration. She also benefited greatly from all the sharing of participants.

- Yenyu Liu suggested replacing the word “worksheet” with “activity” would sound more attractive to native-English speaking children.

Participants expressed warm appreciation and felt they had gained so much; including, the support and encouragement from each other, and felt more motivated and confident in moving forward. Everyone rejoiced by saying ‘goodbye’ in the chorus of the farewell song.