Show cover of For Flourishing's Sake

For Flourishing's Sake

For Flourishing's Sake is a weekly 5-minute wellbeing boost for teachers and school leaders. It is a bite-size podcast that packs a mighty punch, giving you a weekly dose of inspiration, support and practical tools and ideas to enable you and your students to flourish, by supporting teacher and student wellbeing. For Flourishing's Sake - Helping you and your students flourish, in- and outside of school! Stock Media (music) provided by Lexfiles / Pond5

Tracks

S1 Ep54: Wellbeing or academic success…and can we teach kindness? - Book Launch Panel 4 Part 2
Welcome to Episode 54.  This is the last of the extended podcast episodes where you have had the opportunity to listen to the replays of the For Flourishing’s Sake book launch events. Today, I bring you the second half of the fourth and final panel discussion of the book launch extravaganza.  This panel was recorded live on 21st August, the day the paperback edition of For Flourishing’s Sake was published.  You can also watch all the video replays on the Book Launch Extravaganza page at forflourishingssake.com. The final panel was chaired by Andrew Cowley, author of The Wellbeing Toolkit and of the beautiful Foreword to my book. The panellists, alongside me, were: Paul Bateson, Teacher, Writer and PGCE Tutor at Huddersfield University (UK) Julie Goldstein, Principal at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (USA) Dan Morrow, CEO of the Woodland Academy Trust (UK) In this final book launch panel discussion, just as schools in the UK and the US were about to re-open for a new academic year in the midst of a pandemic, we pondered how important positive education is - more than ever. In this second half of the discussion, we discussed where the priorities should lie, between dealing with mental health and wellbeing in the context of Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement, or ensuring children “catch up” academically if they have fallen behind.  We also had a fascinating conversation about whether kindness can be taught, and if so, how, and ended the discussion by sharing each of our dreams for the future of education. You can watch back all the panel video recordings here.   Before I play back the panel discussion recording, I also need to let you know a bit of news.  Season one of this podcast has been a long season: 54 episodes without break and almost half of those episodes recorded and scheduled in the middle of a pandemic.  Therefore, the For Flourishing’s Sake podcast will now take a little break and it may come back in a different format, or with reduced frequency.  I do intend for it to come back, in whatever form, so do watch this space and as long as you’ve subscribed on your usual podcasting app, you’ll never miss an episode when it does come back! Now, here is today’s episode… ------------------------- Thank you for listening to the For Flourishing’s Sake podcast. If you have found this episode useful / interesting, please give it a five star rating on iTunes.  The podcast will be taking a little break now, but we will be back, so if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe on your usual podcasting site so you never miss an episode. The “For Flourishing’s Sake” book is available from all major online book retailers in most countries.  It’s jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. Have you got your copy yet? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future podcast episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, be safe, be well, and have a great week! Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
34:11 09/07/2020
S1 Ep53: Wellbeing or academic success…and can we teach kindness? - Book Launch Panel 4 Part 1
Welcome to Episode 53.  This is the penultimate of the extended podcast episodes where you have had the opportunity to listen to the replays of the For Flourishing’s Sake book launch events. Today, I bring you the first half of the fourth and final panel discussion of the book launch extravaganza.  This panel was recorded live on 21st August, the day the paperback edition of For Flourishing’s Sake was published.  You can also watch all the video replays on the Book Launch Extravaganza page at forflourishingssake.com. The final panel was chaired by Andrew Cowley, author of The Wellbeing Toolkit and of the beautiful Foreword to my book. The panellists, alongside me, were: Paul Bateson, Teacher, Writer and PGCE Tutor at Huddersfield University (UK) Julie Goldstein, Principal at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (USA) Dan Morrow, CEO of the Woodland Academy Trust (UK) In this final book launch panel discussion, just as schools in the UK and the US were about to re-open for a new academic year in the midst of a pandemic, we pondered how important positive education is - more than ever. In this first half of the discussion, we shared our definitions of positive education, discussed whether educating for character and wellbeing are the same thing, and whether they come at the expense of academic progress.  Finally, we shared our thoughts on and examples of whether Positive Education works anywhere, in any setting, with any age group. You can watch back all the panel video recordings here.   ------------------------- Thank you for listening to the For Flourishing’s Sake podcast. If you have found this episode useful / interesting, please give it a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on all the major podcasting sites The book is available at all major online book retailers in most countries.  It’s jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. Have you got your copy yet? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future podcast episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week! Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5  
31:18 08/31/2020
S1 Ep52: A whole school approach to education for good citizenship - Book Launch Panel 3 Part 2
Season 1, Episode 52 (24th August 2020) A whole school approach to education for good citizenship - Book Launch Panel 3 Part 2 Welcome to Episode 52. This is the sixth of the extended podcast episodes over the next few weeks, where you will be able to listen to the replays of the For Flourishing’s Sake book launch events. Today, I bring you the second half of the third panel discussion of the book launch extravaganza.  This panel was recorded live on 18th June, the day the Kindle edition of For Flourishing’s Sake was published.  The paperback was published on Friday 21st August and the fourth panel was aired that day live.  You will be able to listen back to it over the next two weeks, but if you can’t wait, head over to the Book Launch Extravaganza page to watch the replay! So, back to today’s replay of part two of panel 3.  I chaired the panel myself and the panellists were: Ian Flintoff, Positive Psychology-based Education Coach/Consultant/Trainer at Affirm Consulting (UK) Serdar Ferit, Co-CEO & Creative Director at Lyfta (Finland & UK) Katrina Mankani, Director of Positive Education, Sunmarke School and Regent International School (Dubai, UAE) Julie Goldstein, Principal at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (USA) In this second half of the panel discussion, the panellists shared their thoughts and experiences, with examples, of elements required for a whole school approach to positive education.  They particularly focused on the important role that staff training and leadership have to play. And finally, they shared how it feels when you get it right - when it goes well - and their hopes and dreams for the future of education. You can watch back all the panel video recordings here.   ------------------------- Thank you for listening to the For Flourishing’s Sake podcast. If you have found this episode useful / interesting, please give it a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on all the major podcasting sites The book is available at all major online book retailers in most countries.  It’s jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. Have you got your copy yet? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future podcast episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
32:48 08/24/2020
S1 Ep51: A whole school approach to education for good citizenship - Book Launch Panel 3 Part 1
Welcome to Episode 51. This is the fifth of the extended podcast episodes over the next few weeks, where you will be able to listen to the replays of the For Flourishing’s Sake book launch events. Today, I bring you the first half of the third panel discussion of the book launch extravaganza.  This panel was recorded live on 18th June, the day the Kindle edition of For Flourishing’s Sake was published.  The paperback will be published on Friday 21st August and the fourth panel will be going out live at 12.30pm UK time on the Happiness Speaker YouTube and Facebook pages and on my personal LinkedIn profile. Head over to the Book Launch Extravaganza page at forflourishingssake.com for full details of how to watch this event! So, back to today’s replay of part one of panel 3.  I chaired the panel myself and the panellists were: Ian Flintoff, Positive Psychology-based Education Coach/Consultant/Trainer at Affirm Consulting (UK) Serdar Ferit, Co-CEO & Creative Director at Lyfta (Finland & UK) Katrina Mankani, Director of Positive Education, Sunmarke School and Regent International School (Dubai, UAE) Julie Goldstein, Principal at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (USA) In this first half of the panel discussion, the panellists discussed their interpretation of positive education, character education and the role of wellbeing in education, particularly in relation to educating for good citizenship and promoting inclusion, diversity and social justice. You can watch back all the panel video recordings here.   ------------------------- If you have found this episode useful, please give it a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Deezer. The book, by the same name, came out on Kindle on 18th June and will be out on paperback on 21st August. You’ll find it on all major online book retailer sites.  It’s jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your Kindle copy now, or pre-order your paperback so you’ll receive it as soon as it’s published? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
38:22 08/17/2020
S1 Ep50: Practical Examples of Character and Positive Education - Book Launch Panel 2 Part 2
Welcome to Episode 50. This is the fourth of the extended podcast episodes over the next few weeks, where you will be able to listen to the replays of the For Flourishing’s Sake book launch events. Today, I bring you the second half of the second panel discussion of the book launch extravaganza.  This panel was recorded live on 18th June, the day the Kindle edition of For Flourishing’s Sake was published. I chaired the panel myself and the panellists were: Flora Barton, Headteacher, Crowmarsh Gifford Church of England Primary School Kelly Hannaghan, Mental Health and Wellbeing Consultant Patrick Ottley-O’Connor, Education Consultant, Leadership Coach and Headteacher.  Executive Principal at North Liverpool Academy. Rebecca Tigue, Head of School, University of Birmingham School In this second half of the panel discussion, the panellists discussed what their interpretation of a whole school approach to character and positive education is, then moved onto an interesting discussion about how we “catch” character and wellbeing behaviours, before moving on to a fascinating conversation about how we bring people on board that don’t understand what we’re trying to do. We closed the panel with each panellist sharing their hopes and dreams for the future of education. You can watch back all the panel video recordings here. The final panel discussion will take place on 21st August - the day of the For Flourishing’s Sake paperback publication - at 12.30pm BST. ------------------------- If you have found this episode useful, please give it a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Deezer. The book, by the same name, came out on Kindle on 18th June and will be out on paperback on 21st August. You’ll find it on all major online book retailer sites.  It’s jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your Kindle copy now, or pre-order your paperback so you’ll receive it as soon as it’s published? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
35:44 08/10/2020
S1 Ep49: Practical Examples of Character and Positive Education - Book Launch Panel 2 Part 1
Welcome to Episode 49. This is the third of the extended podcast episodes over the next few weeks, where you will be able to listen to the replays of the For Flourishing’s Sake book launch events. Today, I bring you the first half of the second panel discussion of the book launch extravaganza.  This panel was recorded live on 18th June, the day the Kindle edition of For Flourishing’s Sake was published. I chaired the panel myself and the panellists were: Flora Barton, Headteacher, Crowmarsh Gifford Church of England Primary School Kelly Hannaghan, Mental Health and Wellbeing Consultant Patrick Ottley-O’Connor, Education Consultant, Leadership Coach and Headteacher.  Executive Principal at North Liverpool Academy. Rebecca Tigue, Head of School, University of Birmingham School In this first half of the panel discussion, the panellists shared their definitions of positive education, character education or wellbeing in education, exploring also the different terminology used to describe many of our and their shared goals. They quickly moved on to some concrete examples of implementation in their schools, from specific staff wellbeing initiatives and their impacts, to whole school approaches and their effects on the entire school community, including parents. You can watch back all the panel video recordings here. The final panel discussion will take place on 21st August - the day of the For Flourishing’s Sake paperback publication - at 12.30pm BST. ------------------------- If you have found this episode useful, please give it a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Deezer. The book, by the same name, came out on Kindle on 18th June and will be out on paperback on 21st August. You’ll find it on all major online book retailer sites.  It’s jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your Kindle copy now, or pre-order your paperback so you’ll receive it as soon as it’s published? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
28:48 08/03/2020
S1 Ep48: The what and how of Positive Education - Book Launch Panel 1 Part 2
Welcome to Episode 48. This is the second of the extended podcast episodes over the next few weeks, where you will be able to listen to the replays of the For Flourishing’s Sake book launch events. Today, I bring you the second half of the first panel discussion of the book launch extravaganza.  This panel was recorded live on 18th June, the day the Kindle edition of For Flourishing’s Sake was published. The panel was chaired by Adele Bates, Education and Behaviour Specialist from the UK and featured the following panellists: Fabian de Fabiani, Assistant Headteacher at Townley Grammar School and Director of Character at the Odyssey Trust for Education.  Fabian is also a policy advisor for the UK Government’s schools inspection body in England, and a Keynote Speaker. Rebecca Comizio, School Psychologist at New Canaan Country School in Connecticut, USA. Rhiannon McGee, Head of Positive Education at Geelong Grammar School in Australia and Elke Paul, Positive Education Consultant, Professional Development Expert and Wellbeing Conference Organiser with IPEN.  Elke is based in Germany. In this second half of the panel discussion, the panellists continue to explore the ‘how’ of Positive Education.  Listen over the next half hour or so as they discuss the importance of putting teacher wellbeing first, and of having a shared language for wellbeing in schools.  Topics such as the role of Appreciative Inquiry processes and teacher-led Action Research are also touched upon to support empowering staff and creating lasting change. The issue of cost is also discussed, and finally the panellists address the role of Positive Education in the context of Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement. You can watch back all the panel video recordings here. The final panel discussion will take place on 21st August - the day of the For Flourishing’s Sake paperback publication - at 12.30pm BST. ------------------------- If you have found this episode useful, please give it a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Deezer. The book, by the same name, came out on Kindle on 18th June and will be out on paperback on 21st August. You’ll find it on all major online book retailer sites.  It’s jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your Kindle copy now, or pre-order your paperback so you’ll receive it as soon as it’s published? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
30:25 07/27/2020
S1 Ep47: The what and how of Positive Education - Book Launch Panel 1 Part 1
Welcome to Episode 47. Looking at the countries where most listeners to this podcast are from, I think most of you are now on a well-earned, much-needed summer holiday break.  With that in mind, over the coming weeks, I am bringing you some extended podcast episodes, where you will be able to listen to the replays of the For Flourishing’s Sake book launch events. Today, I bring you the first half of the first panel discussion of the book launch extravaganza.  This panel was recorded live on 18th June, the day the Kindle edition of For Flourishing’s Sake was published. The panel was chaired by Adele Bates, Education and Behaviour Specialist from the UK and featured the following panellists: Fabian de Fabiani, Assistant Headteacher at Townley Grammar School and Director of Character at the Odyssey Trust for Education.  Fabian is also a policy advisor for the UK Government’s schools inspection body in England, and a Keynote Speaker. Rebecca Comizio, School Psychologist at New Canaan Country School in Connecticut, USA. Rhiannon McGee, Head of Positive Education at Geelong Grammar School in Australia and Elke Paul, Positive Education Consultant, Professional Development Expert and Wellbeing Conference Organiser with IPEN.  Elke is based in Germany. In the first half of this panel discussion, they begin to address the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of Positive Education.  They share their thoughts on what Positive and Character Education are, give tangible, practical examples of implementation in their schools and share tips on how to instigate culture change and embed these approaches to education. I have cut out my introduction to the panel discussion and gone straight to Adele as she introduces herself and the panel. You can watch back all the panel video recordings here. The final panel discussion will take place on 21st August - the day of the For Flourishing’s Sake paperback publication - at 12.30pm BST. ------------------------- If you have found this episode useful, please give it a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Deezer. The book, by the same name, came out on Kindle on 18th June and will be out on paperback on 21st August. You’ll find it on all major online book retailer sites.  It’s jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your Kindle copy now, or pre-order your paperback so you’ll receive it as soon as it’s published? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
35:47 07/20/2020
S1 Ep46: Positive Education - from individual happiness to the greater good
Welcome to Episode 46. As I write and record this week’s episode and think about the phrase “the greater good” in the title, I can’t help being momentarily distracted and chuckling to myself.  If you’ve seen the dark comedy film Hot Fuzz, you’ll know what I mean.  If not…I recommend it, and until you’ve watched it, just ignore me laughing to myself for a moment as I remember how the phrase “the greater good” (spoiler alert!) was used in the film! My inspiration for today’s topic, however, comes from reading two articles recently that talked quite negatively about the origins of Positive Psychology as a pretty selfish endeavour focused purely on individual wellbeing. In her article for The Conversation, researcher Emma Anderson describes two views of happiness - one focusing on strong societal bonds and interdependence leading to state welfare provisions, and another, which she has found in her research to be more common, being an individualistic view of “working on one’s happiness”.  Emma cites growing criticisms of Positive Psychology, which seems to negate social injustices, poverty, exploitation etc and essentially blame the victims because they’re not putting in the effort to be happy. I get this.  My very first essay for my Masters in Applied Positive Psychology was about the criticisms of this field and there is some validity in accusing Positive Psychology of elitism, though I would also argue that even from its inception, the proponents of Positive Psychology such as Martin Seligman talked about societal flourishing, so perhaps the issue has been more in interpretation than design.  That said, the second article related to this criticism that I’ve read in the last week was a research paper by Michael Hogan, published very recently, in May this year. In this paper, he cites the models of what’s known as “second wave Positive Psychology”, in which there is much more focus on collaboration towards collective wellbeing, and where negative emotions such as anger and sadness can drive societal transformation.  Emma Anderson’s article does, in fact, end with an expression of hope that, as we return to some kind of normality, we also retain our “renewed sense of community and activism” and that our “more outward-looking version of wellbeing continues and thrives”. I hope that, too, and I firmly believe that schools and our education system as a whole have a large role to play in this. When I developed my “LeAF - Learn and Flourish” (1) model of whole school positive education, I looked at many models around the world and the most comprehensive ones included elements of schools supporting their local communities and encouraging good citizenship in their students.  Character Education, which forms a significant element of Positive Education, also encourages the development of strengths and virtues that make us far more focused on the collective greater good than merely on ourselves.  Collaboration features highly in my model of whole school Positive Education as stakeholder engagement at every level is essential for such an approach to be truly comprehensive and effective. I know that, for my part, and all the people I have worked and studied with in the field of Positive Psychology, this field has never been about a selfish drive for hedonistic happiness, but rather a focus on eudaimonia, which has much broader societal connotations. As individuals, we have limited control and influence over national policy, though of course those of us lucky enough to have a democratic voice through voting in elections have some level of influence that way.  Additionally we have seen, particularly recently, the power of peaceful protest. But as educators, we have a huge opportunity to shape a better, more collaborative and altruistic world. We can start by creating schools where these values are strong. We can demonstrate these values in our interactions with our colleagues, our students, their parents and the wider community.  We can ensure our schools’ policies foster these values and that these are reflected in those schools’ cultures. In my book, For Flourishing’s Sake, I give plenty of examples of how teachers and school leaders have done this in a wide range of educational settings.  It can be done, and if we start in schools, we’re laying the foundations for the future.  So as you plan for the next academic year, or as you go to work in school today if your school is currently open, consider the small steps you can take as an individual to support a more collaborative and supportive culture within your school. It can start with something as simple as a smile and a small act of kindness. What seed will you plant today for a flourishing tomorrow?   ------------------------- If you have found this episode useful, please give it a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Deezer. The book, by the same name, came out on Kindle on 18th June and will be out on paperback on 21st August. You’ll find it on all major online book retailer sites.  It’s jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your Kindle copy now, or pre-order your paperback so you’ll receive it as soon as it’s published? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week! References Roberts, F. (2019) LeAF: The Learn and Flourish Model and Self-Evaluation Framework for Whole School Positive Education. Unpublished manuscript, Anglia Ruskin University.   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
06:47 07/13/2020
S1 Ep45: Flourishing Despite Fear
Welcome to Episode 45. Nearly four months after the UK - where I live - went into lockdown due to Covid-19, and as last week more businesses, such as hairdressers and pubs, have been allowed to re-open and plans for the full re-opening of schools in September were announced, my levels of fear are higher than ever.  Higher, even, than when a global pandemic was declared and I realised this was serious. As more people resume their previous routines with some semblance of normality, I feel less in control of my own and my family’s safety on the rare occasions we need to venture into public enclosed spaces, such as shops and pharmacies, for essentials.  This fear, I know, is not something I am unique in experiencing, though everyone experiences it uniquely and at different levels. Fear is a powerful emotion.  It is one of the six basic emotions identified by Ekman in 1999 (1). It is an essential emotion as, without it, we would struggle to stay alive. We need fear to alert us to danger and elicit the so-called ‘fight or flight’ response. It can also, quite commonly, cause a ‘freeze’ response, where we are incapable of doing anything. I am not a virologist or epidemiologist, so I am not going to dispense advice or opinion in this podcast on what we should each be doing with regard to Covid-19.  This is also not the place for political debate.  I would like to, however, share some of the ways you can deal with your own levels of fear so it does not become debilitating to the point where you cannot do your job or look after yourself or your loved ones.  One way or another, we need to be able to continue to function, despite the current situation, despite the fear.  This is something I’ve been working at increasingly hard for some time now and perhaps you have, too.  I’d like to offer you some positive psychology tools to help, for you and your children, so you can not only continue to function, but thrive and flourish, despite the fear. In episodes 25 and 26 I mentioned the work of Barbara Fredrickson on positive emotions (2). According to her ‘broaden and build theory of positive emotions’, if we experience more positive than negative emotions, we can experience improved relationships, perceive and grab more opportunities, achieve more success in our personal and professional lives, and have more fun. We can experience ‘upward spirals of positive emotions’, where as a result of experiencing the ‘broaden and build’ benefits of positive emotions, we experience even more positive emotions, leading to more benefits, and so on.  Fear, of course, can be a positive emotion - think about the thrill of a fairground ride or a gripping thriller, for example (though of course those are not enjoyable thrills for everyone!). But in the context I started this episode with, of the global pandemic we are living with, for those of us that experience fear, we are experiencing it as a negative emotion. Positive psychology does not advocate eliminating negative emotions.  All emotions are valid and serve a purpose. But we can improve our lives by not letting those emotions take over and generating more positive emotions for ourselves to counteract the effects of those negative emotions. All of the interventions and activities I have mentioned in past episodes do this to some extent. Last week, I suggested self-kindness bingo, for example, as a way to do activities you enjoy for 30 days.  Last year, in episode 9, I shared the importance of gratitude for wellbeing. In other episodes we have explored savouring, curiosity, and a whole host of other wellbeing activities. So my message in this episode is a simple one: Explore wellbeing activities that will boost your positive emotions. Make a list of as many of these as possible that you can do within whatever level of risk you are prepared to take and is allowed where you live with current restrictions in place. And ensure you do as many of these activities every day, every week, as possible.  These won’t make the fear go away, but they will reduce the impact of the fear on your wellbeing by bombarding you with feel-good hormones and allowing you to experience all the benefits Barbara Fredrickson talks about. ------------------------- If you have found this episode useful, please give it a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Deezer. The book, by the same name, came out on Kindle on 18th June and will be out on paperback on 21st August. You’ll find it on all major online book retailer sites.  It’s jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your Kindle copy now, or pre-order your paperback so you’ll receive it as soon as it’s published? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week! References (1) Ekman, P. (1999) ‘Basic Emotions’, in Dalgleish, T. and Power, M. (eds) Handbook of Cognition and Emotion. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Ltd., pp. 45–60. (2) Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The Role of Positive Emotions in Positive Psychology: The Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions. The American Psychologist, 56(3), 218–226. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066x.56.3.218   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
06:24 07/06/2020
S1 Ep44: Self-Kindness Bingo
Welcome to Episode 44. If you’re anything like me and the many friends and family I regularly talk to and see updates from on social media, you are bound to have ups and downs, and particularly get days when you are thoroughly fed up with the current Covid-19 situation, whatever lockdown restrictions are in place where you are.  After months of living with this pandemic, we are all coming to the realisation that life as we knew it won’t exist for quite some time and may, in fact, never quite return to what it was before.  Of course there are some positives to be found in that, but we’re also experiencing a sense of loss, of grief, and of frustration.  Personally, I get hit by waves of sadness and nostalgia when I remember a band I’ve seen live, or a band I’ve always wanted to see and haven’t managed to yet, or think about theatre and musical performances I had booked to go and see, and I weep for the impact on our wider cultural and social experiences that the pandemic is having as theatres and artists are struggling to stay afloat. So if you’re having some hard days when everything just seems unbearably sad, you’re not alone.  I think most of us are going through some form of grief at the moment.  But it is important for our mental health and wellbeing that we give ourselves every opportunity to move beyond those moments and to still enjoy all that life has to offer, and there is plenty of that! Today, therefore, I’d like to share an activity with you that I mentioned in my first book, Recipe for Happiness, and based an entire worldwide project on for International Day of Happiness a few years ago.  The activity centres around sprinkling your life with ‘Little Happiness Ingredients”, doing things you enjoy.  Doing things you enjoy is also recommended as a wellbeing activity by the UK’s NHS - the National Health Service. In mine and Elizabeth Wright’s book, Character Toolkit for Teachers, we developed this activity a bit further into a self-kindness activity, which we called “Self-Kindness Bingo”. You can do this for yourself and of course you can ask your own children, or the children you work with, to do this.  Draw yourself a grid with 30 boxes, then write an activity that you enjoy doing (and that you can do with whatever restrictions are in place where you are) into each box. Be as creative as you can - take your time to think of activities that will really boost your mood.  Some could be really quick activities and others more time-consuming.  Bring in some variety.  Some may be solitary, like reading a few pages of a good book, while others may involve other people, such as a socially-distanced or virtual chat with a friend. Once you have completed your grid, display it somewhere prominent so you won’t forget about it, and make sure you do at least one activity per day.  You can, of course, do more than one activity in a day, in which case you’ll run out of activities in under a month, but that’s ok - just create a new grid!  You could even introduce an element of competition with friends and family members and see who completes their “Self-Kindness Bingo” grid first! You’ll find links to the Little Happiness Ingredients Project, to both books and to the NHS article I mentioned on this episode’s page at forflourishingssake.com I hope you will try this activity out and, as always, do get in touch and let me know how you and your children get on with it!   ------------------------- If you have found this episode useful, please give it a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Deezer. The book, by the same name, came out on Kindle on 18th June and will be out on paperback on 21st August. You’ll find it on all major online book retailer sites.  It’s jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your Kindle copy now, or pre-order your paperback so you’ll receive it as soon as it’s published? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
05:36 06/29/2020
S1 Ep43: Sounds great but we can't afford it
Welcome to Episode 43. Wow, this has been quite a week!  Three of the Four panels on the “For Flourishing’s Sake” Virtual Book Launch Extravaganza happened on Thursday, the day the book launched in Kindle format.  The final panel will take place on 21st August, when the paperback comes out. One of the issues we talked about in one of the panel discussions was cost.  Too often, I hear the cost argument: “Oh, well that sounds great, but we just don’t have the budget”.  I am sure that, as someone who listens to this podcast and is therefore interested in promoting the flourishing of everyone within your school community and as an ardent advocate of Positive and Character Education (or whatever you may call it in your school) you have heard these objections over the years, too. It is true that much of Positive Education has sprung from prestigious independent schools such as Geelong Grammar School in Australia and Wellington College in the UK. But as Fabian de Fabiani - Director of Character Education and Wellbeing at the Odyssey Trust for Education and Assistant Headteacher at Townley Grammar School - said to me when I interviewed him for the book: “If the independent sector has been doing this for the last 20-30 years, why can’t the state sector do it?” At Townley Grammar School, a state-funded selective secondary school just outside London, where costs are very high but the school’s budget does not get the inner London uplift, they developed their Character Education programme and policies around the belief that everyone has a fundamental right to social mobility and discovering their purpose.  They then introduced the same principles, adapted to the different environment, to Erith School, which they renamed King Henry School, as they formed the Odyssey Trust for Education.  As Fabian explained when I interviewed him for the book and in the first of last week’s book launch panels, it is about where your priorities lie, and about being good at collaborating with others and spending your money wisely. Patrick Ottley-O’Connor - Education Consultant, Leadership Coach and Headteacher & Executive Principal, North Liverpool Academy - explained that you can find cost savings in other areas and that staff will accept these if you bring them on board and they understand why certain costs have to be cut, especially if they know you will then re-invest them into structures and systems that will improve well-being.  He gives a great example of this in the book…you’ll have to read it for yourself though, I wouldn’t want to spoil your reading enjoyment! 😉 Cost savings can actually be achieved directly from wellbeing initiatives, as Dan Morrow - CEO of the Woodland Academy Trust - explains in the book.  When he joined the Trust, they had been losing around 40% of staff per year, which is at the top end of the normal range of staff attrition for schools in the UK).  A year later, this had dropped to 4%.  The trust saved over £100,000 in recruitment costs alone last year! In the book, he explains some of the simple initiatives he has introduced to improve the wellbeing of staff and students in his schools.  I am sure he will talk about some of these in the panel discussion on 21st August as well. Details of this will be posted virtual book launch extravaganza webpage nearer the time. So, putting wellbeing at the heart of education doesn’t have to cost the earth, and it may even save vast sums of money in recruitment and retention, not to mention the costs related to sickness absence, especially as a high proportion of sickness absence is related to mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and depression. I hope this episode has given you some ammunition when you hear those objections from colleagues or education leaders about Positive Education being too expensive. And I’d like to leave you with a final thought from Patrick Ottley-O’Connor.  When he talked to me about his school as a “loving, caring community”, he added: “The way we speak to each other doesn’t cost a penny”. Positive Education is not just about new initiatives and programmes.  So much of it hinges on strong, determined leadership and creating an ethos for wellbeing in the school.  And that starts with the way you talk to your colleagues and your students, and the way you look after each other as a community. ------------------------- If you have found this episode useful, please give it a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Deezer. The book, by the same name, came out on Kindle on 18th June and will be out on paperback on 21st August. You’ll find it on all major online book retailer sites.  It’s jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your Kindle copy now, or pre-order your paperback so you’ll receive it as soon as it’s published? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
06:24 06/22/2020
S1 Ep42: Taking a whole school approach to positive education
Welcome to Episode 42. The day has finally come when I can say “For Flourishing’s Sake, the BOOK, is out this week!” Yay!!! So in today’s episode, I will focus on the overarching theme of the book, which is to use a whole school approach to positive education to support character development and well-being.  But first, I’ll briefly tell you about the exciting virtual launch events happening on Thursday 18th June, as these are an opportunity for you to hear directly from many of the amazing educators that have contributed their case studies, stories and experiences to the book.  For Flourishing’s Sake is being published on two dates - the first publication is of the e-book, on Thursday.  The second is the publication of the paperback on 21st August.  So, given we can’t have a physical book launch, we are having a... Virtual Book Launch Extravaganza: 2 dates 4 virtual panels 16 panellists 2 panel chairs 1 author On Thursday 18th June, we are holding three live panels: At 12.30pm UK time, the panel will be chaired by Adele Bates - Behaviour and Education Specialist - and the panellists will be: Rhiannon McGee from Geelong Grammar School in Australia, Julie Goldstein from Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy in Connecticut, USA, Elke Paul - Positive Education Consultant from Germany, and Fabian de Fabiani -Assistant Headteacher at Townley Grammar School and Director of Character at the Odyssey Trust for Education in the UK. At 5pm UK time we have an all-UK panel from a wide range of schools: Andrew Cowley - author of The Wellbeing Toolkit and Deputy Headteacher of a primary school in South London - will be chairing.  The panellists will be: Rebecca Tigue - Head of School at the University of Birmingham School, Kelly Hannaghan - Mental Health and Wellbeing Consultant, Patrick Ottley-O’Connor - Education Consultant, Leadership Coach and Executive Principal at North Liverpool Academy, and Flora Barton - Headteacher at Crowmarsh Gifford Church of England Primary School. At 7pm UK time, we go international again. Chaired by Andrew Cowley, the panel will feature: Ian Flintoff - a UK-based Positive Psychology-based Education Coach, Consultant and Trainer; Serdar Ferit - the Co-CEO of Lyfta, based in Finand and the UK; Katrina Mankani - Director of Positive Education at Sunmarke School and Regent International School in Dubai; and Rebecca Comizio - School Psychologist at New Canaan Country School in Connecticut, USA. On Friday 21st August - I’ll remind you nearer the time, too! - we have our final live panel at 12.30pm UK time, chaired by Andrew Cowley and featuring the following UK-based panellists: Paul Bateson - teacher, writer and theatre maker, as well as PGCE tutor; Anni Poole - Director of HLS Impact Coaching; Dan Morrow - CEO of the Woodland Academy Trust; and Adele Bates - Behaviour and Education Specialist. Full details of the panels and speakers, and how to watch and participate with questions and comments, will be posted on the @FlourishingED twitter account and here on the www.forflourishingssake.com podcast website.   I hope you’ll be able to join us and watch one or more of these panels where we’ll be discussing many issues and examples around whole school positive education. If you can’t join us live, all the panels will remain online for you to watch at a later date. So, let’s move onto the content of today’s episode. Positive Education, according to IPEN (the International Positive Education Network), is the combination of educating for character and well-being, and for academic achievement. The whole school approach to Positive Education aims to incorporate this ethos of education into every aspect of a school’s activities, from its ethos and climate, its policies, and its leadership, to the physical environment, the training of teachers - from their trainee days to continued professional development, to the provision of character and well-being lessons, to the integration of well-being and character into other subject lessons, to role-modelling of character strengths and well-being behaviours by staff, to how the school interacts with and supports its local community, to how it communicates with all its stakeholders, including parents, and so much more.  Having written, literally, an entire book on this and knowing that, even so, each chapter is merely a starting point to give you, the reader, some ideas, inspiration and examples of each aspect of whole school Positive Education in practice, I am clearly not going to be able to cover it all in one brief podcast episode. What I would like to do today is to invite you to think and consider how you can still take a whole school approach to positive education even as schools look nothing like they did a few months ago.  More than ever, I am hearing teachers, school leaders and parents telling me how important well-being is.  The current crisis has impacted on the mental well-being of everyone in school communities in some way and the challenges are many.  As you revisit all your systems, policies and procedures to create physically safe - or as safe as possible - environments for your staff and students, there is not only an opportunity but an absolutely dire need to also consider mental health as part of the measures you take. I don’t purport to have all the answers, far from it, but I know that if we work together with the intention to support the flourishing of everyone in education, we can do this.  Coronavirus is not going away anytime soon, so our ‘new normal’ has to come from a whole school Positive Education perspective, even if this looks different than it would have done just a few months ago.  You don’t have to do everything at once, and you don’t have to get everything right first time.  The important thing is not to forget the character and well-being aspects of education as we focus on academic catch-up and attainment and physical safety.  Are you with me? Are you up for the challenge? All my contact details are coming up at the end of this episode if you’d like to get in touch and discuss how to bring a whole school approach to Positive Education into your school.  Let’s do this, together.  Let’s support the flourishing of children and adults in education, regardless of the circumstances. … If you have found this episode useful, please give the podcast a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Deezer. The book, by the same name, is coming out on Kindle on 18th June and on paperback on 21st August. It’s available to pre-order from major online book retailers and is jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your copy now, so you will receive it as soon as it’s published? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5  
08:55 06/15/2020
S1 Ep41: Cherish the learning
Welcome to Episode 41.  Today’s topic centres around the character strength known as ‘love of learning’. If ‘love of learning’ is one of your signature strengths, you’re likely to be someone who enjoys learning for its own sake. This goes beyond curiosity, where you might be interested in finding out why or how something works in a certain way, to find out facts or information about something, whereas ‘love of learning’ is a deeper thirst for the process of learning rather than for the answers themselves. According to the VIA, “Where curiosity is often associated with a great deal of energy and a drive to gather information, the lover of learning is often more contemplative… It has important motivational consequences because it helps people persist through challenges, setbacks and negative feedback”. Given our current situation, anything that can improve our ability to persist through challenges and setbacks is likely to be helpful, so tapping into our strength of ‘love of learning’ at this time can be a useful endeavour. It may be that this is a signature strength of yours, or one that you would like to work some more on. There are a number of ways you can explore this, from joining a book club (there are many virtual ones around) to learning a few new words every day, to trying out new recipes in the kitchen.  The VIA website also has a few suggestions, but let your imagination run wild and come up with your own ideas of how you can explore this strength further.  Set yourself little challenges and jot down your thoughts as you go along to keep a record of whether you are enjoying certain learning experiences and types of learning more than others, and why, what you have learnt, how you feel when you are learning something new, how you are handling daily challenges as your ‘love of learning’ exploration develops and so on. Think also about your everyday life as a teacher and your CPD.  Granted, in the current climate, thinking about formal professional development or planning to attend any courses may be the furthest thing from your mind, but I’d invite you to look at this differently.  You are in a unique situation none of us have experienced before, and you are having to adapt at a phenomenal rate.  Chances are, you are learning things about epidemiology and public health, about politics, and about yourself and the people around you every day.  You are learning new ways to teach, new ways to interact, new ways to live. You are developing new professional and personal knowledge every day.  My suggestion is this: Whilst all these adaptations can be incredibly stressful to go through, is there something positive you can draw out of this in terms of your professional development journey?  Is there a way you can formalise what you’re learning so it forms part of your on-going CPD record? You may wish to discuss this with your head of department or head of year, or whoever your line manager is at school.  Can you use what you are learning as a springboard to delve into further learning and do this as part of your CPD?  After all, learning isn’t just about going on courses.  It happens every day!  Why not keep a record of what you’re learning and think of ways you can apply it across different aspects of your teaching career, beyond the current crisis? It may be that you are learning something new about supporting children or colleagues through a crisis situation, or about how to have meaningful communication despite social distancing, or that you have become a bit of a Zoom guru and would like to delve further into virtual teaching models. Whatever you are learning, whatever has piqued your interest, you have an opportunity to delve further.  Indulge your ‘love of learning’ and grab this opportunity with both hands! … If you have found this episode useful, please give the podcast a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Deezer. The book, by the same name, is coming out on Kindle on 18th June and on paperback on 21st August. It’s available to pre-order from major online book retailers and is jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your copy now, so you will receive it as soon as it’s published? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week! Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5  
05:44 06/08/2020
S1 Ep40: We need strong leadership (more than ever)
Welcome to Episode 40.  This is a very exciting day as it’s the first day of the month in which my book, For Flourishing’s Sake, will be published.  Due to disruption caused by Covid-19, the book will be published twice, which means two opportunities to celebrate!  The Kindle version is coming out on 18th June and the paperback will be out a bit later this summer, on 21st August. So today, I thought I would talk about one of the themes from the book that I feel is particularly relevant to the challenges we are all living through: Leadership. According to the VIA Institute on Character, the character strength of leadership can be split into the distinct areas of ‘practice’ and ‘personal quality’.  As a practice, this is what we do that makes us leaders, by “defining, establishing, identifying or translating direction” and as a personal quality, it’s our desire and ability to aim for, accede to and ultimately carry out leadership roles.  The VIA further distinguish between ‘transactional leaders’ and ‘transformational leaders’.  We need both, of course, but in the book I focused mainly on transformational leadership. Anyone can be a leader.  Paul Bateson is one of the teachers I interviewed for my book.  He is a shining example of committed leadership from someone not in a leadership position.  When he decided to launch a kindness initiative in his school, the ripples spread far and wide.  He fired up the imaginations of his students, who took ownership of the initiative, and brought most of the staff on board.  He did this despite a leadership team who, whilst ‘putting up no resistance’, did not facilitate what he was doing or make any moves towards adopting a whole school approach.  (Roberts, F. “For Flourishing’s Sake”, Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2020) What can we learn from Paul Bateson? In the UK, some schools are “re-opening” this week - I’m putting this in inverted commas as schools here haven’t actually been closed.  Children of key workers, along with the most vulnerable children, have still been going to school, as have many teachers. But this week, more children will return to school.  In other countries, children have been back at school for a little while. But school is not what those children and their teachers were used to. We are all having to adapt to teaching, learning and interacting differently for the foreseeable future.  Teachers and school leaders, and in fact all staff working in schools, can follow Paul’s example.  In his case, he led a kindness initiative; kindness would be a great place to start to help each other cope with the challenges we’re all facing.  Tempers are likely to be a bit more frayed than usual, so we can all focus on leading through showing patience and understanding towards others, taking a moment to respond if we think our answers may come out a bit ‘snappy’, or accepting that others may be a little less friendly towards us as it may just be their way of handling the situation. Children can be leaders, too.  When I interviewed Jo Owens, Director of Ethical Leadership at Lichfield Cathedral School, she told me that at her school, the junior school have ‘red caps’ - year 4 pupils who look out for other children who don’t have anyone to play with during break times and engage them in games. This is harder to do when children need to be in bubbles and observe strict distancing rules, of course, but particularly when things are so unsettling, giving even very young children small positions of leadership and responsibility can divert their focus away from their fears and allow them to feel useful.  And let’s not forget that helping others is a great way to support wellbeing, so when children have the opportunity to help out in school, this will support their own wellbeing. So spend a few moments to think about the different ways you can be a transformational leader; a leader who, according to the VIA, “motivates their followers to perform at an extremely high level, fostering a climate of trust and commitment to the organisation and its goals”.  Perhaps set yourself a challenge to identify people who have inspired you in this way, and make a list of what qualities they display, and how they behave, in order to be such transformational leaders.  Whilst still being you, can you emulate any of those qualities and behaviours? What can you learn from great leaders you have followed? And think about which children are showing this leadership quality and can be encouraged to lead their peers.  I know from working in many schools over the years that there are ample examples of such leadership to be found in school staff and pupils.  Let’s nurture these leadership qualities so that we can all weather this storm with a little more ease, together. … If you have found this episode useful, please give the podcast a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Deezer. The book, by the same name, is coming out on Kindle on 18th June and on paperback on 21st August. It’s available to pre-order from major online book retailers and is jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your copy now, so you will receive it as soon as it’s published? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5  
06:39 06/01/2020
S1 Ep39: Connection through remote teaching and social distancing
Maintaining and developing connection through remote teaching and social distancing Welcome to Episode 39. Many teachers and school leaders are wondering increasingly how to maintain a sense of connection and build, develop and maintain positive relationships with pupils and with colleagues; first of all through remote teaching / remote working, but then also as more and more children are starting to return into classrooms in a very different environment to what we’re all used to around the world, how to maintain, grow, develop those relationships and that sense of connection, when you are having to socially distance groups of children, groups of staff, etc, and teach in a way that is very alien to us in the modern world. So, on Wednesday, in my Educate to Flourish #WellbeingWednesdayLive session on YouTube, I did a half hour webinar on this very topic, and in that topic, I shared the importance of positive relationships and connection to our physical and mental wellbeing and even to how long we live, so this stuff really does matter.  But I also shared five suggestions of ways that you could work on strengthening those relationships and those bonds, even under the most awkward circumstances that we’re in at the moment.  And in today’s podcast, I’m just going to play you a little snippet of that, where I’m sharing two of those particular bits of advice that I shared with you, but if you do want to hear the entire half hour webinar, click here. … If you have found this episode useful, please give the podcast a five star rating on iTunes to help it reach more people and please spread the word. Also, if you haven’t already, remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For Flourishing’s Sake is available on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Deezer. The book, by the same name, is coming out on Kindle on 18th June and on paperback on 21st August. It’s available to pre-order from major online book retailers and is jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your copy now, so you will receive it as soon as it’s published? If you’d like to get in touch with questions or comments, or to contribute to a future episode, please contact me via Twitter at @FlourishingED.  You can also leave comments on individual episode pages right here at www.forflourishingssake.com (see bottom of this page). I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
07:11 05/25/2020
S1 Ep38: Covid19 MH&WB Panel - Caren Baruch-Feldman - Accept the Suck
On 24th March I hosted a virtual mental health and wellbeing panel on YouTube with a group of fantastic guest panelists: Dr Caren Baruch-Feldman: Cognitive Behavioural Psychologist, School & Camp Psychologist Adele Bates: Behaviour & Education Specialist.  Adele was also featured on this podcast in November 2019. Kelly Hannaghan: Wellbeing Consultant, Public Speaker & Author.  Kelly has also been a contributor to this podcast, in October 2019. Anna Harrington: Specialist Public Health Nurse, Occupational Health Kate McAllister: Teacher, Trainer, Speaker, Writer, Thinker, Wellness Nerd You can watch back the entire #Covid19MHWBpanel on YouTube, of course, but if you'd rather get a few bitesized nuggets, I'll share some of the best bits over the coming weeks. Today's bitesized snippet comes from Dr Caren Baruch-Feldman.  In this excerpt, she makes a clear and concise point about where we need to start from before we can problem-solve and move forward. You can follow Caren on Twitter:  @CarenFeldman   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
04:32 05/18/2020
S1 Ep37: Fabian de Fabiani - Recovery curriculum and the importance of focusing on character and wellbeing
Welcome to Episode 37.  Today, I am delighted to bring you another special guest: Fabian de Fabiani. Fabian is an Assistant Headteacher and Director of Character Education. His work was highly commended by the DfE and he has advised Ofsted on the new inspection framework. Fabian works for Townley Grammar School - an outstanding secondary school in S. London, part of the Odyssey Trust for Education. He tweets at @FdeFab Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
10:46 05/11/2020
S1 Ep36: Anni Poole - Deconstructing Scary Thoughts
Over the past couple of weeks, I've brought you snippets of the recent virtual Mental Health and Wellbeing Panel, and I will bring you more of those in the weeks to come.  Today, though, I am delighted to bring you another special guest: Anni Silverdale Poole.  Anni is a transformative coach , global speaker and author with 25 years of leading and consulting in UK schools. Anni believes that a healthy thriving school culture lends clarity and time for teachers and brings understanding for governors. She specialises in whole school wellbeing and is the author of Simply Being You, a book written for teachers, carers, teenagers and adults.  She is a founder member of 3PTrue North UK, a community network and Vision for MHWB and is passionate about Mental Wealth and equal chances in schools everywhere. Anni can be found at www.hlsgroup.net and tweets @AnniPoole   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
08:15 05/04/2020
S1 Ep35: Kelly Hannaghan - Covid19 MHWB Panel - Supporting Older Teens
  On 24th March I hosted a virtual mental health and wellbeing panel on YouTube with a group of fantastic guest panelists: Dr Caren Baruch-Feldman: Cognitive Behavioural Psychologist, School & Camp Psychologist Adele Bates: Behaviour & Education Specialist.  Adele was also featured on this podcast in November 2019. Kelly Hannaghan: Wellbeing Consultant, Public Speaker & Author.  Kelly has also been a contributor to this podcast, in October 2019. Anna Harrington: Specialist Public Health Nurse, Occupational Health Kate McAllister: Teacher, Trainer, Speaker, Writer, Thinker, Wellness Nerd You can watch back the entire #Covid19MHWBpanel on YouTube, of course, but if you'd rather get a few bitesized nuggets, I'll share some of the best bits over the coming weeks. Today's bitesized snippet comes from Kelly Hannaghan.  In this excerpt, she explains how we can support older teenagers, and particularly boys who often find it most difficult to talk about their feelings. You can follow Kelly on Twitter: @mindworkmatters   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5  
05:01 04/27/2020
S1 Ep34: Covid-19 MH & WB Panel - Kate McAllister
On 24th March I hosted a virtual mental health and wellbeing panel on YouTube with a group of fantastic guest panelists: Dr Caren Baruch-Feldman: Cognitive Behavioural Psychologist, School & Camp Psychologist Adele Bates: Behaviour & Education Specialist.  Adele was also featured on this podcast in November 2019. Kelly Hannaghan: Wellbeing Consultant, Public Speaker & Author.  Kelly has also been a contributor to this podcast, in October 2019. Anna Harrington: Specialist Public Health Nurse, Occupational Health Kate McAllister: Teacher, Trainer, Speaker, Writer, Thinker, Wellness Nerd You can watch back the entire #Covid19MHWBpanel on YouTube, of course, but if you'd rather get a few bitesized nuggets, I'll start you off today, as the school summer term officially starts in many countries, even though for most children, teachers and parents, this will not be 'business as usual'. Today's bitesized snippet comes from Kate McAllister.  In this excerpt, she shares with us how to bring routine and normality back into our lives when everything is far from normal. You can follow Kate on Twitter: @Rethinking_Kate   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
06:04 04/20/2020
S1 Ep33: Keri Haw - Simple Everyday Self-Care - Covid-19 Wellbeing Activities
Today I bring you a very special guest to help us navigate the challenges of staying mentally well and even flourishing through and beyond the Covid-19 crisis. Keri Haw is the Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead at Malvern St James Girls’ School, an independent boarding school at the foot of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire. Over 10 years in pastoral care has offered a world of experience, helping young people and colleagues navigate the ups and downs of life in education. Her role encompasses PSHE teaching, running the school’s wellbeing provision for staff and pupils, leading Youth Mental Health First Aid Training and wellbeing consultation to other schools.  Twitter - @adventuresinwb Instagram - @adventuresinwellbeing School wellbeing accounts on Twitter & Instagram - @msjbuzz   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
05:20 04/13/2020
S1 Ep32: Reappraise positively with strengths - Covid-19 Wellbeing Activities
Welcome to episode 32.  As promised, while the current Coronavirus situation continues to evolve and provide us with challenges, in each episode I will share with you a simple activity that you (or your pupils or your own children) can do to support your wellbeing. As many of us are spending more time in homes we share with other people, we may be getting to a point where we are more easily irritated and where rows might erupt.  Here is an activity that may help - it is best suited to adults or older children and teens as it requires quite a deep level of reflection.  This activity is adapted from Ryan Niemiec’s book Character Strengths Interventions: A field guide for practitioners (1).  Either do this as a solo reflection activity - you may wish to write down your answers (be as detailed as possible, take your time) - or you can pair up with someone, ideally not someone closely linked to the person the activity relates to.  Perhaps pair up with a friend or colleague via phone or video call and take it in turns to talk through your answers while the other person listens. Start off by thinking of a person that has hurt or offended you and think clearly about that person and the thing they have said or done that caused you hurt or offence. Look at the person and their imperfections in light of the complexity of being human - as a human being they have flaws and character strengths (see the VIA Institute on Character for more information on character strengths. What character strengths (however small) do you see in that person? Was the thing they said or did perhaps a display of one of their character strengths which they may have been over-using or using inappropriately? If you can, view this person as someone that needs to experience positive growth and transformation, or that perhaps is already working on this but gets it wrong sometimes. Now think about yourself: What character strengths did you show while the ‘offence’ took place? What character strengths are you showing right now? This activity guides us, via the use of character strengths, through a process called “positive reappraisal” which Ryan Niemic describes as “a type of meaning-based coping”.  This enables us to add perspective and balance to situations, events and our views of other people and can help us change our perception from unpleasant or stressful to harmless and possibly even beneficial.  Take the current Coronavirus pandemic, for example. Whilst the situation is undoubtedly difficult and traumatic - and for some far more than others - I have experienced many unexpected benefits and, judging by conversations and social media posts, so have many of you.  From more time connecting with people because we make a special effort to chat on the phone or via Skype/Zoom etc, to experimenting in the kitchen, to making a conscious effort to exercise, there are many things we are now doing that we weren’t doing consistently or appreciating as much before.  And for that, at least, I am hugely grateful.  Looking at these positive aspects (whilst not negating the trauma, loss and hardship we are going through) is one form of positive reappraisal. According to research by Folkman (2), reappraising stressful situation (even when the stress is severe or distressing) through a more positive lens can improve our mood (or what psychologists call “positive affect”).  When it comes to situations that have caused offence, such as in the exercise I suggest today, reappraising the situation with compassion can replace negative emotions with positive ones and can help us forgive (3). Let me know via @FlourishingED on Twitter how you get on with this week’s activity and how you are.  I’d love to hear from you! Do also get in touch if you’d like to contribute content to this podcast as a guest, particularly if you’d like to share one or more activities that can help children, parents or other teachers at this difficult time. Also look out for a special edition longer episode of the For Flourishing’s Sake podcast - it is coming soon, I promise! -  which is the audio of a virtual panel that I hosted the week before last. I look forward to catching up with you next week.  Until we speak again, be safe, be well and For Flourishing’s Sake, have as great a week as it’s currently possible to have!   References: Niemiec, R. M. (2018). Character Strengths Interventions: A field guide for practitioners. Boston, MA and Goettingen: Hogrefe Publishing. Folkman, S. (1997). Positive psychological states and coping with severe stress. Social Science and Medicine, 45(8), 1207–1221. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0277-9536(97)00040-3 vanOyen Witvliet, C., DeYoung, N., Hofelich, A., & DeYoung, P. (2011). Compassionate reappraisal and emotion suppression as alternatives to offense-focused rumination: Implications for forgiveness and psychophysiological well-being. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(4), 286–299. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2011.577091   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
05:52 04/06/2020
S1 Ep31: Covid-19 Wellbeing Activities - Start Interesting Conversations
Welcome to episode 31.  These are unprecedented and challenging times we’re all going through.  There are, however, some comforting thoughts I take from the present situation: We’re all in this together, and we’re seeing daily wonderful examples of communities coming together, of individuals helping others in need, of children displaying rainbows of hope in the windows of their homes. I have never felt more hopeful for humanity than in these past few weeks! That said, there are of course big challenges for us all.  Depending on what stage of lockdown your country is in, you may be allowed to exercise once a day outside, or not at all.  You may be going stir-crazy after weeks cooped up inside, or you may be relishing the opportunity to spend more time with your loved ones.  You may have lots of time to rest and read, or you may be frenetically re-developing lessons to be delivered remotely. We’re all in this together, but we’re also all going through it in our own way. One thing is for certain, we all need to look after our mental health during this time, working on our wellbeing more than ever.  So, each week, I will share with you some activities, ideas or strategies you can use, either for yourself and your family, or for your pupils - you can share this with them via their parents or in person for those still in school.  Many of the suggestions I make over the coming weeks will be applicable to adults and children alike. Today, I would like to invite you - and your children - to tap into the strength of curiosity by starting interesting conversations.  I recently did this activity with a group of students on the Positive Education module when I was teaching them as part of the Anglia Ruskin University Masters in Applied Positive Psychology. Think of a question you would like to hear the answer to.  Make it as bizarre and unusual as you’d like, straying from the usual questions you might hear at social gatherings and networking events.  Ask as many people as you can - social media is great for this and doesn’t require physical proximity, but also ask people you live with, ask people you have virtual meetings with.  Ask your question of as many people as you can and revel in your curiosity as you hear the answers they give you!  Children, particularly younger ones, tend to be much better than we are at asking seemingly random questions, but encourage them to do this anyway and to ask their questions of as many people as possible and listen for the answers with intentional curiosity. Not only will you be starting some fascinating conversations based on the answers you get and your responses to those answers, but you will be working on the character strength of curiosity, which supports wellbeing in a number of ways: Curious people are less likely to be aggressive towards others (1) and curiosity promotes positive social interactions (2).  Additionally, curiosity has been moderately associated with measures of wellbeing, when used as an exploration, i.e. to seek out new or challenging situations (3).  For adolescents, curiosity is also important.  Research has shown that very curious adolescents score more highly on wellbeing than those who are less curious, particularly on the wellbeing measures of hope and positive mood (4). So, I’ll start you off with a question of my own: When you are on a plane and look outside, do you prefer to see a clear sky or clouds when you look down? Why? Let me know your answer via @FlourishingED on Twitter, and please do ask me your questions, too! I’m looking forward to having some fascinating conversations with you! Do also get in touch if you’d like to contribute content to this podcast as a guest, particularly if you’d like to share one or more activities that can help children, parents or other teachers at this difficult time. Also look out for a special edition longer episode of the For Flourishing’s Sake podcast coming out in the next few days, which is the audio of a virtual panel that I hosted last week. I look forward to catching up with you next week.  Until we speak again, be safe, be well and For Flourishing’s Sake, have as great a week as it’s currently possible to have! References: Kashdan, T. B., Dewall, C. N., Pond, R. S., Silvia, P. J., Lambert, N. M., Fincham, F. D., … Keller, P. S. (2013). Curiosity Protects Against Interpersonal Aggression: Cross-Sectional, Daily Process, and Behavioral Evidence. Journal of Personality, 81(1), 87–102. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2012.00783.x Kashdan, T. B., McKnight, P. E., Fincham, F. D., & Rose, P. (2011). When curiosity breeds intimacy: Taking advantage of intimacy opportunities and transforming boring conversations. Journal of Personality, 79(6), 1067–1099. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2010.00697.x Gallagher, M. W., & Lopez, S. J. (7AD). Curiosity and well-being. The Journal of Positive Psychology2, 2(4), 236–248. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760701552345 Jovanovic, V., & Brdaric, D. (2012). Did curiosity kill the cat? Evidence from subjective well-being in adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences, 52(3), 380–384. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2011.10.043   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
05:44 03/30/2020
S1 Ep30: Simple wellbeing activities to do during Coronavirus school closures
Season 1, Episode 30 (23rd March 2020) Simple wellbeing activities to do during Coronavirus school closures Welcome to episode 30.  Wow, what a week! In the UK, we have had daily updates on drip-fed changes with about as much clarity as you would expect when attempting to scuba-dive in a muddy pond. All schools are now closed…except they’re not, because many schools are open, with staff looking after the most vulnerable children and the children of key workers. Teachers, school leaders and parents, not to mention the children themselves, are in a state of bewilderment and doing the best they can to adapt to the circumstances very quickly.  This week, for example, my colleague Elizabeth Wright and I will be delivering a series of virtual workshops to groups of children and staff in six schools to support their mental health and wellbeing at this difficult time. We have worked with the Academy Trust’s leadership team to adapt the sessions we were due to deliver in person to virtual sessions instead.  Over the coming weeks and months, my main focus in this podcast will be on helping you weather this storm, supporting yours and your children’s wellbeing as we all deal with the global Coronavirus crisis, while also bringing you content to support your longer-term planning for teachers’ and children’s wellbeing once classroom teaching resumes. I am also putting together a virtual panel of education wellbeing professionals and teachers to share ideas for getting through this frightening time.  The panel will go out live - hopefully in the next few days and will then be aired as a special longer-length episode of this podcast.  Watch this space! Today, though, I’d like to share two activity suggestions - a meditation activity and a gratitude activity: A simple meditation for younger children. If you are operating on skeleton staff in your school and you have young children there, this is a great way to calm them if they are agitated or worried.  And of course you can send this to parents, too, to do with their kids at home.  It’s called ‘Take Five’. You ask children to hold out one hand with their fingers splayed and with each breath, they trace each finger on one hand with one finger of the other, so as they breathe in slowly, they trace up their thumb and then trace down as they breathe back out, then up the index finger as they breathe in again and down as they breathe out again, then onto the middle finger, ring finger and little finger so they complete five slow breaths in and out.   A simple gratitude activity. Make a poster thanking your delivery and postal workers for doing their job at this difficult time and keeping us all going, and display it outside your front door. Your children, whether at home or in school, can also do this.  I put two posters up outside my door last week - you can download the files below, though I’m hardly an artistic genius, so I’m sure you or your pupils can do something far prettier than I’ve created! - and yesterday something amazing happened.  The doorbell rang for a delivery.  The delivery driver, who has delivered to us on a number of occasions, stood a safe distance away from our door, having left the items in our porch.  He pointed at my posters and said “thank you so much for the note - can I take a photo and post it on my Instagram?” I said that of course he could, and he answered that out of all of his delivery customers, I was the only person who had thanked him.  I told him I was so sorry to hear that - if it wasn’t for delivery drivers, postal workers, supermarket workers and so many other people who have to risk their health and keep going to work, we would really struggle to keep going.  I was close to tears as I said this to him.  He thanked me again and he left.  We were both smiling.  Gratitude and kindness have a wonderful effect on the mood and wellbeing of both parties.  And they can have a powerful ripple effect, too! And let’s face it, we really need to be as kind to each other right now as we possibly can!  I’d love to see examples of your and your children’s posters, and hear stories of reactions to these!  Get in touch with me on Twitter at @FlourishingED.   View and download poster for delivery drivers View and download poster for postal workers Do also get in touch if you’d like to contribute content to this podcast as a guest, particularly if you’d like to share one or more activities that can help children, parents or other teachers at this difficult time. I look forward to catching up with you next week.  Until we speak again, be safe, be well and For Flourishing’s Sake, have as great a week as it’s currently possible to have! Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
06:08 03/23/2020
S1 Ep29: Positive Psychology for difficult times
Welcome to episode 29.  Over the last week, our world seems to have changed dramatically!  Coronavirus has been declared a Pandemic by the World Health Organisation and people don’t know which advice to follow and how best to protect themselves and their loved ones.  I am not qualified to give any advice on this, so I won’t.  But I want to help you navigate these challenging times for yourself and for the children you work with, with the help of Positive Psychology. Children are often acutely aware of the world around them.  Already the world has been feeling pretty uncertain for quite some time, but Coronavirus has added an additional layer and a certain level of urgency and panic for many people - this will include children you work with. So…what can you do to support their mental health at this time? Now is an ideal time to encourage them to talk about their emotions in a safe space, to express the complexity and depth of what they’re feeling and help them unpack those emotions. For the youngest children, you may wish to have wall charts with various emojis and encourage them to place their names under the emoji that best reflects how they feel, and to move this around as each day and week progresses, to reflect their changing emotions throughout each day.  You can have conversations in circle time around these.  For older children and adolescents, you can have discussions about their emotions around the current crisis during tutor period, or when discussing related topics in History, Science, English Literature etc. Now is also a good time to focus on strengths.  You can encourage children to identify and discuss the strengths they need individually and that the country and the world needs at this time.  They may identify the need for bravery as we all face our fears around the current situation, or for creativity to find new ways of working, learning and interacting.  Curiosity may be a strength we all tap into as we learn more about the specific virus and about the spread of disease, historical pandemics and the way treatments are developed, for example. Honesty may also be a prominent strength to focus on as we need to self-isolate if we develop symptoms. They may discuss the need for the strength of leadership, and whether that only comes from country leaders, school leaders, business leaders etc, or from all of us.  And how about love, prudence, self-regulation? Of course, we mustn’t forget kindness! Kindness towards those who need to self-isolate and may need help to get food and medication supplies, kindness towards others in not hoarding scarce supplies in supermarkets, kindness towards those who are worried about vulnerable loved ones. You can find out more about the 24 VIA character strengths from the VIA Institute on Character. You can focus on strengths by specifically asking children to discuss or write about the strengths needed in the current situation, you can increase the way you use strengths vocabulary with children and adults in school, you can encourage strengths-spotting in others, or you can set children and colleagues strengths-challenges (use a particular strength in novel ways and see who comes up with the most unusual ways to use it).  The possibilities are almost endless! If you or any of your children display symptoms and need to follow the current advice to self-isolate for seven days, or if you need to close your school, this is an ideal opportunity to practise a couple of great positive psychology interventions: Write down three good things - or think of it as ‘what went well today?’ - each evening before bed for seven days. Identify one of your ‘signature strengths’ (you can do this on the VIA website for adults and children ages 10 or above…or you can discuss strengths and examples to help each pupil identify their key strengths ahead of any self-isolation or closure) and find seven new ways to use it in seven days. Both these activities were found in one ground-breaking study (1) to cause lasting increases - for six months - in happiness and a reduction in depression for the same amount of time. A more recent replication of the study (2) also found that these interventions can lead to lasting increases in happiness. I hope this episode helps you draw some positive inspiration from these challenging times we are living through.  Keeping ourselves mentally well in addition to looking after our physical health is more important than ever.  Look after yourself and, as always, I look forward to catching up with you next week.  Until we speak again, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   References: Seligman, M. E. P. et al. (2005) ‘Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of intervention’, Positive Psychology, pp. 1–19. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.60.5.410. Mongrain, M. and Anselmo-Matthews, T. (2012) ‘Do Positive Psychology Exercises Work? A Replication of Seligman et al.’, Journal of Clinical Psychology, 68(4), pp. 382–389. doi: 10.1002/jclp.21839.   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
05:44 03/16/2020
S1 Ep28: I'm not ok - and that's ok!
Welcome to episode 28.  A few weeks ago, I published an episode about healthy coping mechanisms in which I talked openly about some difficult times I went through and how I’d got through these with the strengths (and emotions) of hope, love and gratitude. Today, I’m going to share some of the emotions running through my head right now, and how I’m using positive psychology to help me.  I hope that, in doing this, I can help you, too - whether you are going through a difficult time yourself or are supporting one of your students through some challenges.  Because, really, it might be an over-used cliché, but it IS ok not to be ok.  That doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can do to help us feel a bit less rubbish than we would if we didn’t have positive psychology tools at our disposal, however. Last week, I had one of my regular coaching sessions with my executive coach.  We do talk about emotions in those sessions, of course, as I don’t live and work in a vacuum, but this session was something else!  I spent almost the entire hour and a half of my Skype coaching session crying (with some beautiful and uplifting moments of laughter thrown in!).  Once I gave myself permission to talk about the anxieties I am dealing with and to let the emotions out, I couldn’t turn the tap off and my eyes just kept on leaking.  I don’t want you to worry about me.  Even though I’m not ok, I accept it’s ok to feel this way, under my present circumstances.  And I know I will be ok again. I am dealing with a lot of stuff…financial stuff, family stuff…stuff that comes at all of us at some point or other in life.  Lots of change, lots of uncertainty, lots of worry.  It’s just all coming at me in one go - which I know also happens to lots of us from time to time.  And like many of us in various parts of the world, this is all underscored by a political climate that I find extremely concerning and that sends me into moments of despair on an almost daily basis. I’m permanently exhausted and, through talking with my coach, I realised that of course I’m exhausted - I’m dealing with all this anxiety, with various circumstances that I cannot directly control or even influence, and working hard to keep myself mentally well…it’s bound to be tiring! And I released that, although on an intellectual level I understood and accepted that it’s ok to feel this way, to not be at my very best all the time with all this stuff going on, that it’s ok to give in to the exhaustion when I can and just ‘be’, I was compounding how I was feeling by adding a layer of guilt - that I should be doing more, that I shouldn’t be so self-indulgent, that I should just get my act together.  Does that ound familiar?! I talked through some of the well-practised positive psychology tools and strategies I am currently using, with my coach, and these are serving me well: Gratitude is so ingrained in everything I do that I experience it, deliberately and by chance, multiple times a day over the smallest of things sometimes.  The same goes for savouring (which I also covered in a recent episode).  Then there are the things I do more deliberately - what Layous and Lyubomirsky refer to as “Positive Activity Interventions”. At the moment, what is working well for me is taking every opportunity to go for an energising walk outside.  Practising self-kindness is something I thought I was doing quite well, but now I realise I was undoing the impact of this by feeling guilty, so now I’m working on that, too.  And as Layous and Lyubomirsky say in their paper, working on our happiness takes effort, like most other worthwhile things in life.  They also mention another couple of points worth noting: That we need a variety of activities to draw upon as we otherwise experience fatigue or boredom from the endless repetition of one activity, and that not all activities work for everyone; even though everything I share with you on this podcast is evidence-informed - there needs to be a fit.  Throughout this podcast’s many episodes, I have and will continue to share with you various activities that may help you or your students flourish.  Not all activities will work for everyone, but whether you’re working on yourself or supporting one of your students, it’s about building up a toolkit of activities you can try out to find the ones that work for each individual. And as my wonderful coach reminded me last week, it’s ok if you still feel rubbish despite doing all this stuff…just think how much worse you might feel if you weren’t putting in the effort to support your mental health! Thanks to my knowledge of positive psychology and putting the work in, I am able to keep bringing the energy and professionalism I pride myself on to my public-facing work, I am able to keep things ticking along - even if sometimes I just do the bare minimum - in my behind the scenes work, and I am able to say “I feel pretty rubbish at the moment, but it’s ok…it’s normal under the circumstances and I know it will get better again.”  Sometimes that is all we can do. So keep adding to your toolkit, keep trying out the different techniques, ideas and interventions I and my wonderful podcast guests share with you, and put the work into your wellbeing (or support your students into putting the work into theirs). And start by being kind to yourself - it’s one essential item in the toolkit and possibly the most difficult one for many of us to put into practice. Let me know how you get on and what works for you! And, as always, I look forward to catching up with you next week.  Until we speak again, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
07:11 03/09/2020
S1 Ep27: Experiences
Welcome to episode 27.  Last week, we explored the importance of savouring - not just food but moments and experiences.  So let’s talk a little more about the importance of experiences. Do you go out of your way to create enjoyable experiences for yourself, the people you love, and your students? Do you spend your money and any free time you have on experiences or possessions? I’ll admit I am a bit of a shopaholic - though it’s a habit I am working on curbing - but as I’ve got older, I have found I increasingly value experiences, especially if I can share these with the people I love.  Whether it’s an evening spent with friends, watching a favourite TV show with family members, or going for a walk in nature by myself, it’s those experiences that bring me the most joy and contentment, and that ground me when I find life hectic, stressful or worrying. Research (1) has shown that spending time and money on experiences rather than possessions is linked to increased happiness.  One piece of research (2) which involved a number of separate studies looked at whether extraordinary or ordinary experiences make us happier and found that this very much depends on age - specifically how much time we have ahead of us.  The researchers found that younger people generally value extraordinary experiences more, whereas as we get older, we tend to value the ordinary everyday experiences.  Yet another piece of research (3) found that when we spend money on experiences - or indeed on other people, incidentally - this promotes happiness because it enhances our social relationships. So how can this research help your personal flourishing?  Have a think about the experiences that have brought you joy, serenity or allowed you to reminisce happily time and time again.  Consider whether these were everyday ordinary experiences or extraordinary life moments.  What do these experiences have in common?  Can you deliberately bring more of these kinds of moments and experiences into your life? And how about your students’ flourishing? Perhaps, in conjunction with conversations about savouring, you can help them focus on the experiences that they find helpful to their wellbeing. When it comes to your lessons, can you build in some exciting experiences to make those lessons more fun and more memorable?  I know one physics teacher who brings so much excitement into his lessons.  I’ve never been interested in physic, but I think if he’d been my teacher when I was at school, I may have viewed the subject very differently!  I also remember a Year 9 class in my second year of teaching - it was a school where, until Year 8, all students studied two foreign languages, but afterwards, only those who did particularly well in languages carried on with both; the others just continued with one language.  Year 9 was a bit of an anomaly though - students carried on with a second language, but those that weren’t considered to be gifted in languages were not assessed in any way in their second language.  After my initial confusion and panic about what to teach that particular Year 9 class, I realised that this gave me immense freedom: No compulsory curriculum or learning objectives, no exams, no restrictions!  I could have fun with language lessons with this group.  So I made the lessons fun, with lots of language games.  Learning a language, for this group of students, became fun, rather than a means to an end.  These were students that didn’t generally engage very well with education, but in this particular lesson, they had fun, and made tremendous progress in their language learning.  I’d like to think that, had I stayed in the teaching profession longer and gained more experience, I could have found a way to bring that element of fun to my other lessons, too.  I see plenty of teachers who do this very well.  If you can turn more of your lessons into ‘experiences’ for your students, you will not only make them more memorable and help your students’ learning, but you may support their wellbeing in the process, too. Let me know how you bring ‘experiences’ into your life and your teaching.  I love to hear your stories!  And, as always, I look forward to catching up with you next week.  Until we speak again, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   References Mogilner, C. and Norton, M.I., 2016. Time, money, and happiness. Current Opinion in Psychology, 10, pp.12-16. Bhattacharjee, A. and Mogilner, C., 2014. Happiness from ordinary and extraordinary experiences. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(1), pp.1-17. Yamaguchi, M., Masuchi, A., Nakanishi, D., Suga, S., Konishi, N., Yu, Y.Y. and Ohtsubo, Y., 2016. Experiential purchases and prosocial spending promote happiness by enhancing social relationships. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 11(5), pp.480-488.   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5    
05:28 03/02/2020
S1 Ep26: Savouring
Welcome to episode 26 - I can’t believe we’ve been enjoying this weekly rendez-vous for exactly half a year already! Thank you for going on this journey with me.  Talking of journeys… I have just come back from Paris, where I spent two days teaching on the Positive Education module of the Anglia Ruskin University Masters’ in Applied Positive Psychology - the same Masters’ I graduated from last year and the same module I took as a student exactly two years ago.  The experience was surreal, awesome and - honestly - initially absolutely terrifying.  I loved being back in Paris, and although I was there for work, I wanted to make sure I could make the most of the experience, and that’s what today’s episode is about.  Although it was definitely hard work to teach at a level I hadn’t taught or trained at before, it was also an honour and a delight to teach a group of students that were very experienced and knowledgeable in Positive Education. I wanted to focus my attention on the experience itself and enjoy it as much as possible, which I did.  And I wanted to enjoy the beauty of Paris, a city I love, of the French language, which I grew up with and love, and of the mouth-wateringly delicious food I know I can always find in Paris. According to an article by Dr Davis in Psychology Today, “savoring just means that we attempt to fully feel, enjoy, and extend our positive experiences” and is “a great way to develop a long-lasting stream of positive thoughts and emotions”.  According to research by Dr Barbara Fredrickson(1), maximising our experience of positive emotions is important as these trigger “upward spirals” in wellbeing. So how do you go about triggering those positive emotions and increasing your wellbeing through savouring? One way to do it is by taking time to savour your food.  So often, when we are busy with work and life in general, we eat our meals without really thinking about the food, without taking the time to truly notice its tastes and textures, perhaps watching TV at the same time, or answering messages on our phones, or talking to colleagues about work-related matters.  We may even simply be mentally distracted by our busy minds.  Taking the time to savour a meal from time to time is a form of mindfulness.  One day this week, set out to do something different: For one of your meals, choose a food you haven’t eaten before and want to explore, or choose to eat one of your favourite foods.  Set some time aside for that meal and when you sit down with your food in front of you, before you start eating, look at the food.  Observe its colours, its smell, perhaps the way the steam rises off it if the food is hot.  Take in every visual and sensory detail before you start eating.  Then, with each mouthful, focus on its taste, texture and temperature.  Notice how these change as you chew, how each mouthful feels as you swallow it.  Notice how your hunger gradually reduces and how it feels to gradually be satiated.  After you have finished eating, reflect on the experience and how you feel in that moment - whether you feel comfortable, are still hungry or feel over-full, whether you feel energised or tired, and any other thoughts and feelings that may come up. You can extend this activity by photographing your food, as this allows you to reminisce about the experience later.  In fact, you can use this form of mindfulness through photography for all sorts of activities.  You can capture beautiful moments by stopping to take notice, snapping a photo and later reminiscing over those moments you preserved.  "Moules et Frites" in a Parisian Brasserie   View from the rooftop of the Galeries Lafayette   According to research (2), being able to savour and enjoy positive emotions derived from positive experiences improves wellbeing.  Additionally, savouring has been shown to protect against depression, even reducing the likelihood of negative events causing depression (3). Reminiscing and mindful photography have also been shown to improve mood (4,5). I hope you’ll give savouring a go, and of course this is a simple activity you can encourage your students to do, too.  If you try it, get in touch and let me know what impact this has on you or your students.  As always, I look forward to catching up with you next week and, until we speak again, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   References Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The Role of Positive Emotions in Positive Psychology: The Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions. The American Psychologist, 56(3), 218–226. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066x.56.3.218 Bryant, F. B., Smart, C. M., & King, S. P. (2005). Using the past to enhance the present: Boosting happiness through positive reminiscence. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6(3), 227–260. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-005-3889-4 Ford, J., Klibert, J. J., Tarantino, N., & Lamis, D. A. (2017). Savouring and Self-compassion as Protective Factors for Depression. Stress and Health, 33(2), 119–128. https://doi.org/10.1002/smi.2687 Bryant, F. B., Smart, C. M., & King, S. P. (2005). Using the past to enhance the present: Boosting happiness through positive reminiscence. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6(3), 227–260. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-005-3889-4 Kurtz, J. L. (2015). Seeing through New Eyes: An Experimental Investigation of the Benefits of Photography. Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences, 11, 354–358. https://doi.org/10.6000/1927-5129.2015.11.51   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
06:00 02/24/2020
S1 Ep25: Feel the love
Welcome to episode 25. As it was Valentine’s Day a few days ago and my Birthday yesterday, and I was lucky enough to have the people I love most in the whole world close to me, love has been on my mind more than usual over the past week. So today I want to dedicate this podcast to love, but not the romantic kind. Today, I want to talk to you about love as an emotion in the context that Barbara Fredrickson talks about love. I will come back to Barbara Fredrickson and her work on emotions - positive emotions in particular - in a future episode, but for today, I want to focus on her work on one particular emotion: Love. In her book, Love 2.0, Barbara talks about love being the “supreme” emotion, and how really honing in on this emotion gives us immense wellbeing benefits.  She talks about love in the context of “micro-moments of connection” with other human beings: The smile as you cross a stranger in a doorway, making eye contact with the cashier at a supermarket, taking a few moments to have a meaningful conversation with a colleague in the staffroom. It’s well worth reading the book - the first part is the science behind it all, and the rest of the book is packed full of activities to help you bring more love into your life. One such activity is the one she says her research has found to be the most powerful way to increase the amount of love and its resulting positive impact into our lives.  The activity is a Loving Kindness Meditation. In 2017, when I attended the IPPA World Congress in Montréal, I had the opportunity to sit in a presentation by Barbara Fredrickson and Sharon Salzberg: The science and practice of loving kindness meditation. Sharon Salzberg explained that the original term for the ancient practice of loving kindness meditation is “metta”, which directly translates as friendship, but she feels that doesn’t quite hit the spot and describes it more as a form of connection and a powerful tool to help us achieve a sense of peace.  I’m now going to take you through a loving kindness meditation from mine and Elizabeth Wright’s book, Character Toolkit for Teachers.  In the book, you will find the suggested wording and a process for leading such a meditation for children, but for now, if you are able to do so, please join me in this peaceful moment.   Close your eyes and take a couple of deep, slow breaths.  Think about a person you care deeply about. Imagine this special person; what they look like, the clothes they wear, their smile, what they look like when they’re happy.  Think about how lovely it feels to hug this person and to see them being happy.  Imagine this special person doing something they love to do.  Do they like to listen to music, potter around in the garden, or eat out with friends?  Imagine them doing something they love doing and that, as they are doing this, you walk up to them and give them a huge hug, filled with love.  Imagine all of that love gathering in your heart.  Now release that love and send it out towards this special person. As you do so, say the following words silently in your mind and send them out towards this person you love:  ‘May you be happy, healthy and strong’. Take a few more moments to remain still and quiet, with your eyes closed, as you take three slow, deep breaths in and out.  Now gently open your eyes. ‘May you be happy, healthy and strong’ is mine and Elizabeth’s suggested wording, but you can adapt this for yourself or even encourage children to come up with their own.  Barbara Fredrickson and Sharon Salzberg’s wording was “May you be safe, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you live with ease”. You can extend this meditation by taking the love you felt when thinking about another person and sending it out to yourself.  In our book, Elizabeth and I use the following recommended wording for children: “Imagine [that love] is going on a journey, from your heart to your head…now say ‘may I be happy, healthy and strong’.” You can further extend this meditation to people you know but don’t have any strong feeling towards, for example someone you regularly meet at the bus stop, or a checkout assistant you regularly see at your local supermarket.  You can direct this to your whole family, school or community, the whole world, or, for a real challenge, someone you don’t like.  According to Sharon Salzberg, seeing this type of meditation as a form of connection for your own inner peace makes no assumption about whether you wish to spend time with that person or have them in your life. When doing this activity with your pupils, it is useful to check in with them and discuss how this meditation made them feel, and to build up to the extensions bit by bit.  I started you off with sending out love to someone you care about because that’s the one we find easiest.  Often people struggle initially with sending the love to themselves, and you or your pupils may be no exception.  That’s ok - just build up to that. I hope you have found this episode useful and that our shared meditation has given you a sense of calm and inner peace.  As always, I look forward to catching up with you next week and, until we speak again, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!   Everyday Hero - 60 second version (Corporate, motivational, you tube, podcast) Music by Pond5
07:27 02/17/2020