Announcements

Wellbeing RULER 2.0

Posted on Feb 9, 2016

Project Contentment: Cultivating Sustainable Wellbeing in RULER Schools For over a decade, RULER has been a leader in Emotional Intelligence approaches and curricula in schools. The aim of the RULER approach is to radically transform the educational system in order to cultivate safer, healthier, more productive learning environments for kids across all walks of life. RULER has been tested using peer-reviewed scientific methods at Yale University and beyond to show that the program reduces bullying, classroom conflict, testing anxiety, drug use, dropout rates, and many other factors related to school stressors. The leap to create Wellbeing RULER comes with a recent wave of research in the field of positive psychology over the last decade on contentment, mindfulness, self-awareness, and optimal human flourishing. Schoolwide approaches in these four areas have separately demonstrated positive shifts in student wellbeing, but they have yet to be bridged with the field of emotional intelligence. Our team believes that building this bridge for the first time ever creates a massive opportunity to implement new wellbeing-inspired curricula into the already powerful RULER approach. The goal of Wellbeing RULER is to create a leading approach to social and emotional learning that directly bridges emotional intelligence and wellbeing in schools nationwide. The Contentment team believes in cultivating a world where success in school is measured by our students’ ability cultivate wellness internally, not by their standardized test scores or levels of busyness. Rationale The Wellbeing RULER approach is guided by four principles: Cultivating Emotional Intelligence in the classroom improves school performance, classroom climate, and academic success in schools. Cultivating Mindfulness, Emotional Balance, and Psychological Wellbeing in the classroom reduces stress levels, increases student capacity to introspect and reflect, and reduces the rates of physical and psychological disease. Emotional Intelligence depends on self-awareness and the capacity to reflect. Wellbeing and Emotional Intelligence are the most powerful combination available to us for cultivating flourishing, self-aware, and socially-responsible children. Four Pillars of … read more

Martin Luther King: An Emotionally Intelligent Leader

Martin Luther King: An Emotionally Intelligent Leader

Posted on Jan 15, 2016

On January 18th, we celebrate the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King was an iconic leader who used his passion to strategize an end to racial and economic inequality. And, whether he was aware of doing so or not, he used emotionally intelligent techniques to persuade and inspire people of all colors to join him. As psychologists and educators affiliated with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, we analyzed his “I Have A Dream” speech to see just how Dr. King used the tools of emotional intelligence to lay out the grievances of social injustice and rouse the nation to action. We noticed that he used the language of strong emotions, including phrases like “We will not be satisfied until…” He chose high-energy, unpleasant feeling words likefierce, desolate, vicious, unspeakable, battered, despair, withering, and crippled. These kinds of feeling words activate and put the listener on notice. It is a basic human need to be seen and understood, and Dr. King’s empathy let his listeners “feel felt.” He acknowledged their suffering by saying, for example, “Some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulation.” And he named their experiences, acknowledging that they’d been jailed, discriminated against, blocked from the pursuit of happiness. He connected with his audience by naming the values they shared and their vision of the future. He felt, and transmitted, compassion. Halfway through this most famous speech, the “I Have A Dream” address during the 1963 March On Washington, he abandoned his prepared remarks when Mahalia Jackson, off to the side, said, “Tell them about the dream, Martin!” What he said next combined emotional intelligence and soaring rhetoric — his talk gathered into a crescendo and went down in history. And the words we most remember were off the cuff. That is how skilled he was at working with his own, and the audience’s, emotions. Dr. King took care … read more

Be Your Own Best Mentor in 2016

Be Your Own Best Mentor in 2016

Posted on Jan 7, 2016

In the world of education, January is self-mentoring month. We don’t know when this was created, but it sure gives us an opportunity to combat those winter doldrums and post-holiday blues by refocusing us inward. Whatever your holiday season was like: family-filled, active and away, a vacation, a ‘nowhere to go’ staycation, or reflective, solitary time spent counting the minutes until 2015 was over, it is now all behind you. Welcome to 2016 and a clean slate! Many of us wonder why we have a sense of let down or feel adrift after so much time away from our typical routines. It is natural to fall into a kind of blue period after all the excitement, stress, and whirlwind of time with friends and family has ceased. Perhaps, visitors have returned home or you have gone home and are feeling the tug of separation anew. Or, it might be the sadness that your days of relaxation and self-indulgence are over. For some, it is merely the realization that another year has come and gone and that there are still many miles to go before you reach that much-coveted goal. As the New Year begins, take time to self-mentor by gifting yourself with an opportunity to pause and reset. Here are a few things we suggest: Start with gratitude – after all, you made it to another season, which is no small matter! So, appreciate yourself: all you’ve accomplished in the last 365 days, and everything and everyone around you. Clean your psychological “attic” – reflect on which habits, activities, intentions you want to bring with you into the New Year and which ones to leave behind. Ask yourself, “Can I live without this?” or “What benefit does this offer?” Allow questions such as these to be your guides to what you keep, discard, or perhaps leave aside for consideration at another time. Consider adding something new and restorative to … read more

How to Create Safe Learning Environments

How to Create Safe Learning Environments

Posted on Dec 9, 2015

EducationWeek ~ December 9th, 2015 | A few weeks ago, a high school sophomore in South Carolina received national attention after being caught using her phone during math class. Social media was abuzz with outraged comments as the world witnessed on video a white male police officer flip the black female student in her desk and drag her to the front of the room. People were talking about how the student is yet another black victim of police brutality. People were talking about how she is a teenage girl who was assaulted by an adult male. People were talking about how this is yet another example of the mounting racial tensions in schools across the nation. We’d like to draw your attention to the classroom teacher. Over the past four years, our group, the Recognizing Excellence in Learning and Teaching Project, known as RELATE and funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, has taken an in-depth look at the most volatile of classrooms—those primarily serving students with emotional and behavioral disorders. These are the students least likely to graduate and most likely to enter the juvenile-justice system. Their teachers, we found, are also more likely to intervene on behalf of their students. Full Article … read more

GreatKids – Emotional Smarts

GreatKids – Emotional Smarts

Posted on Nov 18, 2015

“Children who develop the skills Emotional Intelligence are kinder, happier, healthier and more successful in life.” Belief in this statement lies at the heart of the recent collaboration between the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and GreatSchools, a nonprofit organization that provides parents with online ratings of over 200,000 schools and districts across the United States; reaching more than 50 million unique visitors in 2015 and accounting for over half of all U.S. Households with children, and nearly half of all U.S. based Kindergarten-12th grade teachers. Featured on GreatSchool’s GreatKid’s website, Emotional Smarts is a collection of tools designed to provide new parents and families with the resources necessary to help children develop emotional intelligence, and hone such vital life skills such as “resilience, confidence, gratitude, courage, empathy, and grit.” Through a series of video resources and other training materials, the “Emotional Smarts” initiative capitalizes on GreatSchool’s wide-reach, and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligences’ pioneering research on Emotional Intelligence to encourage families to understand both how and why Emotions Matter. For example, the Emotional Toolbox provides parents with recommendations for scientifically-based strategies and activities that can help them maneuver various parenting challenges that routinely erupt in households—related to discipline, friendships, sibling rivalry, and bullying. The Do You Feel Me section allows for families to explore universal human emotions together through the power of storytelling. In Caught Being Kind, hidden cameras reveal how students exposed to SEL techniques will interact with one another in spontaneous situations at school, without knowing they are being observed. Already, Emotional Smarts content has been pushed to 2 million GreatSchools.org visitors and newsletter subscribers, and has been promoted more than 18 million times through web, email, and social media outlets. In total, more than 350,000 unique visitors have engaged with the Emotional Smarts content on the GreatSchools.org website, 175,000 of which self-identify as parents. Most of the resources promoted on Emotional Smarts are based … read more

Talking to Students about the Paris Attacks

Talking to Students about the Paris Attacks

Posted on Nov 16, 2015

This past weekend, a series of terrorist attacks rocked Paris. As educators, we are all thinking about how to best to approach the subject of the Paris tragedy as our students start the school week, today.  Do we avoid the subject and shield them, especially those under five, from the discussion? Do we give them the basic facts to make sure they have accurate information on what occurred?  How do we allay their anxiety? How do we answer questions that we may not have the answers to and plague us as well. Questions like “Why did this happen.?” “Will this happen here now?” “Are we safe?” “Are our loved ones safe?”  Each of these questions brings up a lot of emotion  — for our students as well as for all of us. RULER classrooms have a ready tool for this conversation. We can use the Mood Meter to frame this difficult discussion and create a safe place to share for students to share their feelings and then harness the strength of the classroom community to identify coping skills and self-regulation strategies. First, use the Mood Meter to check-in with yourself.  How are YOU feeling about this tragic event? Where are you on the Mood Meter and what thoughts are going through your own head? Are you concerned that you use mass transportation getting to and from work and that frightens you? Are you anxious about your students asking question that you may not be able to answer? How will you help them deal with their anxiety when you can’t promise them they will be safe? This is an opportunity to check-in with yourself and get your own emotions under control before you begin a conversation with your students. We recommend identifying the strategies you use to regulate your ‘red’ emotions  –using these strategies will best prepare you for the conversation and serve as examples for your students. Some of … read more