Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Nutrition Tips for Busy Educators: Feeding the Teacher's Brain


 (Note: The following article was featured in Teachers Matter magazine, published by Spectrum Education Ltd., which is based in New Zealand.)

By Drs. Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers

Teaching is a cognitively complicated profession. In the course of a single school day, an educator must make hundreds of decisions and respond quickly to the many unpredicted turns that life in the classroom may take. You have a high-energy job, so it's essential to prime your brain and body with the right fuel.

But in the busy life of a teacher, who has time to think about healthy eating, much less sorting through the sometimes-conflicting claims about the nutritional value of various food choices?

Unfortunately, the less we think about what we eat, the worse our diets may beespecially if we default to snacking on so-called convenience foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats and low in nutrient-dense ingredients that sustain our energy levels.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Primary and Nursery School in England Uses Our "Flourishing" Approach

We are delighted to learn that Millbrook Primary and Nursery School in Manchester, England, is using our book, Flourishing in the First Five Years: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education Research to the Development of Young Children, to underpin their educational approach to learning and teaching.

We wrote Flourishing in the First Five Years to take readers on a fascinating journey of discovery about what can be done to help young children realize more of their unique potential for learning. The educators at Millbrook have rightly zeroed in on our treatment of the topic of teaching young children how to become self-regulated learners, one of the main ideas from our book.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

4 Ways to Create an Optimistic School Culture


Imagine if each school day every teacher arrived with a contagious, optimistic attitude. Research suggests that positive emotions can help solve problems, reinforce resilience, strengthen relationships, and even improve educational outcomes. An important aspect of effective leadership is creating and supporting environments that cultivate optimism, and the start of a brand new year is a great time to cultivate this attitude in your practice!

Here are four of our practical strategies for creating a positive and optimistic school culture.

1. Practice self-care.


Educators do the essential and difficult work of schooling young people, so it is important for them to remember to practice self-care. After one of our leadership workshops, a principal asked, “What can I do to reduce my stress?” He said he felt pressure to perform at peak levels—all day, every day—when meeting with teachers and interacting with students. We shared that leaders can benefit from practicing the be-great-for-eight-and-take-a-break strategy. When possible, focus on leadership work for eight minutes then take a short pause to reflect. The principal stated that he loved this idea, and a big smile appeared on his face. He said, “This is a much better idea than what I usually attempt to do, which is to be full on full time, which makes me frustrated and exhausted.”