I have taught at Michigan State University (MSU) for forty years, stepping back to part time recently. I continue to teach International Business Law and Sustainability, a senior (400-level) class that is also open to M.S. in Accounting and MBA students. But my methods could work at any level of education.
People often associate ritual with religious practices, but all humans use ritual, whether we are conscious of it or not. According to Casper Van Kuile, a ritual is a practice that crosses over from every day activity to something with deeper meaning. Ritual is created when we act with intention and we pay attention to what is happening. Some rituals, such as journal writing or the morning cup of coffee, may be individual, but many are shared and remind us that we are not alone. Activities such as dance, cooking, and singing give us a fast track to community, and ritual does that, too. (For further discussion of the nature of ritual, listen to “The Power of Ritual by Casper Ter Kuile,” at https/www.calm.com/ [paywall].) Rituals in the classroom help us connect with each other, and they help students know what to expect in our learning community. When they know what to expect, they relax, and learning is easier.