A MENTAL MODEL OF THE LEARNING BRAIN

By Shelley Roy

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In the past ten years we have begun to learn more about the brain than we have during the previous 2000 years.  New technologies now allow us to explore the brain while it is learning.  Robert Sylwester probably says it best:   “Our brain is at the edge of understanding itself! ”  So what does the brain know about learning?

As humans we take information into the brain through our sensory and perceptual systems and begin processing by drawing on memory and problem solving strategies.  We eventually translate this into actions.  Throughout the process the brain is constantly deciding what information to accept and what information to disregard.  The brain is seeking pleasure, excited by novelty and trying to avoid harm.  It acts like a giant “Quiz Master”, constantly scanning the environment for answers to questions it has generated and answers it is seeking.

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Become a Dream Building

By Shelley Roy

Everything you do begins as a thought or visualization in your imagination. The thought “It’s time to get out of bed,” precedes getting out of bed.  As Mike Dooley of TUT.com fame reminds us, “Thoughts Become Things.” Being intentional with your thinking impact the life you create.

Successful imagineers visualize the future in such vivid detail that it feels real.  Why not make a conscious effort to attract what you most want. You will draw into your life:

·         What you think about the most,

·         What you believe in most strongly,

·         What you expect on the deepest levels, and/or

·         What you imagine most vividly.

Imagineering is a way to consciously think about, believe in, expect and create the most vividly rewarding life possible. How do you do it?

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Guilt & Shame the Robbers of Your Mind

By Shelley Roy

Have you long held onto regrets from your past?  Perhaps words or actions spewed out of you in the heat of a moment, and now you wish you could take them back.  As you think about a past event do you realize the full impact of something you did or said and acknowledge the unexpected consequences.  Are you clinging to the memory of an old regret, hoping it will serve as a reminder to “never again?”  These thoughts of your unforgiven past steal your joy and pleasure in the present and almost all of your ability to create the future of your dreams.  Learning to forgive yourself rids your mind of wasted energy and clears the way for imagineering.

If you find yourself mired in the muck of your past here are five tips that you can take to free yourself and move forward more easily.  To begin this journey you will need awareness, desire and a strong commitment to forgive yourself.

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Transformational Life Skills

Creating a Whole New You

Change fixes the past

Transformation creates the future

Transformational Life Skills are not about fixing what is broken or learning to manage the day-to-day of life. Better, they are about freeing yourself from the constraints of the past and creating the future of your dreams.  Most people think of life skills as money management, time management, and daily living skills as well as the abilities necessary to get and keep a job. Though all of these are important, they are not transformational.  They are the basic skills for living.  Transformational life skills apply everyday in every way and take you into a future on the edge of your imagination. They require a systems level change in your thinking and beliefs.  Transformational life skills alter who you are, what you believe and how you act with the least amount of effort.  They literally transform your life. 

Transformational Life Skills help you create a completely new you.

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Transformational Life Skills: An Introduction

 

By: Shelley Roy

 

            Change fixes the past

      Transformation creates the future

Transformational Life Skills are not about fixing what is broken or learning to better manage the day-to-day of life, they are about freeing yourself from the constraints of the past and creating the future of your dreams. Most people think of life skills as money management, time management, daily living skills and the abilities necessary to get and keep a job. All of these are important; however they are not transformational. They are the basic skills for managing day-to-day living. Transformational life skills apply everyday in every way and take you into a future that you have only imagined to be possible. They require a systems level change in your thinking and beliefs. Transformational life skills alter who you are, what you believe and how you act. Developing them gives you the skills that you need to manage your life with less effort. They literally transform your life.

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The Leader Line
Topic: Developing a reference for leadership and responsibility.

Essential Question: Who do you want to be when no one is watching?
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Creating an Agreement Within

By: Glenn M. Smith
People have inquired about the article, “Shift Happens” regarding a preference for helping individuals shift their perceptions rather than promoting strategies on how to reward, punish or consequence others’ actions. I have often heard people say, “What’s wrong with using rewards and punishments? My parents/teachers/coaches/principals rewarded and punished me, and I turned out just fine.” My response to them is invariably, “And do you feel they loved or cared about you?” to which the reply is, “Yes.” Not discrediting successful experiences, I believe there is value in life lessons occurring among secure, loving or caring relationships that transmit values. However, life cannot guarantee we will all consistently encounter ideal conditions or relationships when we achieve goals, have problems or make mistakes.

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Superhero Me!
Topic: This lesson is designed to be used at any point in the school year or with any group of students or adults. This lesson is particularly helpful in establishing group norms or beliefs at the beginning of a school year prior to My Job/Your Job, and creating your organizational belief statement.

 

Essential Questions: Who do I want to be? How can I help others?

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The Lesson of the Cell Phone
By: Shelley A.W. Roy
Today the universe provided me with the opportunity to witness the kindness of others, and as it is with so many lessons in the life of a writer, presenter and teacher it came in a very unexpected way.

My son Duncan and I were heading to the airport in Bloomington, Minnesota, about a 70 minute drive, running right on schedule, when we hit one of the two seasons we have in Minnesota – road construction. (If you’re wondering the other season is winter.) Because we wanted to let him sleep in as long as possible, we left St. Cloud with very little extra travel time. As I was asking him for the time, I sensed myself becoming a bit anxious about getting through security in time to catch my flight. When we pulled to the curb, I quickly unloaded my four bag (yes I said four, two to check, a small roller-board and a backpack), I hugged Duncan, thanked him, told him I loved him and would miss him and wished him safe travels.


When I got into the security line and was getting myself organized, BAM! it hit me. I didn’t have my cell phone.  
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Shift Happens!
By: Glenn M. Smith
“As a life coach, I am much more interested in helping individuals shift their perceptions than in rewarding or consequencing their actions.”

What and who can we control? This is the question with which I begin every class I teach. Whether I am facilitating courses on self-development, parenting skills, managing, personal relationships, teaching, coaching, etc., I always come back to this one essential question. The answer, I believe, lies in our power to shift.
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It Ain’t Out There!
By: Shelley A.W. Roy
Recently several colleagues recommended Daniel Pink’s book Drive. According to the back cover, Pink draws on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, and exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does. I was interested because motivation is the short answer to why do we do what we do. In the book, Pink lays the foundation for questioning our present understanding of motivation. If Pink were familiar with Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) his case for the mismatch between knowing and doing would be even stronger. Knowing PCT would allow Pink to clearly show that motivation ain’t out there.
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Self-evaluation
By: Glenn Smith
One of the most valuable lessons I learned was the life skill of self-evaluation. I learned that many people spend their time evaluating others and/or worrying about how others are evaluating them. I further learned that people seem to be more focused on what is happening to them, rather than how they are happening in the world.
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Cyber Contract
Safety Comes First! Before turning your keys over to a young driver, you make sure they know the rules of the road and understand how to operate the vehicle safely. Technology shouldn’t be any different. As a parent forming agreements and teaching basic cyber safety is just as important. Take time to create a formal contract with your children on the use of cell phones, the internet, social networking, texting, and instant messaging. This sample contract is provided to start the discussion. What is most important here is the process you use to create the agreement.

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Tapping into Hidden Potential
By: Shelley A.W. Roy
How do you treat people? Do you treat them as who they have been in the past? Do you treat them as who they are right now? Or do you treat them as the people they can become? How you treat others reflects back to you through their actions. When you treat them based on who they have been in the past, you keep the past patterns of your relationships alive.
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Man Up!
By: Glenn Smith
When you hear the phrase “Man Up” what comes to mind? I remember when I was about 12 years old my sister, who was eight years my senior, came into my room and asked the question: “Who are better, men or women?” Without hesitation, I answered, “me.” I was stumped when she asked, “What are the reasons you would say that?”
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Learning to Be Heard and Understood
By: Shelley Roy
Most peoples’ frustrations with relationships stem from getting others to listen and from being understood. The good news is you can get others to listen to you. The bad news is that you will most likely need to change HOW you deliver information. You can’t make someone listen; you can change how you express yourself. The question you need to ask yourself is, “Do I really want others to listen?” People who are into the blame game speak and act in ways that disengage others. When someone doesn’t listen to you, it is a lot easier to blame that person than to take responsibility for your actions. Another strategy blame gamers use is to not speak up when they feel strongly about an issue. Not speaking up is a form of passive aggressive behavior, a way to coerce someone else to get what you want by keeping silent. Once you decide you really want the other person to listen to you, the next step is to learn to speak in a way that will engage the individual in paying attention to the message. The process is rather like being in a foreign country trying to figure out how to communicate.
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Why Become?
After Shelley and I wrote Creating Your BE-Print; Drafting Your Personal Blueprint for Living, people have asked us some extraordinary questions. What would be so great about everybody becoming who he or she wants to be? Would the world be a better place if everyone were working towards being who he or she wants to be? What if someone wants to be hurtful to others? What do you believe about human nature and the role it would play in a person’s progress toward becoming who he or she want to be? Would people become more "alike" as they work towards being who they want to be? How does anyone know who he or she is supposed to be?
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Jumping into Recess

This lesson provides students with concrete strategies for what to do if they feel they are being bullied. Students will explore a definition of bullying, create an anti-bullying jump rope rhyme and learn specific ways to handle mean behavior.
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And, So & Because: A Doorway to Peace
Have you ever felt tense and irritable? Challenged by what is happening in your life? Feeling as if the people around you are just making your life miserable? Do you wonder why that is?
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Bumping it up! Moving from a Human Feeling to a Human Being
How we live our lives day to day determines who we are. What we know about Perceptual Control Theory is that we can input information from various levels of perception. When we look at the world, we see a lot of things.
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Venn Meets Coercion
An activity and article for 5th-8th graders, suitable for advisory or as an interdisciplinary math and language arts lesson.
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MAKE YOUR TIME COUNT
“My current predicament is a direct result of my once warped decision-making. Little did I know, a seemingly rational decision could have used a little more thought. Now that I have an opportunity to reassess my decisions, I’ve realized that several of my most hasty choices were the cause of the derailment of my life. I’ve learned that time isn’t always a friend to life. You ask how so; well just look back on the past 3 years and what do you see?
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FORGIVENESS – AN UNFINISHED JOURNEY
“A person who forgives is not practicing an act but is a person devoted to a path.” I have always wanted to be the person who was able to forgive even in the most difficult of circumstances. Discussing and studying the essential characteristics and the benefits to those who adopt forgiveness as a way of life intrigues me. I have read numerous articles, books, and religious texts, and I have listened to several explanations, speeches, and sermons. Still, when I self-evaluate, I find I often fall short of my reference of a forgiving person. What has been more distressing is that I felt I was falling short spiritually. I understood the ramifications of holding on to resentments that I believed to be the poisoning of one’s own soul in the name of wanting others to suffer for their actions. Still, I would fall short again and again of being that merciful person I really wanted to be.
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Getting Into & Staying in The River of Joy & Well-being
Life is about living in a constant current of well-being and joy. For some it has been a long time since they stepped into the river; others expend a lot of energy trying to stay in the river and for a few the river has become home. If you are standing on the banks, start moving towards the river. If you are struggling to stay in, recognize that it may be time to surrender and flow with the river. If you are in the stream be aware of the moment you begin to fight the river or step towards its banks, and remember living in a state of well-being and joy should be effortless.
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Is it OK to Make a Mistake?
If you visit my home and take time to read the items that hang on the wall of all that is treasured, the refrigerator door, you will find a sign that says, “We the Smiths are not interested in blame, shame, fault, regrets or excuses - we are interested in how we are going to fix our mistakes.
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The Warp & Weft of Working With Teens

...This week I received a call from a friend who is a counselor and a middle school teacher. He works in a district in which a group of us has been working trying to change how people view behavior and how they manage themselves, especially when they work with others. He shared with me a conversation he had been involved with during his lunch break. He was sitting with several individuals who had been through the workshops over the past two summers, and he was listening to them share their views about the content of the training and the programs and support structure that have been put into place. Those sitting with him had no idea that for more than four years, he has studied these same ideas and has worked to integrate them into his interactions with his students and clients. The gist of the conversation was that what we were working to accomplish was never going to work because the practices we were recommending weren’t being ‘hard enough’ on these kids. They needed to be disciplined more severely.
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Four Classroom Agreements
As the school year begins across the U.S., educators and students alike are contemplating the upcoming school year. Fall is often a time of reflection and reorganizing our lives after the hustle and bustle of a summer of adventure and vacation. ---- In successful classrooms, teachers and students are members of a team. Individually and collectively, they ask and answer three basic questions during the team-forming process: “Who am I?” “Who are you?” and finally, “Who are we?” In answering these questions, in building classroom agreements, teachers and students build a firm foundation for the upcoming school year.
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The Secret to Understanding Human Behavior
When The success of The Secret, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol and the newly released movie Avatar offer strong evidence that everywhere and in every way people are realizing that our planet is composed of interconnected systems of energy and consciousness that extend far beyond the connections that we imagined in the past. At the center of this new understanding is the idea that every thought and everything is a bundle of potential energy, and that thoughts can become things.
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The Three Most Powerful Letters
                  -A-N-D-
We are surrounded by people whose minds are stuck in the linear, mechanical thinking of Descartes. This thinking is easily captured by two words: OR and BUT. Our use of these two words polarizes our thoughts; we engage in black and white thinking in which we are unable to recognize the power of AND thinking.
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Shifting Towards PEACE
When I hear the term “bully” I cringe because I know what typically will follow will be another set of labels that someone-- usually an adult--is going to give to the actions of others. In the 1960’s Stephen Karpman described what he called the drama triangle--placing individuals in three boxes on three points of a triangle and labeling them persecutor, victim, and rescuer.
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