It felt like hitting the jackpot. Nestled within the pages of Saturday’s paper were two glittering gems; an article about the positive impact of sports psychology and an article about the positive impact of stories.
Bang, pop, sparkle!
There they were.
The theories underpinning my work; learning, stories and mindset, closely allied.
Now I know these ideas are well documented and that they’ve been supported by vast tomes of research. I also know they’ve been mentioned in popular media before, but to find them side by side in the Sydney Morning Herald seemed a powerful portent. Then, as to confirm intuition, a friend’s facebook post gave further reason to smile – an image of a young girl carrying a poster saying “Children need to be taught how to think, not what to think”.
My heart cart wheeled with childlike exuberance.
Is This MyStory was validated in triplicate today.
Perhaps I should take a couple of steps back to explain. My book, Is This MyStory gathers these three concepts; learning to learn, gaining greater awareness through narrative and using strategies for targeted mindfulness, then bundles them together in a practical framework. Quite literally, I believe we can develop empathy and self awareness through the mindful appreciation of stories.
An aware state of mind allows us to simultaneously drift into those ah ha moments while still being actively, in the present. This I believe, is one of the greatest gifts of meditation. Meditation provides the mind training and intellectual space to really listen, feel and see. Or, to phrase it in a more personal way, meditation helped me separate the voice of intuition from the chatter of self talk.
Is This MyStory aims to promote creative and critical literacy. It helps young people develop their own voice. I believe when young people feel as though they have a voice, and are encouraged to use it, they begin to understand learning is a personal journey undertaken for its intrinsic value. Or to put it simply, young people learn it is their choice to learn. To date, my research has been based on what I have read and what I have observed in the classroom. I have not established control groups nor codified data. However, those who have spent time in more formal research pursuits confirm what my reality shows – learning, stories and mindset are closely allied.
So, to circle back to the beginning – this synchronistic appearance of two articles and a photo may suggest that society will soon (if not already) recognise why learning institutions need to change.
Schools need to offer students the opportunity to learn how to relax, how to show empathy, how to be flexible and how to develop creative problem solving skills. Some of the strategies we can use to achieve this are mindfulness, meditation and storytelling.
Welcome to a World of Expression.
P.S If you are interested, these are the articles I was refering to;
1) ‘All Psyched Up’ , Amanda Hooton, The Good Weekend, SMH 7/7/2012
2) ‘Character Building’, Megan Johnston, Spectrum, SMH 7/7/2012