The ANIMA Learning approach has emerged through the inspiration, instruction and leadership of many wonderful teachers and organizations. Here’s hoping they inspire you as well!
Carol Dweck teaches Social Psychology at Stanford University and has pioneered the field of mindset research. Her growth mindset concept is radically shifting the way the world approaches teaching and learning.
Jim Thompson, formerly Director of the Public Management Program at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, now leads the Positive Coaching Alliance, a national organization changing the way we think about and coach youth sports.
The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education gathers academics interested in tools and networking for greater presence, awareness, and insight in the classroom.
The Center for Courage and Renewal offers retreats and other programs to nurture the soul and inter-connectedness. Parker Palmer, the center’s founder, wrote The Courage to Teach and A Hidden Wholeness.
The PassageWorks Institute offers trainings and other resources for teachers who want to develop their students’ social and emotional intelligence and who want to welcome the soul into the classroom. Their curricula help create a more compassionate, more courageous, more playful setting for learning.
Joanna Macy is an environmental activist, author, scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. She’s also an astounding teacher. Lecture, poetry, music, dance, storytelling, ritual, selfless service, contemplative work: she uses them all to teach how a deep, fully aware connection to the planet and to each other can develop a creativity and resourcefulness in response to our troubling times.
Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the UMass Center for Mindfulness and started the signature secular mindfulness program in the world, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). He is the author of Full Catastrophe Living, Wherever You Go, There You Are, Coming to Our Senses, and a number of other seminal mindfulness works. He’s also a wonderfully insightful presence in person.
Patricia Ryan Madson, improv guru emeritus at Stanford and author of Improv Wisdom offers generous and sage leadership for those who teach improvisation as a path of compassion, connection, and humility. She also maintains a wonderful blog where she muses on creativity and life’s meaning.
BATS Improv (formerly Bay Area Theatresports) is San Francisco’s oldest ongoing improv group. Their classes and performances focus on quality storytelling, authentic relationship, and careful attention to one’s stagemates. A wonderful community to participate in.
Keith Johnstone started the Loose Moose Theatre Company in Calgary, Alberta and wrote the brilliant book IMPRO: Improvisation and the Theatre. His focus on storytelling, spontaneity and status brings improv to delightful life in ways that schtick improv often misses out on.
This group of creatives, teachers, consultants, and improvisors generates and refines the art of bringing improv insights to non-theater arenas. Their annual conference serves as a hotbed for new techniques and approaches.
Karen Pryor is a leader (the leader?) in the field of positive reinforcement training. Her work with animals of all shapes and sizes has led to amazing work with people. She’s a kind soul and a bright light.
Instructors at TAGteach apply Pryor’s insights specifically in human settings. Their workshops show how to offer clear instruction and get incredible learning results with acoustical guidance as a reinforcer. This video shows some dancers who have worked with a TAGteach instructor.
Often called “The Hugging Saint”, Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) travels around the world to share her embodiment of love and compassion. (She’s usually in the US during the summer and at Thanksgiving time.) She and her followers operate hospitals, orphanages, schools, job training centers, and other relief agencies in India and around the world.
These three superlative summer camps do an amazing job linking community, compassion and the natural world:
- The Chewonki Foundation‘s programs teach kids and young adults how to live in harmony with the natural world and how to contribute to a healthy community.
- Farm and Wilderness camps combine Quaker values with a commitment to simple living, joyful self-expression, and time spent outdoors.
- The Rowe Camp and Conference Center programs open the heart and mind to build bridges beyond what first seems possible.