All posts by rohingyafund

Positive Discipline – Teacher Z.

Last year, I bought a ‘Positive Discipline in the Classroom‘ set of DVDs for the staff at The School of Peace. 

At first, I left it to the school to go through the DVDs. But the director had gone to get her masters, and as far as I could tell, the PD training got pushed down the to-do list and dropped.

So, a couple months ago, I said enough.  For any teachers receiving salaries from, they must first go through the training. My requirement for training: each teacher email me after viewing each DVD.  Pretend I’m a new teacher and you’re teaching me the principles from the DVD along with some instructions for implementing them.

I’ve received 2 emails from Teacher Z so far.  Both are long, elaborate expositions that clearly demonstrate that Z not only watched the DVDs, but understood the gist of the PD program.  I’m so relieved. Here are a couple samplings:

DVD#1: What I get from the video “five criteria for positive discipline” we must gain students cooperation rather that push them to do something that they do not want to do. Gain their respect to make it easy to teach them properly.


Everyone has they own comfort zone but if they want to improve they must move out from their comfort zone. But for our students it is not easy because they have limited choices and opportunities than regular students. It is quite difficult for us to handle this situation. But as a teacher we will not give up to make sure our students make better decisions in their life.

For disc two, Z noted:

DVD#2: The most important point in positive discipline is, we must know what we feel. Being able to tell others what we feel. … we must ask (our students) to tell us how they feel to lessen the burden in their heart before we can continue with the lesson.

In subsequent emails back and forth, it’s clear that Z is convinced by PD, and not just regurgitating back the talking points. I’m beyond gratified.

So, after two more emails from discs 3&4, will be resuming paying a significant portion of Z’s salary.

I first encountered the PD program in 2010 when my son started kindergarten at The Village School in Los Gatos, California. This school was unique. Their number one goal wasn’t education, nor was it to hit specific metrics on standardized tests.  No, their number one goal was to develop conflict resolution skills in the kids and the staff.

The cornerstone program for teaching conflict resolution: Positive Discipline. We parents read books and took a workshop. I even taught some of the techniques to the older kids in the school once a week.

We implemented many of the concepts at home. For example, we made a ‘house rules’ list that we wrote as a family. Everyone contributed. The rules included, “Don’t start with blame” and “don’t talk at someone from another room.”  The kids came up with the second one. Buy-in is a powerful motivator in following the rules, and there’s no better way to get buy-in than to have participants write the rules!

And this morning I see the school was written up by CNN!

School of Peace in Penang, Malaysia

Volcano Geography Question for Miss Laura’s Rohingya Class

Ciao Rohingya ragazzi! We traveled to southern Italy last week and I recorded a video so I could ask you few questions about one particular place we visited.

When you return from summer break, please research this region and reply with a video response!

P.S. Miss Kim tells me that some of you (eh hem Rashid) love to embarrass people by pointing out when they’ve “passed gas”, proudly adding that “Miss Laura told us that.” Uh, you’re welcome? Understanding the broad reach of this topic, here are a few other terms you might consider rotating into your vocabulary:

  • “rip one” or “ripped one off”
  • “broke wind” (past tense) or “breaking wind”  (present tense gerund)
  • “toot” or “foof”
  • “cut the cheese”
  • “an eruption of evil vapors”

(note – ‘eruption’ is what a volcano does when it explodes with lava and ash and smoke. Kind of like the gasses that pass when people toot!)

By the way I LOVED YOUR LAST VIDEO REPLY! I’m looking forward to your next one.

Love you guys, – Miss Laura

November Video – Geography Questions

This month we discuss latitude and longitude. In your reply video, I want you to explian what latitude (or parallels) and longitude (or meridian lines) are. How are they used? Where are they on the globe? Where is the equator? Tropic of Cancer? Tropic of Capricorn? Prime Meridian? Where is 90 degrees north? 90 degrees south?

Also, report back on the geographical coordinates (latitude & longitudes) of these three places:

  • Georgetown Penang, Malaysia
  • Ottawa Canada (which is, by the way, the capital of Canada)
  • Verona Italy

Myanmar making life even harder

Over the last week, the Myanmar police have cracked down on Rohingya camps even further. More refugees are fleeing. If any make it to Penang, Malaysia, there’s a school where their kids can go and learn and be safe.

Contributions to RohingyaFund go directly to paying teacher salaries at this school. We’ve raised nearly $3,000 for 2017 teacher salaries. Our goal by year end is $30,000.

For every $9,000 contributed by folks like you, I’ll kick in another $1,000. Tell your friends, and let’s get to $9,000 by Thanksgiving!



RohingyaFund Is Now a 501c3 Public Charity!

On September 1, we received what we’d worked so hard for: a letter from the IRS approving our public charity 501c3 status.


Now, all donations are tax-deductible for US Federal income taxes. So, if you were thinking of  donating – now’s the time.

The goal $60k by end of September:

  • $30,000 for 2017 operations (teachers salaries / tuition).
  • $30,000 for the endowment fund.
Donate Any Amount For Tuition, Administrative or Endowment Fund.
(You can specify your wishes and we’ll do our best to honor them):

… or, select from various donating options.

This is me with the Director of the Peace Learning, Karina Dewi.
This is me with the Director of the Peace Learning, Karina Dewi.

Last Day Teaching In Class

Wednesday, August 10th was my last day teaching the Rohingya kiddos in class. A few days later, I was on a flight with my family to our new home in Italy.

For the last day, we made things fun. First, we did our usual round of compliments, but this time I singled each kid out and, one at a time, with full eye contact and big smiles, I told them just how special they were, and I complimented them on something unique to them – their effort, their focus, their attention to detail, positive attitude, etc. Each kid preened as I let the class know how wonderful I thought they were. I tried to channel Mr. Rogers as best as I could. Turns out, it isn’t hard. Why don’t we channel him more often?

After compliments, I read aloud – an exceedingly basic children’s book called, Stars Near and Far. With the handful of very early English learners in the class, I’ve found that reading a toddler book gets class off to a positive start. These books are very accessible to the new kids, but I suspect they also give a boost of confidence to the kids who’ve been in my class since May of last year.

Of course, I gave a little lesson on the solar system and universe, based on the book. My lessons usually take a jaunt out beyond our atmosphere and this day was no exception. I want these kids to contemplate the enormity of our universe, and to realize just how precious our earth is. I reminded them that we’re all hurling through space together on a big rock that’s perfectly suited to us; we need to remember to work together and get along.


Then I gave them a little lecture about how their success is up to them and them alone. It’s not up to their teachers to motivate them. The teachers can give information and help solve difficult problems. It’s up to them to want to learn. Don’t worry, I kept it quick and to the point.

After that, we discussed how we’ll stay in touch. My plan is to record a video once a month showing a new place we visit in Europe. In the video I’ll ask them to research the location or building or item, and then answer a question or two in a response video. Fortunately, Karina was in the classroom when I explained this, so she repeated the idea in Bahasa Malay to make sure they understood. Here’s the first one.

Then I told them to watch as much Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood as they could. I want them to know they’re special and worthwhile. If I can’t be there to remind them, then maybe Mr. Rogers can.

Next – and this is a longshot – I said we could try to stay in touch on reddit/r/GreenDawn. It’s a silly subreddit that I post to on occasion. The idea is to stage little green army men somewhere ordinary, but pose them in such a way so as to make it look like they’ve discovered an enemy fortification, or are standing guard over some military installation. It’s silly, but it makes me giggle, and I find it fun to keep an eye out for good locations where I can pull out the little green army men from my purse and deploy into position.

So we went outside and planted army men. Here are the kids with their men.

Romeo Foxtrot reporting in from sector 60-04. Entire platoon has been captured by Giant child-like creatures. Over.
Romeo Foxtrot reporting in from sector 60-04. Entire platoon has been captured by giant,child-like creatures. Over.

The kids positioned a bunch of soldiers all over the yard. We posted one to GreenDawn. I’m so proud of their Alom’s little sniper. Meep.  So proud.

Next, my husband arrived with … the unicycles! While we lived in Penang, my husband coached unicycling and sold unicycles. We had some extra stock, so we gave five unicycles to the school. The kids were beyond excited. Look at ’em.

The kids couldn't wait to build their new unicycles.
  The kids couldn’t wait to build their new unicycles.

With the help of my husband and our unicycling buddy, Gan, we built up the unicycles in the front yard of the school. Gan, bless his heart, is going to come to the school regularly and teach the kids how to ride. My husband and I had done lessons a few times, but in order to learn, one really must practice about twenty minutes a session, for at least ten or so sessions. We simply didn’t get that many lessons in.

Thanks Gan!

As the kids toodled around on unicycles, I unloaded some donations of books, DVD player, etc – you know – the kinds of things you don’t really pack with you whPosDiscen you up n move, but would be totally useful in a library at a school? Yeah, those kinds of items.

I also brought in the rest of the Positive Discipline materials I’d ordered from the US. Here Karina is posing with me with the DVD sets and books. The teachers have a plan to go through all of the DVD instructions and come to consensus on disciplinary guidelines to follow in every classroom. If nothing else, I hope this program gives the teachers the tools they need to help these kids have confidence and grow curiosity in learning.


After dropping the boxes off, I looked in my purse for my lip balm. Look at what I found. Meep.

Kopinur, Sabi and Rukiah slipped Good-bye notes into my bag when I wasn't looking.
Kopinur, Sabi and Rukiah slipped Good-bye notes into my bag when I wasn’t looking.

What sweethearts. I’m going to miss these kids.

I’m hoping that the teachers take the Positive Discipline training to heart. These kids deserve the best teaching. Also, I’m hoping these monthly videos between myself and the kids work out. We’ll be posting them on this website, so stay tuned. Maybe, moving our lessons over to the internet will allow more people to join in.

My final send off.


Positive Discipline in the Classroom

Last week, the ‘Positive Discipline in the Classroom’ materials arrived. A group of teachers and volunteers at the school of Peace are going to meet on the 12th and go through the first DVD of instruction.

I’m very hopeful that these methods will allow us all to unify on disciplinary policies, and inspire the kids to be internally motivated.

I originally encountered Positive Discipline at Village School, in Campbell, California. My son attended this charter school, and, as parents, we were required to attend about 14 hours of training in Positive Discipline. Within the first hour, I was sold. The philosophy is respectful and treats kids humanely. The goal is to teach kids how to be healthy, happy, responsible, self-motivated adults.

From :

The tools and concepts of Positive Discipline include:

  • Mutual respect. Adults model firmness by respecting themselves and the needs of the situation, and kindness by respecting the needs of the child.
  • Identifying the belief behind the behavior. Effective discipline recognizes the reasons kids do what they do and works to change those beliefs, rather than merely attempting to change behavior.
  • Effective communication and problem solving skills.
  • Discipline that teaches (and is neither permissive nor punitive).
  • Focusing on solutions instead of punishment.
  • Encouragement (instead of praise). Encouragement notices effort and improvement, not just success, and builds long-term self-esteem and empowerment.