Saturday, 4 July 2015

The Happiness Advantage

Shawn Anchor has done extensive research into what makes some people more motivated, efficient, resilient, creative, and productive. He has distilled his findings into his "seven principles" which form the backbone of his book "The Happiness Advantage". The principles are:


1- The Happiness Advantage— Because positive brains have a biological advantage over brains that are neutral or negative, this principle teaches us how to retrain our brains to capitalize on positivity and improve our productivity and performance. 

2-The Fulcrum and the Lever— How we experience the world, and our ability to succeed within it, constantly changes based on our mindset. This principle teaches us how we can adjust our mindset (our fulcrum) in a way that gives us the power (the lever) to be more fulfilled and successful. 

3-The Tetris Effect— When our brains get stuck in a  pattern that focuses on stress, negativity, and failure, we set ourselves up to fail. This principle teaches us how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility, so we can see— and seize— opportunity wherever we look. 

4- Falling Up— In the midst of defeat, stress, and crisis, our brains map different paths to help us cope. This principle is about finding the mental path that not only leads us up out of failure or suffering, but teaches us to be happier and more successful because of it. 

5- The Zorro Circle— When challenges loom and we get overwhelmed, our rational brains can get hijacked by emotions. This principle teaches us how to regain control by focusing first on small, manageable goals, and then gradually expanding our circle to achieve bigger and bigger ones. 

6- The 20- Second Rule— Sustaining lasting change often feels impossible because our willpower is limited. And when willpower fails, we fall back on our old habits and succumb to the path of least resistance. This principle shows how, by making small energy adjustments, we can reroute the path of least resistance and replace bad habits with good ones. 

7-Social Investment— In the midst of challenges and stress, some people choose to hunker down and retreat within themselves. But the most successful people invest in   their friends, peers, and family members to propel themselves forward. This principle teaches us how to invest more in one of the greatest predictors of success and excellence— our social support network."

On reflection some of the possible implications of these for my primary classroom and my pupils are:
1- Happy students have brains ready for learning.
2- A Growth mindset and a discussion about how we can change how we view situations to improve our happiness are essential learning for pupils.
3- Remember to keep the focus positive for assessments and evaluations.
4- Have lots of discussions about finding the best way out of tricky situations and challenges; this has a strong link with the language of learning.
5- Start with small, achievable goals.
6- Start building good habits with one easy to take step.
7- Take teaching the pupils team work skills very seriously and help them to build up a community of learners.