By Naseema Saiyad, Agrupamento de Escolas de Albufeira

A learning journey


“Look at the mirrors!”

Once upon a time a group of teachers decided to do something different. So they talked to a trainer and she agreed to take them across a land they had never seen before, but only heard about.

The first stop was in a cave. Inside, it was very dark, and they could see nothing, not even their trainer. But they could hear her voice: “Look at the mirrors!”, she said.

The group of teachers was surprised with this demand. How could they look at the mirrors? Where were they? They were so confused and didn’t know what to do.

So they started looking at themselves and realised that this was what the trainer meant. For what they had to do was to close their eyes and listen to their own breath, hear the echoes in their minds and look at the images passing through their heads. In this land, they learnt a bit more about themselves, and they learnt how to be aware of their inner thoughts.

This is what communication is about

After this precious lesson, their travel continued.

The next stop took them to a beautiful land, full of colours. And beautiful trees and flowers. And huge gardens and lakes. They started looking at the landscapes and said “Wow! This is really beautiful!” And suddenly they felt an urge to share with their partners what they saw, what they smelled. Share the joy they felt, their happiness. And so they started to talk to each other. They shared their views and feelings. They shared their experiences and felt happy about it.

They realised that happiness is not about experiencing something wonderful, but sharing it with the others. As they started to share, to communicate, they listened to their partners. And they realised this is what communication is about. This is what sharing is about. Talking, listening, asking, understanding the other’s feelings and experiences. And they felt a happiness they had never sensed before.

Their old world was transformed into a new one

The third stop led them to a land that looked similar to their own.

There was nothing different in it. The same things around them. Their everyday life presented in front of them. And the teachers were surprised, even disappointed. What was special about this new stop? Why had she taken them to this land? And, as if guessing what they were going through, looking at their confused faces, the trainer told them: “Look at all the things around you. But don’t look at them as before. Look at them in a special way. Find something new in them. Look at them in a different perspective!”

So they started looking at the things in a different way. And, all of a sudden, it all made sense. Their old world was transformed into a new one.

The same table, where they sat for hours, working, was now a witness to their hard work. The same vase, a vase for decoration, became a remembrance of a special moment. Everything gained a new meaning. And they started to feel thankful for what they had. Their lives took on a new dynamic.

Take advantage of the opportunities, but beware the threats

The fourth and final stop was a beautiful garden full of flowers.

Needless to say, the trainer asked them to pick a flower. They looked so nice, so full of indescribable and mysterious colours and perfume.

As they stretched their arms, they realised that as soon as they picked a flower, its smell would disappear and its colour would fade. So they had to think of some way to pick the flower so that it would continue to be as perfumed and beautiful as before. So they thought of pick it and putting it in a jar full of water. But there was a problem – when stretching the arm to pick the flower, the jar could break and, consequently, the water would spill and the flower would lose its colour and perfume.

Now their journey had come to an end. So the trainer said: “This is as far as I can go with you. In your lives, you will find lots of flowers like these. You will make plans to achieve your objectives. But there will be weaknesses in your plans. You should take advantage of the opportunities, but beware the threats! And always remember the teacher’s tools!”

And thus their journey came to an end. They all felt they wanted to learn more with this trainer. But she had to go. They felt happy and sad at the same time – happy to have had this marvellous experience, but sad because the journey had ended.