Friday, 18 January 2019

Engaging the mind via Haiku 5 7 5

Haiku is an old art form. Wikipedia tells us it started in the late 19thC after evolving from an earlier form
of writing called the hokku. The writer is constrained to use only 5 syllables in lines 1 and 3 but can be
more effusive in line 2 with 7 syllables.
Whenever I read a powerful Haiku, I feel nourished and marvel how the poet has captured such impact
with such brevity of communication.

Light shines from the sun
And travels through the white cloud
Dives into the pond
By Viet

This simple form is evocative and extremely expressive. The minimalist use of diction is actually its
strength in capturing the imagery of the moment.
Of course one could say the enforced structure of haiku constrains what is possible with more
landscape of imagery, diction and figures of speech.
This potential debate excites me and I look forward to anyone wishing to discuss it.
As the famous author Mark Twain is to have purported to have said, "If had more time I would have
written a shorter letter."
As an educator, I am passionate about encouraging children to see learning as an exciting pursuit. I
want them to realise that the brain is like a muscle which we can build and that if we are brave and
willing to make mistakes and have a go, we can be free. Free of comparing ourselves to the next
person, free from feeling silly when we don't know something but mostly free to show others who we
are without embarrassment or fear of ridicule. Being able to express our thoughts and emotions via
dance, music or writing is a wonderful gift but to show the essence of our thinking is a great challenge.
I feel a great responsibility as a teacher and principal of a school to foster these things and deliver a
curriculum where 'thinking' is at its heart. I mean deep and powerful thinking, away from the rote,
recall end but more of the higher order thinking where learners are curious and creative delving into
analysis, synthesis, evaluative thinking and  prediction.
Haiku is just one of millions of ways to engage higher order thinking. I was delighted to read a few
haiku poems recently from Year 10 boys from Wellington College. These boys attend English as a
Second Language class. To be able to write in English demonstrating their thinking so well at this high
level is very impressive and beautiful.

For your pleasure, there are two more below.

Yellow sun in sky
We are feeling comfortable
Bathed in the sunshine
                      Tony Yang

Wind blowing gently
Passing the clean blue window
Drops on my shoulder
Ref: Picture from Rod Van