This makes sense when you think about it. We operate under the idea that success leads to happiness and we teach it to our kids--if you work harder you'll be successful and THEN you'll be happy. However our brains work in the opposite way. When we're happy, our brains 'open up'; creativity and much more is activated. Happiness is what leads to success since our brains are primed, pumped, and ready to go.
If I want to inspire kids, I need to focus on making the culture and atmosphere of my classroom the #1 priority. If that culture is positive, playful, supportive of risk-taking and idea-generating, supportive of growth, and encouraging of big thinking and individuality, THEN the necessary brain ingredients (happiness) are there for kids to DO and to BE successful. PLAY and RESPECTFUL learning opportunities must rule.
- Do schools/teachers (due to high-stakes testing requirements of states) focus on student success first and foremost (test scores) and think that it is more important than and LEADS to happiness? (yes) Do we continue to do this or reassess and make the changes that need to be made?
- What can we do in our schools to promote play and happiness? Music in halls? Art? Kids having a say in decor/food/decisions of school? Outdoor time? PLAYful? Silly things? Big ideas? Does high-stakes testing and over-testing of kids have a place in this? How can we work in the necessary minimal testing and keep it light, fun, playful?