Empathic Mediation in the Classroom
Our empathy-based programs help teachers and students examine their beliefs surrounding conflict in the classroom and co-create positive learning environments where they can openly discuss ideas, share experiences, and find solutions to common contextual problems.
Throughout our programs, the fundamental and recurring notion is that fully utilizing our bodies is the essential ingredient for learning and creatively leading our own lives.
Participants of all ages will learn to:
- Stay centered and connected during difficult conversations
- Establish healthy boundaries that promote a powerful inclusivity
- Learn to transform anger into life lessons
- Make requests that produce mutually beneficial results
- Take decisive actions that align with classroom values
- Identify and manage moods, self-organize, be self-motivated,
- Learn to give and receive support, appreciate diversity, cultivate community
Our training programs will benefit the school as a whole by:
- Bringing new skills to the student body that inspires involvement and investment.
- Identifying and shifting the communication that blocks connection, and transforming it into resources that deepen the experience of Community.
- Helping to align the school with its own vision of community, compassion and whole student participation
Developing a Centered Presence
Center is a state of unity in which effective action; emotional balance, mental alertness and spiritual vision are in harmonious balance. When were centered, our actions are coherent with all that we care about.
Our programs begin with the claim that learning is the ability to take actions that were previously unavailable to us. Next, we offer a new interpretation of the body that is fundamental to learning how to learn. To say we learn through our bodies and that learning is assessed by our ability to take new action is somewhat startling at first. Trained in the rationalistic tradition to value theoretical knowledge we’re predisposed to think of learning as something that happens in the mind. Because this model of education has historically produced tremendous advances in science and technology, it’s understandable that we consider learning to be about accumulating information. Developing a centered presence expands attention to your entire body. By remembering that your body is involved in every act of thinking, feeling and responding, you are empowering your inherent capacity to resist the pull of habit and access your true source of wisdom and power.
Working With Stress and Overwhelms
The amount of focus and responsibility put on students, teachers, and faculty for results and outcomes can be stressful, demanding and overwhelming. In all of our trainings we place an emphasis on creating a safe space to learn about ourselves, that honors diversity and grows trust. In challenging moments our bodies automatically contract around old emotional hurts and traumas. These deep and learned protection mechanisms have long guarded our precious selves. In these moments it becomes exceedingly difficult to be empathic because empathy is an expansive, physical state.
How can we transmit trust if our body says one thing and our words say another?
Reconnecting to the deeper currents below our reactions opens us to our own unique gifts to the world. It takes creative, deliberate, and inspired practice over time to transform old habits into such resources. Our programs emphasize ways of such deep practice.
It is hard to change something if you are unaware of it. It is important to become aware of 6 domains: thinking, feeling, linguistics, movement, posture, and attention. All are connected. What happens in one affects another. Working with them together speeds the process of changing habits. Individual and interactive evaluative processes help students become aware of their own cultural and historical reflexive and automatic behaviors. Choice enters where there was previously only unexamined reaction. This allows for more effective collaboration and cooperation. All this together unfolds a process where each student chooses deliberate practices that help him or her cultivate natural strengths and talents on the road to becoming whom it is they wish to become.
To that end the teaching/practices/exercises all contain the following three elements:
- A trained attention- We train our attention like we train a muscle to become stronger.
- A centered presence – We develop an expanded awareness of self and what is communicated beyond words
- Purposeful intrinsic motivation— we pay attention to what we are doing and why we are doing it.
Becoming Life Long Learners
LS programs offer a unique blend of mind/body practices to awaken empathic faculties for attuning word and action to the kind of deeper motivations that enliven relationships and livelihoods. Our approach supports the teacher as learner by focusing on specific skills and dispositions teachers need to stay balanced and centered to nurture themselves and their students. Teachers that are lifelong learners inspire students and associates to be accountable and do their best. Whole-self learning offers students the opportunity to craft a vision from what they care about.