When students call out "Present', make sure they know what it means. So what does "Present" really mean? It does not just mean "here" - it means here in the moment and mindfully in touch with the learning.
Dancing stretches the mind and exercises the heart making us physically and emotionally stronger. Dancing communicates deep feelings and connects us to others in intimate ways. Dancing imparts meaning and a sense of accomplishment. Dancing is positive psychology in action. Put it to work in your classroom.
How do educators help wire the naturally curious and optimistic student's brain? How do they activate the executive functions essential to learning in nurturing and not harsh ways? Unlocking the secrets of the happy brain is the key to happy classrooms.
At the 2014 Learning and Brain Conference in San Francisco this year, I discussed the intersection of neuroscience and positive psychology in education. This is not just “warm and fuzzy” teaching anymore.
"Teaching might be the greatest of all arts because the medium is the human mind and spirit." - John Steinbeck. A letter to a teacher captures the essence of teaching positive psychology and the power of a teacher.
“The place of justice is a hallowed place.” - Sir Francis Bacon. Punishment is not the same as justice and has little, if any, redeeming educational value. Restorative justice programs in the classroom teach compassion and promote the well-being of all students.
"What is now proved was once only imagined." - William Blake. Students can be taught to envision positive outcomes. They can also be taught to envision how they will cope with less than positive outcomes. How are both optimism and pessimism entangled in our well-being?
“May good luck be a friend in all you do and trouble a stranger to you.” – Irish Blessing. The music, the toasts, the blessings…even the wakes…are a testimony to an optimistic view of life. What can the Irish teach us about optimism inviting good luck?
“I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.” - Walt Whitman. The opposite of bullying is empathy. If you walk in their shoes you feel the blisters on their heart.
"A good book has no ending." - Robert Frost. If teachers expand, extend, and elaborate the fundamental principles and practice of positive psychology, there is no end to the potential for positive influence.
“It might be possible to champion other moral/academic codes to boost motivation in places where it is absent.” – David Brooks. A New York Times article extolls the “learning virtues” and gives reason to champion positive psychology.
"Making movies is a way of understanding myself and the world." - Ang Lee. The story of movies is the story of shared feelings. The best films evoke joy, fear, nostalgia, empathy, and every other human condition and emotion.
"This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are." -- Plato. The most noble duty of the public school is to teach civics. Teach students to engage in democracy using signature strengths such as kindness, courage, empathy, and resilience.
Kindness in words creates confidence." Lao Tzu. Tomorrow is random kindness day. However, kindness should be explicitly taught every day and it should be taught systematically and purposefully consistent with the neuroscience.
"One looks back with appreciation to brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. Curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element ..." - Carl Jung
"The deepest craving of human nature is the desire to be appreciated." – William James.
One of the core correlates of positive psychology is gratitude. Recent research suggests it is good for the heart both physically and emotionally. Teach gratitude.
"Action will delineate and define you." - Thomas Jefferson. Do you have a special lesson that you use to increase emotional awareness or strengths in your classroom? Have you created a service learning activity to build relationships or create meaning in learning? Would you like to share your idea and win $1,000.00? Hurry – entry deadline is January 15, 2013
"Write it on your heart that everyday is the best day of the year." – Emerson. There are so many resolutions that are hard to keep. We make promises to ourselves and then break them. Can resolutions grounded in positive psychology help?
Old school behavioral approaches teach little more than compliance. Neuro-based postiive psychology strategies are proven to help students increase self-regulation, build engagement through strength, improve relationships, assign meaning, and scaffold accomplishment. The positive psychology teacher does not bifurcate cognitive and affective learning. Instead, in the positive psychology classroom, academic and emotional learning fuse.