Ty Binfet, Examining Kindness in Schools: Exploring Student’s Perspectives
As a former classroom teacher and school principal, Asst. Prof. Ty Binfet knows firsthand the importance of positive learning environments and their impact on students. In his first year in the Faculty of Education at UBC’s Okanagan Campus, Binfet conducted a large study involving 1,753 students from School District No. 23 (Central Okanagan) in which he explored students’ perceptions of kindness. Working with undergraduate research assistants, Binfet and his team visited 73 classrooms throughout Kelowna during the spring 2013 term.
Analyzing the responses of 1,753 students is no easy task and complete results are anticipated in the fall of 2013. As educators, parents, and researchers increasingly understand the importance of using positive approaches to creating healthy learning environments for students, Binfet’s research is important as it helps identify the mechanisms within schools that best contribute to creating conditions that promote kind behaviour in students.
Asst. Prof. Stephen Berg (with principal investigator Shazhan Amed, clinical assistant professor in the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Dept. of Pediatrics, UBC’s Vancouver campus) share a $199,990 Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant. Translation, Evaluation and Learnings Exchanged for Sustainable Childhood Obesity Prevention Through Community Engagement
Sustainable Childhood Obesity Prevention through Community Engagement (SCOPE) is rooted in the principles of community-based participatory research (CBPR), a method designed to respond to community needs by taking the time to invest in community engagement. It aims to bridge the knowledge to action gap via its integrated community approach to preventing childhood obesity. SCOPE’s knowledge-users are individuals, organizations, agencies and sectors that will
play a critical role in advancing our progress in childhood obesity prevention in BC, in Canada, and beyond.
Intimate learning environments
The Innovative Learning Centre (ILC) is a studio-based environment that encourages experimentation and engagement. The ILC was conceived by Assoc. Prof. Susan Crichton, the ILC’s founding director, and Prof. Lynn Bosetti, the Dean of the Faculty of Education. The Innovative Learning Centre provides appropriate tools and spaces for educators, entrepreneurs, dreamers and thinkers to imagine the future and explore innovations in teaching and learning.
The Centre for Research and Mindful Engagement (CRME) is a space that guided by the notion of “habits of the mind” or the “dispositions” of good thinkers. Like many others, researchers at the centre believe that such transformative student engagement is often related to the development of habits of mind. The centre’s interest in engagement moves past perception of merely participation toward an understanding of engagement that involves being empowered by learning. The centre is involved in development initiatives that seek to better understand how to more mindfully engage students across curriculum.
Close ties to businesses and organizations
Assoc. Prof. Susan Crichton, the ILC’s founding director, and Prof. Lynn Bosetti, the Dean of the Faculty of Education are working with local partners to “design the future” of teaching and learning. The centre is collaborating with Accelerate Okanagan, FreshGrade, Musical Voice, Mathtoons, and Thinkable.
New programs and courses
SMARTinEducation™ Managing Director, Bonnie Thorne, delivers this evidence-based program for educators that emphasizes the cultivation of mindfulness. Participants use tools such as meditation and body awareness to develop the capacity to recognize and transform challenging emotions into insight, self-acceptance, and vitality. Participants develop skills such as kindness, compassion, and forgiveness through exercises and discussions connected to their experience in the classroom.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Training for faculty and staff is a program modeled on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, as developed by Prof. Jon Kabat-Zinn and taught at the University of Massachusetts Medical School since 1979. The program was featured in the Bill Moyer’s PBS documentary Healing and the Mind and is the subject of Kabat-Zinn’s bestselling book, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of the Body and Mind to Face Stress.
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