A few years ago, while conducting research for a course I was developing as a freelancer, I discovered the science of positive psychology (if you don’t know anything about it, watch this great 5-minute whiteboard video). Traditional psychology typically looks at what is wrong with us, while positive psychology looks at what is right with us. Our strengths are as important as weaknesses. I was fascinated by this evidence-based science and pondered how I could apply it to second language acquisition.
I feel that one of the most interesting areas in positive psychology is exploring character strengths (some examples include honesty, zest, love of learning, perseverance, gratitude, and curiosity). Approximately 55 scientists reviewed the best thinking on virtues and positive human qualities in the areas of theology, psychology, and philosophy from the past 2,500 years over a three-year period. The result was a compilation of 24 character...
Almost one year ago, I wrote about Amy Cuddy and her research related to the "power pose". If you didn't read that post, here is the link (http:// https://www.patricepalmer.ca/blog/the-super-hero-pose-fact-or-fiction).
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of the "power pose", it means adopting a posture or stance like a "superhero" (hands on hips, standing tall and powerful). The idea is that we gain confidence from standing like a super hero!
Cuddy faced much criticism regarding her research and book - Presence Bringing Your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges (http://amzn.to/2mU6OmJ.
According to Cuddy, "the key finding is simple: adopting expansive postures causes people to feel more powerful". She reports that this effect has been replicated in at least nine published studies and in at least four unpublished studies from nine different labs.
In addition, Cuddy argues that "what’s absolutely clear from...
"Self-Care is so important. You cannot serve from an empty vessel". Eleanor Brownn.
"I love this quote from Eleanor Brownn. I start my teacher well-being workshops with this quote. The relief on the faces of teachers is very evident when they hear it! It’s almost as if we need permission to give ourselves this self-care. However, we are the only ones who can give ourselves this permission!" Fiona Forman
Teacher burn-out is a serious issue. This post includes my personal experience and a wonderful interview with Fiona Forman, a teacher from Ireland, and Co-creator of the Weaving Well-Being Program.
Many of you know that I left classroom teaching after 20 years in December 2015. It was very hard to admit that I was burned-out so I jokingly told colleagues that I was retiring (even though I was years away from retirement). Being "burned-out" seemed like a weakness. In fact, this is the first time that I am actually admitting it.
So what caused my burn...
Exactly one year ago today, I left my job as an ESL teacher after 20 years (including 7 incredible years in Hong Kong). I had known for a year or so that it was time for a change because I was feeling uninspired and tired. I felt the need to learn some new skills and travel at any time of the year, not just school breaks. I craved a creative outlet but I wasn't really sure what to do.
Was it frightening to think about life outside the classroom? Yes! But little did I know that having support to push ahead would be key in achieving so much in the past year. This is why I believe that we all need a "Ray"!
So who is Ray? A few years ago, my friend Ray asked me if I could write an online course for him. I said that I could and did. He also asked me to attend a 4 day training event for coaches, writers and online course developers. I went with the intention that I would learn more to help him with other online courses, but I ended...
Exactly one year ago, I decided to leave classroom teaching after 20 years. My decision was based on a few reasons but to be honest, I was exhausted (I hate to use the term burned out). I was also bored from the sheer repetitiveness of teaching English. I didn’t leave the ESL field completely and in the last two semesters (I still think in terms of semesters and not months!), I have been teaching online, writing and travelling. When a friend of mine asked me to supply teach for 5 weeks, I decided that I was ready to return to the ESL classroom.
My class of new immigrants to Canada from Sierre Leone, Chad, Burma, Syria, Afghanistan, Vietnam, China and Somalia.
As teachers, we give so much to our students. It can be hard to find the time and energy to care for ourselves, too. Self-care - the act of taking the time and space to nurture ourselves - is not something that is “nice” to do but it is essential for our well-being as teachers....
Today I did something that I have never done before. I was a webinar presenter on http://www.tutela.ca! I presented a one hour webinar called "Planning Your Professional Development". In the last few years, I have signed up and watched many webinars but I have never been in a presenter role. Was I nervous? Yes, but I was more excited than nervous. Why? Two reasons - confidence and courage.
When I decided to leave classroom teaching after 20 years last December, I neededconfidence because I had to believe that I could make a living using my skills outside of teaching ESL. There is a certain comfort that comes from doing a job for many years but the downside for me was that there were few opportunities to challenge myself or have a creative outlet. So trying new things as a teacherpreneur (e.g. learning how to use social media, write and market e-books, and blog on MailChimp to name a few!)...
About two hours ago, I did something that I have never done before! I was a webinar presenter on http://www.tutela.ca! I presented a one hour webinar called "Planning Your Professional Development" to ESL teachers in Canada, including a teacher working in China. In the last few years, I have signed up and watched many webinars but I have never been in a presenter role. Was I nervous? Yes, but I was more excited than nervous. Why? Two reasons - confidence and courage.
When I decided to leave classroom teaching after 20 years last December, I needed confidence because I had to believe that I could make a living using my skills outside of teaching ESL. There is a certain comfort that comes from doing a job for many years but the downside for me was that there were few opportunities to challenge myself or have a creative outlet. So trying new things as a teacherpreneur (e.g. learning how to use social...
For the past two years, I have been very interested in grit, growth mindset and second language acquisition. I have published an article in Contact (TESL Ontario) http://www.teslontario.net/uploads/publications/contact/ContactSummer2015.pdf and presented on this topic at four different TESL conferences (including in Moldava via Google Hangouts - the slideshare is available at http://www.slideshare.net/PatricePalmer/mindset-presentation-p-palmer-tesl-toronto-may-2015. I am very excited to be in Costa Rica in July talking to teachers about growth mindset and SLA. A few weeks ago, Brainology published blog post on their website http://community.mindsetworks.com/blog-page/home-blogs/entry/growth-mindset-and-second-language-acquisition.. You can click on the link to read the post or it is published below.
Growth Mindset and Second Language Acquisition
If someone told me that it would take between three to ten...
Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you were really being listened to and truly felt heard? I believe it is rare but when it happens, it is can be a powerful experience.
Last weekend, I attended a two day training session on coaching based in positive psychology. My biggest take-away from the week-end was learning about “mindful listening” (and actually practicing it). I had heard of "mindfulness" and “being mindful”, but hearing mindful together with the skill of listening intrigued me.
There were 50 people in the training session. When the facilitator asked us if we practiced mindful listening, no one put their hand up. Sadly, we all agreed that we do not listen well, and certainly do not practice mindful listening.
Would you agree that you could be a better listener? How often have you had a conversation with student and thought that you were paying attention only to realize...
My son just finished his last season of playing basketball. Next year, he will be away at university so it is unlikely that I will be able to watch him play his favourite sport again. It is also my favourite sport as well and I have loved watching him play and develop his skills during the past 10 years.
Reflecting back on hundreds of hours of practices and games, there are a few things that I have learned that relates to sports and life off the basketball court.
Here are a few insights:
1. You can’t pick your coach or teammates. You also can’t pick your boss or your colleagues so it is important to learn how to get along with many different personalities. Participating in team sports provides an opportunity to do this.
2. If you want to develop and improve a skill (and not just basketball skills), it requires hard work, hours of practice, and grit. I remember in the early years, the kids were always bunched up under the net with...