10 East Bridge St NE, Rockford, MI 49341 – Call (616) 951-1336

The student population within your school today is rapidly changing. Teachers and administrators are desperately trying to get into the heads and hearts of their students, but they are struggling.

Your teaching staff is dedicated, talented and committed, but something’s changed over the years. The strategies and tools that worked in the past aren’t generating the same results. You’ve tried various diversity and inclusion trainings, and other professional development workshops, but nothing seems to really stick, or inspire the shifts that you’re looking for. Your teachers are suffering, your students are frustrated and everyone is feeling misunderstood. So what changed? The kids. This is the reality of schools today – there’s a major disconnect that’s impacting learning, morale, and culture, and unless we become more aware, it will hold us back from creating the type of school we dream of having.

There is an alternative approach. Our way in is to understand the how our brains are wired. When we have the space and opportunity to take a clear look at the way we think, we can take steps to create a school environment where students and teachers listen to each other and work together, and the school becomes a safe learning space for everyone. We establish these classrooms by creating awareness of the biases that we are subject to and learn how to use them to our advantage.

“Mind of a Student” is a workshop for education professionals, rooted in brain science,  and custom-designed to enhance your team’s ability to think differently, engage with each other and connect with their students in ways they haven’t before.

With a framework of bias-training, understanding the brain science behind cognitive empathy, and student perspective gathering, this full-day interactive learning experience will introduce your team members to the tools and strategies they can take back with them into their classrooms that can help create the necessary breakthroughs with their students and each other.

Your team will engage in active, hands-on exercises that will challenge them to think differently about how they think, how they engage with each other, and how they connect with their students. All will leave with practical, science-based knowledge about their thinking patterns and a new, self-reflective mindset that will:

  • Improve day-to-day interactions with students
  • Encourage better conflict resolution
  • Build school culture
  • Support character education efforts
  • Improve teacher and staff retention
  • Improve student participation, attendance and performance
  • Fulfill School Improvement Plan initiatives and Title IIA funding for Professional Development opportunities
  • Change the way each team member sees themselves, their team and their students

It’s only when you are aware of how you think, that you can see the impact of your thinking, and make a change.

How Bias Influences Our Thinking

We are all impacted by bias. When we look through the lenses of our bias, the world looks exactly how the bias is telling us it should look. In fact, there are over 180 different types of it, so the filter through which we view the world is pretty dense. It’s running in the nonconscious brain, and we don’t even notice it. In the school and classroom environment, bias and lack of empathy for fellow teachers and students can be detrimental to the culture, morale and ultimately impact student learning. It’s only until we give our attention to it by pulling the “bias lenses” away from our eyes and look AT them, instead of through them, that we can truly begin to change the way we think, and view the world.

Affective Empathy vs. Cognitive Empathy

When we talk about being “empathetic,” we’re usually describing affective empathy. It’s our brain’s way of connecting to another person through an emotional experience. You see this type of empathy in action when a baby smiles at you and you smile back, or when you see a sad story on the news and you cry. When we say something such as “I know how you feel,” we may or may not be right, but it’s our impulse to share an emotional experience and connect on an emotional level with another person. This is affective empathy at work, and it happens automatically and unconsciously.

Cognitive empathy is different. It’s a conscious decision to recognize and understand another’s point of view and way of making sense of the world. You’ll often hear this type of empathy called “perspective taking,” because it’s your ability to not only hold your own perspective in how you see something, but to leave that perspective behind and shift to see the world as another person. This type of empathy activates a different part of your brain and takes a conscious effort to make happen.

The “Mind of a Student” workshop gives your team the tools to shift their thinking in a way that can inspire learning, growth, and connectedness.

This workshop can take place at Thought Design for an enriching, off-site professional development experience, or we can bring it to your facility or training space.

For an in-depth discussion about bringing this training to your team, or click the button below to request a discovery session.