Saturday, 10 March 2012 17:45

Putting Happiness First, Part 1 (Teaching Tip #63)

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A few days ago I watched an inspiring TED Talk by Shawn Achor, CEO of Good Think Inc., entitled “The Happy Secret to Better Work.” A big idea in this 12-minute presentation is that in our society people tend to believe that we should work hard in order to be happy. Achor suggests that this way of thinking could be backwards. He argues that happiness makes us more productive, creative, and successful. In short, happiness should come first. At the end of his talk, Achor shares some ways that people can use to focus on the positive aspects of their lives and become happier.

My favorite suggestion is one that I will try this coming Monday morning and continue for the next few weeks. Achor asserts that individuals who try this idea for 21 straight days can train themselves to think differently about their lives and actually re-wire their brains. I don’t think Achor was speaking specifically to a group of educators, but I think teachers everywhere can benefit from his idea.

The idea involves thinking of three things in our lives for which we are grateful. Each day we think of three new things, and over time we realize just how much we have in our lives to be grateful for. I would love to try this idea in writing, but I just don’t think we have the class time to make this happen. Instead, at the end of our daily 4-part morning movement warm-up, while my students are standing in hook-up position, I will ask the kids to think of their three things and then ask a few volunteers per day to share their thoughts with the group.

Usually, my Teaching Tips feature ideas, activities, and strategies that I have used for many years, and I’m excited to share an idea I just learned that we can all try together. Next week I will share the results of what happens this coming week. Please feel to let me know if you do anything similar in your classrooms or decide to give this idea a shot.

New Teaching Tips appear every Sunday of the school year.