Leaving No Brain Behind

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.

Positive Psychology is Good for Your Student’s Brain II

Experience that activates emotional assets - and diminishes emotional deficits - promotes optimal learning and well-being in school. How can you harness the power of emotional learning?

Positive Psychology Is Good for Your Student's Brain I

Brain plasticity and neurogenesis means teachers can create learning experiences that shape optimal learning and well-being. Do you know why positive psychology is good for the learning brain?

Positive Psychology Meaning in Hallweening

Behind every mask is a child and behind every child is a story. What story do you want that child to tell this Halloween? In the telling of a story, we reveal our inner hero.

The Positive Psychology of Flow

In the classroom, emotions flow in every direction and either prime the pump of learning or obstruct it. How can educators help students follow their flow?

The Talent Development Institute

"The talent is in the choices." –Robert De Niro. What if you give students choices about what they want to learn and how they want to learn it?

What Happy Children and Teens Do Differently

"Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will" - James Stephens. Happy children learn to not let fear stifle creative thought, feeling, or action.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

"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 3'R's of Emotional Learning

“But feelings cannot be ignored no matter how unjust or ungrateful they may seem.” – Anne Frank. Emotional literacy is a pre-requisite for social mastery.

The Positive Psychology of Making Amends

“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.

Visualize the Good and the Bad

"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?

Optimism: The Luck of the Irish

“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?

The Positive Psychology of Empathy

“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.

Positive Psychology in the Elementary School Classroom

"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.

Positive Psychology and the Learning Virtues

“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.

The Positive Psychology of the Movies

"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.

Positive Psychology Promotes Civility

"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.

The Positive Psychology of Kindness

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.

Five More Gifts of Gratitude

"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

Five Gifts from a Grateful Heart

"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.

Positive Psychology and the Action Teacher

"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

Five Positive Psychology Resolutions for the New Year

"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?

The Positive Psychology of Grief

“Grief fills the room of my absent child up, lies in his bed, walks up and down with me, puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words.” – William Shakespeare. Can positive psychology teach us anything about how to grieve when we are most lost and despairing?

The Science of Positive Psychology

"Happiness is a choice. Choose happy!" - Yoda. USA Girl Scouts invited Martin E.P. Seligman to design a “Science of Happiness” badge to celebrate their 100th anniversary. To earn the badge, young researchers in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades plan and test a happiness strategy.

The Art of Positive Psychology

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” - Mark Van Doren. The art of positive psychology is learning not to teach by the book only. The art of positive psychology is learning to teach by heart so as to assist in the discovery of self, others, and the world. In positive psychology, the teacher is the student’s muse.

The Recipe for Positive Psychology

"Knowledge is love and light and vision." - Helen Keller. The recipe for positive psychology is one that is worth knowing. Teachers find it quickly becomes a favorite with everyone. There are five key ingredients!

Achievement vs Accomplishment

“To the uneducated, an ‘A’ is just three sticks.” - A. L. Milne (Winnie the Pooh). A generation of students has graduated in the era of high stakes tests and factory schools. This reform generation is schooled in an era when achievement is confused with accomplishment.

Finding Your Purpose

“Pay attention to where you are going because without meaning you might get nowhere.” A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh). Using a bubble sheet to mark the one correct answer on a multiple-choice test does not teach students how to find meaning in learning or in life.

Meaningful Learning

"Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire." - Yeats. To light a fire, the teacher must fill the school bucket with meaningful learning.

Friendship: The Key to Happiness

"The connections made in the course of life - maybe that’s what heaven is." - Fred Rogers. Mr. Rogers and Aristotle are happiness philosophers who know true friends are the key to happiness. Does the teacher hold the key?