The Essence of the Holidays

Winter has finally hit Southern California.

It’s cold and breezy and a perfect temperature for Christmas. December is a month of celebrations.

I love this time of year. I marvel in my heightened senses; the fresh smell of pines, the shimmering lights, the accessorized picture perfect homes, the jolly tunes and melodic beats. Every time I step out, I sense the excitement and anticipation as shoppers intently run around, joyfully searching for the perfect gifts to give away. I’ve never understood what shopping has to do with Christ, but this time of the year is a true testament to the spirit of kindness, the joy of giving, and the happiness the holidays bring.

I’m not a big shopper, but I have to admit that on a grander scheme, all the shopping does indeed turn the wheels of our global economy—the wheels that all inter-connectivity depends on, no matter where we live on the spherical globe. All the mindless shopping we engage in at this time of the year, as frivolous as it may seem, shapes our purpose.

It’s an empowering feeling to know that through the click of my finger on my iPhone, I have given the ability of earnings to someone hundreds of miles away. I have helped an impoverished man, woman or child living in a village on the other side of the world. My finger has suddenly unleashed a slew of actions. Starting from making the product, to boxing it, to sorting it, to flying it on a plane across the globe, to driving it to a distribution center, to sorting it again and finally, to driving it to its final home. I have employed multiple people in an effort to purchase one product. It’s mind boggling thinking of all the hundreds of millions of products and all the subsequent actions that they set in motion. In fact, at this very second, there are thousands of people clicking their devices and making a purchase. Though the true essence of the season is about love and kindness and not about purchasing, one can’t deny the two opposites are more closely tied than they appear.

No doubt, I love the sights, smells and the sounds of X-mas. But for the first time, I don’t feel much guilt in buying another camera for my husband who already has a few, or gadgets and candy for my kids which they’d probably be better off without. At least now I know, the action of my finger, among the millions of other fingers, is making a difference in someone’s life way across the globe.

Susan Massoudnia
Dec. 2018

Why Is Recess Important In Learning ESL?

Humans are not designed to be still all the time, but the traditional classroom learning requires students to sit still for long periods of time. Thousands of years ago, people walked miles to get things they need. Today, we get from point A to point B either by car or train. In the end, we should move more.

In class, teachers often stand and move around, while students sit still and pay attention. However, this does more harm than we realize. Sitting still for 20 minutes, blood accumulates on the lower part of the body – feet, lower legs and buttocks. The simple act of standing up and moving from place to another facilitates flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.

Standing up once in a while pays a lot in learning and will improve the scores of students in tests. One minute of standing up transports 15% more blood and oxygen to the brain. Research showed that there is an increased rate in vocabulary learning among physically active learners.

There are various exercises that can be done inside the four walls of a classroom. These are:

  1. March or jump in place – When a lesson seems too tough for the students, they can do these light exercises.
  2. Stretching – Simple stretching allows blood flow in the body.
  3. Group activity – Teachers should integrate group activities when conducting lessons like answering questions on the board or a short presentation.

That is why at POLY Languages Institute, we strive to integrate activities in class. Learning English can be boring when done in a traditional way.

We put importance in recess to better facilitate our students’ learning and to allow them to rest after taking in a lot of information from the course syllabus.

Aside from these “energy breaks,” POLY also organizes fun-filled activities in school every month. Activities like human bingo and BBQ party enable our students to practice their English skills in an informal setting.