Ah, the sting of watching a beloved technique get twisted into a pain-producer. One of the most effective tools at the disposal of positive reinforcement is a clicker, a small device that generates a clearly audible “click” for marking a particular behavior in a particular moment. It doesn’t carry any of the emotional variation of [more…]
If you want to succeed, embrace failure. A year ago, I would have expected such paradoxical advice to come from a Taoist monk or a Jedi master. Now, after a sabbatical year away from school, I find myself touting that same refrain as I explore questions about teaching and learning. How do I encourage the [more…]
A merry band of daring pioneers recently gathered in the coastal hills north of San Francisco for a workshop exploring the many-layered relationship between improvisational theater and spiritual practice. A few exciting exercises came out of our time together—check out these three and see what you think. I’d joyfully welcome any and all feedback from [more…]
The previous post discussed the history and varied application of The Failure Bow, a well-loved improvisational theater technique for returning to the present moment after a seeming mistake. This post, Part 2, explains recent body chemical research that shows how and why the Bow works—and argues for its wider application for creating and spreading confidence, [more…]
The Failure Bow has a long and treasured history in the world of improvisational theater. Recent research demonstrates that there’s a life-changing reason why. This two-part post will show you how the technique can interrupt feelings of shame and self-defeat; deliver greater confidence, clarity, and calm—and activate waves of resilient joy. The Failure Bow (also [more…]
Offering praise for inborn talent feeds a fixed mindset that can create self-doubt, weaken resolve, and reduce resiliency. In short, it can cripple a student’s ability to learn. Does that mean we should never celebrate God-given gifts?
When designing ideal conditions for learning, we do well to consider the case of Goldilocks. If we make a lesson too difficult, our learner may shut down in frustration. Make it too easy and the learner walks away in boredom. In between those two poles lies a “Just Right” moment, a learning location that both fits and stretches.
We are creatures of comfort and of habit. Sometimes it takes stepping out of the box–or into a smaller one–to realize the limitations of our entrenched patterns.
I stepped off the train in London three days ago into a wave of energy. Granted, I had just come from the open wind, dunes, and sea of the northern coast of Scotland. The tall buildings and bustling traffic of Charing Cross would have offered a shock no matter what. Given the Olympic games, however, [more…]