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Boosting All Children's Social and Emotional Brain Power

Because children's brains are still developing during the K--12 years, educators can positively influence students' development, including strengthening the essential skills of empathy, self-management and problem-solving. Most social skill training groups involve a top-down process where adults teach young people what they should do. But the over-generalized, one-size-fits-all approach to social and problem-solving skills leads to a mental disconnect for students. Unsurprisingly, the fact that many young people often find such material to be boring or irrelevant to their own lives provides a significant roadblock to understanding and retention. Dr. Marie-Nathalie Beaudoin, one of the world's leading experts on children and brain development, shares award-winning techniques that connect with students' lives and concerns. Readers will find: * A research-based approach refined through ongoing work in public schools * Classroom exercises grouped by age, but adaptable for all grade levels * Lively, thought-provoking activities that relate to students' lives and keep them engaged and interested * Valuable content for anti-bullying initiatives and counseling programs * Strategies that positively shape individual students' emotional development, classroom dynamics, and overall school culture
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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsAbout the AuthorIntroductionSection 1. Understanding and Mobilizing the Brain's Inherent Social and Emotional Power1. What You REALLY Need to Know About the Brain!2. A Closer Look at Children's Skills3. Facilitating With the Brain in Mind and Enthusiasm at HeartSection 2. Building a Community of Self-Aware, Kind, and Patient Children4. The Choice Brain Versus the Lion Brain: Self-Awareness, Calm, and Impulse Control5. The Mind's Hidden Treasures: Efforts, Skills, Self-Worth, and Self-ConfidenceSection 3. Making Empathy, Consequence Thinking, Respect, and Responsibility More Easily Accessible in Children's Brains6. Shrinking Power: Keeping Problems Small7. Double-Vision Power: Compassion Comes From a Broader Perspective8. Anchoring Power: Rain or Shine, I Choose to Be Me9. Foresight Power: Considering the Future Implications of Our ChoicesSection 4. Empowering Young People to Competently Navigate Recurring Interactions Such as Bullying and Teasing10. Seeing Complex Relationships in Action11. ConclusionAppendix 1: A Note About the Brain Powers Research ProjectAppendix 2: Adaptation of Projects Across Different AgesReferencesIndex

About the Author

Marie-Nathalie Beaudoin, Ph.D. is the Training Director of the Narrative Therapy program at Bay Area Family Therapy Training Associates (BAFTTA) where she supervises the counseling of doctoral interns in schools from three school districts in Silicon Valley, California. In her private practice, she enjoys working with young people, their families, and their schools, on a wide variety of issues. Marie-Nathalie values bringing forth people's own wisdom and knowledges, through respectful, creative, and collaborative conversations. She has published numerous professional articles, has been featured in several magazines such as the California Educator and Educational Leadership, and is known internationally for her entertaining, thought provoking, and inspiring workshops. She was recently invited to produce three videotapes with Alexander Street Press (one which is specifically on school work). Marie-Nathalie has won several grants and awards, with the most recent one focusing on the effectiveness of narrative therapy based group activities. She is the author of several successful books such as Working with groups to enhance relationships (1998), Responding to the culture of bullying & disrespect: New perspectives on collaboration, compassion and responsibility (2004, 2009); Creating a positive School Culture: How principals and teachers can work together (2004); and the popular paperback for parents, teachers, and therapists titled The SKiLL-ionaire in Every Child: Boosting Children's Socio-Emotional Skills Using the Latest in Brain Research (2010) (sample at She has been the recipient of several prestigious awards such as a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant (SSHRC), a Canadian Foundation for the Advancement of Research grant (FCAR), the John F. Kennedy University best psychology professor award (JFKU), and more recently the Shine A Light narrative research fund (SAL). Also availabler from the author: "From Bullies to Buddies"


"This book comes from one of the world's leading experts on children's skill development and provides not just theory backed by research, but an applied approach to skill development that's already been refined and proven by public school application processes. Classroom exercises are grouped by age even though many cross over grade levels, and provide educators with specific activities, with each exercise including time frame, supportive materials, educational goal overview, and special considerations." -- James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief "Marie-Nathalie's ideas about how to boost children's socio-emotional skills are inspiring and refreshing! As a School Social Worker, I have delighted in seeing the amazed look on students' faces when they "get" how their brain works and how to harness it to be more of who they want to be. They become engaged participants in individual sessions as well as in the classroom, while teachers learn easy-to-use tools to boost what's already working instead of focusing on problem behaviors. Amongst many useful ideas, I have found the use of the super-highway metaphor most effective in teaching about the relationship between neuro-pathways and behavior." -- Caroline Tremblay, Social Worker "The author has a way of clearly and succinctly stating the significance of the complexity of the brain based research as it relates to student decision-making that leads to higher levels of emotional stability, self-efficacy and individual intelligence." -- Laura Linde, Mentor/ Field Supervisor/ Coordinator

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