Today, my professional development seminar on teaching practices concludes. Participants have been asked to bring in their "best practice" to share with the others.
I'm sharing this quote from "The Life Model: Equipping People with Skills to Thrive" study I'm reading:
"The world is a fracturing place, and each of us is split to some degree by the evil in the world. Yet within each of us is the drive to withstand the world's assaults and to become the persons we were intended to be. God created us with minds that automatically seek to be whole, and the quest for wholeness is wonderfully boosted by joy. . . "
In the classroom, I think about what I'm actually doing when I teach writing. I'm teaching how to analyze and make sense of things with every assignment. When I talk about grammar and developing an authentic writing voice, I'm teaching wholeness and integrity.
Why is it that I'm always aware of whether my classroom has joy or not? Why is it that joy somehow ushers in those teachable moments?
Over the last decade, I've considered the relationship between joy and learning. Neuroscience tells us that in the right orbital prefrontal cortex of the brain, a "joy center" exists. Psychologists often call this the seat of well-being and emotional regulation. When a person operates out of joy, they come closer to their authentic selves. They begin to learn with curiosity and wonder. They begin to express themselves in community. Fear and shame depart, and something happens when the pen hits the page.
As I study this concept, I learn that it's not as difficult as I thought to trigger and grow the joy in another person. When we act glad to see others; when we smile and let our eyes light up when we talk to them; when we seek to delight others with gifts and acts of kindness; and when we create a sense of belonging, we feed the joy center.
With joy, classrooms, neighborhoods, and families change.
I want to be a joy builder. I have a lot to learn and articulate, but I will say this:
I'm beginning to think my best practice is joy. It leads us to Joy.
How do you build joy in others?