The Happiness Advantage – need this in your school?

Over the weekend, I wrote a post on the Voices from the Learning Revolution blog called ‘TED in My Classroom‘, with a focus on TED Ed, their latest initiative. I’m still pondering how I might offer something to the project, but I’ll have to mull over it a little more. What they’re looking for is the following:

TED-Ed’s mission is to capture and amplify the voices of great educators around the world. We do this by pairing extraordinary educators with talented animators to produce a new library of curiosity-igniting videos.

I don’t know if I’m one of the extraordinary educators they’re looking for, but I do think there might be something in my bag of educational tricks that might be worth sharing!

What’s in Shawn Achor’s bag of tricks is well worth your time. He’s a very engaging speaker, talking about what he calls ‘the happiness advantage‘; the effect of positive psychology on our productivity and attitude to life. Here’s some text from the transcript of his talk;

But the real problem is our brains work in the opposite order. If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise. In fact, what we’ve found is that every single business outcome improves. Your brain at positive is 31 percent more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed. You’re 37 percent better at sales. Doctors are 19 percent faster, more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis when positive instead of negative, neutral or stressed. Which means we can reverse the formula. If we can find a way of becoming positive in the present, then our brains work even more successfully as we’re able to work harder, faster and more intelligently.

Just imagine if our focus in schools was on this instead of Naplan tests and My School comparisons? I’d like to see schools value this kind of research and invest time and effort in helping our students understand how their state of mind can effect their performance.

I’m happy and positive after watching this. In my view, 12 minutes well spent in any classroom you teach in. Think about sharing it around.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Happiness Advantage – need this in your school?

  1. Marion MacQueen

    I took note of Shawn Achor’s TED Talk and managed to use my version of his ideas to lift my Grade 5 students at a stage when Exhibition was wearing them down. We tried putting happiness ahead of goals, gave positives and enjoyed the journey…then we got too busy a few days later. How do we consistently slow down and use what we know will benefit our learning in the long run?

  2. Pingback: School’s out Friday | Lucacept – intercepting the Web

  3. “The Happiness Advantage” really does make a difference! I’ve incorporated this material in my college courses over the past year observed it completely change individuals and even entire families who adopt it for the better. I believe so strongly in this material that I’ve taken Shawn Achor’s concept of “random acts of kindness” to the next level by starting the Share the Advantage project. We are giving away 365 copies of “The Happiness Advantage” this year as an approach to spreading the advantage with others through random acts of kindness. Please check us out at sharetheadvantage.org. We’d love to hear from you!

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