About the Prize Winners: Hinda Dalfin

Meet Hinda Dalfin

Hinda Dalfin won the Kohelet Prize for Learning Environment as part of a team of six from Lamplighters Yeshiva. Check out their winning entry, The Conscious Learning Environment, here:

In your experience, what is the greatest challenge facing students/teachers today?

We live in a fast paced world with information overload. It can be hard to focus and to be absorbed in the present especially when there is a lot on our minds.Both students and teachers need to transition from their personal world to the classroom.For example, a child might come from a permissive home and need to transition to a different reality in school or, a child might have trouble sleeping and then enter school where she is expected to focus. A teacher may have troubles at home but when she walks into the classroom she is the teacher and must leave her personal issues behind. I find the transition between home and school to be a great challenge.

In implementing your winning project in the classroom, was there a moment when you knew that you had hit upon something really powerful?  If so, describe that moment.

There have been many moments in which I saw how the new environment changed the way the girls felt about school and our classroom. The most obvious moment was when the girls asked that I extend the school day. Other moments include times when the girls want to show off to visitors and take care of the classroom environment.

What advice would you give teachers who want to attempt something new and different in their own classrooms?

Just do it. Sometimes we complicate matters to avoid doing something new since it may seem daunting . Remember that all great things take courage. Also, include your students in the experimentation: record the data and evaluate with students whether you’ve been successful or not, what might you change etc. Make it as scientific as possible.

What’s your favorite part of your teaching day and why?

At around 11:30 there is a beautiful hum heard throughout the classroom. If I am lucky enough to have a few moments free I take the opportunity to observe. Some girls sit completely engrossed in their independent work, other girls sit together and collaborate while another few girls learn with the teacher.All the sweet learning voices blend together in a harmonious buzz.

How do you ensure that you’re always growing professionally?

Talking to other teachers, asking for advice, sharing success’s. Reading books on education.

If you had one piece of advice to share with a new teacher walking into his/her classroom for the first time…

Keep yourself inspired, the more passionate you are for teaching the more your students learn from you. The more positive energy you bring into your classroom the more the children will grow.

When I’m not in the classroom I love to:

Travel. This strengthens my teaching by providing me with rejuvenated spirit ,a fresh outlook on life,and new opportunities/ inspirations that I share with my students. Recently I traveled to Cuba. Aside from feeling uplifted and fresh when I returned I shared my experiences with my students. I showed them pictured of a school I visited there and discussed the contrast of life in Cuba to life in the United States.