My son just showed me this video. I love TED talks as they are to the point and always by people who really know what they are talking about. Shawn Achor seems to know his stuff and makes a lot of sense – we have put success ahead of happiness in our modern world. Each time we reach our goal or have success, all that we feel is that we replace this goal with a harder to reach one. And our feeling of happiness is supposed to happen after we reach our goal, but as we never really do, we don’t get to feel happy. Shawn shares 5 things that he does with each company he works with to up their employees happiness. He suggests that we need to do these things for 21 days straight to re-program our thinking to look for happiness. Sounds great, and as someone who has journal led their 10 things to be thankful for for a few years + now has a gratitude jar at work to add 1 thing to be grateful for each day, I think what he says really makes sense. But don’t take my world for it – watch the TED talk and see for yourself. Maybe even take on the 21 day challenge!
This first week back at school for 2014 has been full of meetings. One of these stands out …..
Associate Professor Lea Waters, a psychologist from Melbourne Uni., , who talked about positive psychology – what it was, how it can positively effect student’s and teacher’s learning as shown by research studies, and some examples of how to start off the school year putting some of this into practice.
I loved the Thankful Dance -which has a whole uplifting back story.
Another thing I learned was about a thing called ‘The Negative Bias’ which is everyone’s subconscious way of looking out for problems, dangers, negative outcomes (*Negative Bias is the instinctive behaviour of paying more attention to negatives rather than positives, for example, a student focusing only on one low grade in amongst several other excellent grades. quoted from a Newington College article where Waters gave a lecture). It made me realise that this way of looking at situations is hard wired into us but what we need to do is to counter this negativity with als paying equal attention to the positives, for example, what is there to be grateful for in this situation? Encouraging children to articulate little and big things in their lives brings this to our attention.
Another school Lea is involved with has used this story- the Thankful Coat – to kick start the routine of ,at the end of every kinder day, the children all sit in a circle and 3 children get a chance to put the Thankful Coat on and tell everyone 1 thing they are thankful for that day. The trick is now to only have 3 children – more usually want to share.
Other practical examples Lea shared were gratitude walls, which she has seen used in primary, secondary classrooms as well as staffrooms to great effect. It reminds us all and re-focuses attention on what is going right and what is amazing and beautiful around us.
Lastly, it reminded me of the importance of nurturing relationships with our students – it’s not just warm and fuzzy to do this but has measurable benefits on their sense of well-being and academic success.
A great way to start the 2014 school year!!