PENSACOLA, FL – Barbie Nall teaches a variety of subjects to 6th through 12th grade students in a drug and alcohol residential treatment center. In addition to providing the students with the academic coursework necessary to reach or maintain grade level standards, the program aims to give the students tools to learn positive coping skills necessary for developing healthy relationships, solving problems, and avoiding triggers.
“Having already faced many obstacles, the students need multiple avenues of encouragement to better their lives,” Nall explains. “Some students have never had a stable environment and need to know how they can make life better for themselves. The book, along with the study guides, will help the students realize how to make that difference.”
Nall plans to share The Art of Learning with the counselors and director of the program and possibly have the students read and discuss the book. In this way, the students will not only encounter the concepts in class, but in their counseling sessions and the dormitory as well. In addition to the book discussion, Nall will incorporate Resilience principles such as Value Process Before Results, Investment in Loss, Beginner’s Mind, and Using Adversity into the break periods using kinesthetic activities.
DUBLIN, IRELAND – Colaiste Dhulaigh is a community college in Dublin, Ireland, dedicated to providing the students within the community with the skills and confidence they need to further their education and enter the workforce. Dave Curran, the Head of Journalism and a Student Services team member in the Media department at the college, has found The Art of Learning to be an invaluable resource on his own path to learning and growth and has shared the book with many friends and colleagues. Curran explains that one of the aspects of the book that appeals to him is that, “Josh’s principles of learning take the mystique out of talent and progress. He makes excellence feel attainable.”
Curran plans to teach a seminar to journalism and media production students in which he hopes to provide the students with the tools to “approach tasks differently, aware that a result different to the one they hoped to achieve will be treated as learning rather than failure.”
The seminar will use learning principles such as Listening First and Loving the Game to help students discover their passions, The Power of Presence to provide the tools to improve focus in all aspects of learning, and Value Process Before Results and Investment in Loss to emphasize the learning opportunities present in mistakes.
“I want students to think creatively about how they approach their learning by viewing bad results or a lack of focus as something other than failure. Rather, they should treat these as steps toward being better students by reflecting on the causes.”
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. ”
BRONX, NY – Dr. Christy Folsom is an associate professor in the Childhood Education Department of Lehman College, City University of New York. Her academic focus is on the intellectual and emotional infrastructure of teaching and learning, project-based learning that includes self-organization skill, transfer of learning from coursework to P-12 classrooms, and change in teacher thinking and practice evidenced in student performance. In addition, she developed Teaching for Intellectual and Emotional Learning (TIEL), a powerful curriculum planning tool for teachers.
While planning her undergraduate course entitled “The Art and Science of Learning and Teaching”, Dr. Folsom contacted the JW Foundation with an interest in participating in our book donation program. “In this course, we will explore scientific aspects of how we learn as well as how learning can be an art. Understanding learning as a science and as an art can have a profound impact on how we teach,” Folsom explains. She plans to use examples from The Art of Learning and Resilience based principles such as Value Process Before Results, Investment in Loss, Beginner’s Mind, and Using Adversity to illustrate the importance of teaching for intellectual learning in conjunction with emotional learning.
“How do you learn something and stick with it long enough to master it?” Dr. Folsom asks. “Yes, Josh had a gift for chess, but with tai chi it seems that he had to work so much more.” She believes Josh’s learning journey is a wonderful illustration of the wide range of learning, both social/emotional and cognitive/intellectual, and the necessity for struggle that must be addressed in the classroom in order to provide students with the complex learning experiences they need to succeed in the twenty-first century.
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.