Dr. Adam Cox helps teachers greet 2013 with renewed purpose

Trinity College School teachers welcomed the New Year with a day of professional development on Monday, January 7th, featuring guest speaker Dr. Adam Cox, a clinical psychologist and author.

In the morning, faculty members explored the eight “habits of mind” Dr. Cox wrote about in his groundbreaking book, No Mind Left Behind. Then teachers met in break-out groups to discuss these habits of mind, with a specific view to planning how they could be further implemented in classes right away. In small groups, faculty members talked about how we can continually live the School’s mission statement – developing habits of the heart and mind for a life of purpose and service – in the academic programme. In his presentation, Dr. Cox mentioned how young people crave the loving, supportive environment that a school like TCS provides; he said that we should talk about this and be open about it, not take it as a given.

In the afternoon, faculty members were exposed to Dr. Cox's latest research about young people's search for purpose, and how a sense of purpose is such an essential element in kids feeling grounded, secure in themselves and happy. Dr. Cox made an impassioned plea for educators and parents to take the wisdom of their children and students seriously. He stressed that childhood is not just pre-adulthood, but a stage worthy of attention, validation and really being listened to, not dismissed. He added that it is important for young people to engage in authentic tasks, or “real work” that has real purpose, and that this can motivate young people tremendously. Week Without Walls is a wonderful example of TCS students doing meaningful, school mission-related work.

As an aside, Dr. Cox mentioned the importance of animals to young people, and how having a dog or family pet, even chickens, gives both comfort and life skills to children, and also serves as a great antidote to the relentless, faceless pressure of students’ online lives. To learn more about Dr. Cox, visit www.dradamcox.com.

Faculty members left energized and ready to tackle the coming weeks of school and make TCS an even better community in which to live and learn.

- By Myke Healy, director of teaching & learning