LAS VEGAS, NV – Coral Academy of Science, Las Vegas is a k-12 public charter school with a focus on STEM education. Alex Carlone, an 8th and 10th grade English teacher, began the school year with an exploration of The Art of Learning in a prerequisite unit focused on the craft of learning, metacognition, inquiry, and mental schema.
“My goal for employing TAOL ideas in the classroom is to level the playing field for students who have not developed sound learning strategies organically through positive family culture or early formative experiences. I find that there is a considerable gap between our “regular” and “honors” students, a gap I can only explain through the idea of “non-cognitive competencies” and differences in emotional intelligence. In my mind, Waitzkin’s ideas pair well with the initiatives led by the likes of Paul Tough and Alain de Botton, which help students develop performance psychology and humanistic intelligence.”
Carlone’s 10th grade students began the unit by reading The Art of Learning and participating in discussions at the end of each chapter. They explored concepts such as the Soft Zone, the Downward Spiral, and entity versus incremental learning theories. Their initial discussions helped Carlone deepen his own understanding of the students’ strengths and needs as well as their personal approaches to learning. He is developing a follow up unit devoted to the motivation and strategy behind personal transformation, in which he will connect The Art of Learning to Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and tie in ideas related to positive psychology.
RICHMOND, VA – Scott Rohlwing created MP4P to address what he saw as the lack of emotional intelligence and performance psychology instruction for adolescents in both athletic and academic environments. “As a society, we’ve become so busy that tasks supersede just about everything. Many people are growing up not understanding Emotional Intelligence, relationship skills, coping skills, and mental strategies,” Rohlwing told the JWF. “I thoroughly believe that emotions are extremely important and the more we are educated on emotions, the more aware we are, and the more we can manage emotions, the better performers we will become and ultimately, better people. Embrace your emotion, acknowledge it, enhance it.”
Rohlwing is currently teaching a Mental Performance course to adults at the University of Richmond’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies. In this course his students explore the ideas of Emotional Intelligence and Performance Psychology through learning principles such as Investment in Loss, Beginner’s Mind, Using Adversity, Making Smaller Circles, Downward Spiral, Stress and Recovery, and Power of Presence.
He is further developing the MP4P program with a local volleyball club, and plans to expand to a variety of youth programs such as gymnastics, soccer, and football. Ultimately, he hopes to expand to offering elective courses in middle schools and high schools through mobile learning and online micro-lessons.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA – Nikola Tošic is an improvisational jazz musician who facilitates creative music making workshops to students of varying ages and musical experience and teaches music in a free afterschool program for children in an underserved community.
His initial connection with the JW Foundation was as a contributor to our Learning Journal with his piece entitled Loving the Game of Making Music.
After exploring his personal relationship to The Art of Learning principles, Tošic began to think about how he could further incorporate these concepts into his teaching. “The Art of Learning has had a major role in reshaping my approach to obstacles and adversities, unlearning, maintaining presence, and cultivating quality in life. It feels natural to share this information and these experiences with my students,” he explains.
Within his creative music making workshops, Tošic is using learning principles such as Value Process Before Results, Investment in Loss, Beginner’s Mind, Breaking Down Walls, Internal Solution, and Downward Spiral to help his students embrace the process of working collaboratively to create something new.
“I try to have open discussions on ‘what just happened’ in the workshops which allows the participants to share what they noticed during a creative exercise (like a social dynamic, a problem-solution, coincidences etc). The nature of collaborative composition is that there are always obstacles, which usually need to be overcome in a novel way. ”
Viewtown, VA – Jack Schore, is the Founder and Director of Jack Schore Tennis – a program that serves 700-800 young tennis players per week in the Washington DC area, ranging in age from 4-18 years old. Coach Schore approached the JW Foundation with an interest in integrating the Art of Learning principles into his coaching in order to build awareness in his athletes and help them develop a feeling of “being in the present.” He explains, “Tennis won’t be the end all be all for most of these players. In the micro, The Art of Learning principles will help their game, but I want them to use what they learn to enhance their lives in the bigger picture.”
He will work with his most competitive players on the concepts of Beginner’s Mind and developing a growth mindset, Investment in Loss, the Power of Presence, and the Downward Spiral. He will include meditative breath work, stress and recovery interval training, and kinesthetically introspective self-evaluation into each practice in order to help his athletes develop the skills of calming the mind and being in the present as well as learning to trust their “inner voice” to improve their game. He then hopes to coordinate a program with four sports facilities and the 40 coaches he has working with his beginning and intermediate players, that will focus on building resilience through the principles of Valuing Process Before Results, Investment in Loss, Beginner’s Mind, Using Adversity, and the Internal Solution.
SEATTLE, WA – Cascade Volleyball is a member of USAVolleyball, a Gold Medal Squared Certified Club, and has earned the Seal of Commitment from the Positive Coaching Alliance. Dan Urrutia is a U14 coach with the club and works with athletes with a range of experience and skill levels. He is committed to creating a positive athletic environment for his athletes and has a history of helping his players develop resilience with a strong focus on Investing in Loss and Valuing Process Before Results.
Coach Urrutia explains that he became interested in developing a program with the JW Foundation because “The Art of Learning and the guides provide the best catalog of the different mental and emotional elements of learning that I’ve ever seen.” Though many of the learning principles are of interest to him, he will focus on the Power of Presence and the Downward Spiral with his current athletes. He is beginning by incorporating a regular meditative breath work routine into each practice in order to help his players develop the skill of calming the mind and focusing on the present moment. Through this breath work, as well as visualization, stress and recovery interval training, and kinesthetic introspection the athletes will begin to develop the skills of maintaining focus in challenging situations, identifying when the quality of their presence is beginning to slip and returning to presence in order to maintain the quality of their performance.