The Canadian Positive Psychology conference runs in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada from July 17-18 with pre-conference workshops offered on July 16. This fourth in a series of preview articles about the conference highlights some of the many amazing presenters. Educators of all ages are among those who are very interested in the application of positive psychology. Some of our speakers and researchers will be sharing insights specifically for educational purposes. For other previews, see Full Bodied Positive Psychology, Positive Psychology in Different Populations, and Positive Psychology in the Workplace.
Tiny Shifts that Lead to Student Success
Sherri Fisher is a graduate from the Master of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania, and an educator’s educator. She has worked with many students to help them become stronger, more confident, and more resilient in their studies. Sherri says that self-regulation is not a single thing. There are many tools that guidance counselors, parents, teachers, educators, therapists, school psychologists, and others can use to help students.Sherri says “What’s exciting about the work I’m doing is that there is really no need for kids to be anxious and depressed about being in school. Tiny shifts in the way [we adults] think about our own thinking and help kids to think about their thinking can make the difference between them giving up and them trying something new. I want to contribute to a world where I never hear again that kids don’t try hard enough, or that if they would just invest more effort, their learning problems could be solved. It isn’t true. When kids don’t try, it’s not because they lack the effort. It’s because they don’t know what to do.”
Want to know what those students should do? Come see Sherri’s presentation!
Reciprocal Strengths Spotting
Mark Linkins has done strengths work in schools since his involvement in the seminal Strathaven project with Jane Gilham. In that program, the strengths work focused on each student exploring his or her own strengths. While that can be a rich experience, he’s subsequently discovered that there is a missing piece: reciprocal strengths spotting and recognition.
Adding the two-way connection helps students see themselves through other people’s eyes, which can be transformative. Particularly with adolescents who often are unable to see the strengths in themselves that are apparent to others, Mark finds this can be a very powerful intervention. Sometimes hearing about their strengths from others helps students gain new insights and correct inaccurate assumptions about themselves. Mark’s workshop will have a best practices component, videos, and interviews with students and teachers.Children and Mindfulness
Lea Waters is the newly-minted Gerry Higgins Chair in Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne. While she is a qualified psychologist, her interest in positive education and early childhood interventions started when her son was born. Regarding some of the approaches she has learned, Lea said, “Time and time again working with corporate leaders, they say to me ‘Why didn’t I learn this earlier in my life? It would have been so helpful.’”
Now she is very interested in the practice of mindfulness for children. Mindfulness practices may be easier for teenagers to accept than other well-being interventions such as gratitude practices. In the conference, Lea will share a recent review that has been published in educational psychology review journal addressing the question, “How do you build your mind if your mind is a muscle?” If we put these meditation practices in a more plastic younger brain, would we see positive changes as well? Time and research will tell.
Lea’s presentation will alert, educate, highlight to people that there is this wonderful practice of meditation which is showing some great promise. It’s free and easy to use. It can change your brain for the better, resulting potentially in better emotional well-being and higher social competence.
Since the conference is coming up so soon, here are some short shout-outs to other fabulous presenters that you don’t want to miss. [Editor’s note: Some are PPND authors. Their names link to their article sets.]
Dr Marsha Snyder will be presenting on physician well-being, with links to positive patient outcomes.
Charles Walker will be taking happiness beyond self-report and exploring ways we can accurately and more objectively assess happiness.
Ashley Whillans sheds light on important processes that can help or hinder friendship formation in uncertain times.
Mark Franklin moves a positive-psychology based career coaching method into evidence-based reality.
Suzanne Routh puts leaders into a positive frame of mind for greater learning and creativity.
Paula Thompson looks at our positive imagined conversations in the workplace and how we can use these to our collective benefit.
Sean Doyle and his team share a new strengths tool for the workplace.
Denise Larsen uses hope intentionally for beneficial therapeutic outcomes.
Jonathan Bridekirk looks at the development of passion and what it can mean to the individual.
Louisa Jewell shares practical hands-on solutions focused exercises and activities to build self-confidence and self-efficacy.
Sue Langley combines emotional intelligence, neuroscience, and positive psychology.
Dan Bowling explores the relationships of positive psychology and the profession and practice of law.
Greg Evans considers the relationship between religion and well-being, a surprisingly untapped area of positive psychology.
Scott Asalone and his partner Jan Sparrow are developing the leadership concept of the mental edge.
Robert Pal draws on a personal challenging past to look for wins, be more mindful, and create upward spirals of positive personal change.
Keynote speaker Tim Kasser will share his work on people’s values and goals and how they are related to their own personal well-being, the ways they treat others in the world, and the ways they treat the Earth.
Lydia Ievleva finds that we can rewrite history (rescripting) to create a positive new frame of reference for future experiences.
Paula Davis-Laack draws on her burn-out experience as a lawyer to help professionals bounce back, grow, and thrive.
Rachael Clark measures hope and resilience in poverty populations, and talks about the importance of creating a positive psychology for all, not just the middle-class.
Cindy Ward researches professionals who are mildly dissatisfied, rather than actually depressed, to see what impact positive psychology can have.
Do you want to be part of this unique gathering of researchers and practitioners? The early bird rate is open until July 2, but registration is still open until the conference begins. Register here.
Fisher, S. (2007-2014). More than 50 articles on Positive Psychology News.
Linkins, M. (2013). Going from what’s wrong to what’s strong in schools. VIA Videos.
Rusk, R., & Waters, L. (2014). Exploring the underlying components of positive psychology interventions: Five domains of positive function. Journal of Positive Psychology
White, M., & Waters, L. (2014). The Good School: A case study of the use of Christopher Peterson’s work to adopt a strengths-based approach in the classroom, chapel and sporting fields. Journal of Positive Psychology.
Yeager, J., Fisher, S. & Shearon, D. (2011). Smart Strengths: Building Character, Resilience and Relationships in Youth. New York: Kravis Publishing.
Photo Credit via Compfight with Creative Commons Licenses
Teacher and student courtesy of www.audio-luci-store.it
Mindfulness and children courtesy of Post Scriptum
Mirror image courtesy of Lotus Carroll