[cross-posted from Connected Principals]
Jen ratio: the total positive interactions among people in a shared environment divided by the negative interactions; a measurement of the social well being of any shared environment. (Dacher Keltner, What’s your Jen ratio?).
Promoting positive and supportive school cultures and environments is among the very highest of our priorities as principals and school leaders. We all believe strongly that a happy and safe school is a prerequisite for learning, and we recognize that this is characterized by positive social interactions that lift our moods and enhance our joy and motivation for learning.
Jane McGonigal‘s excellent and inspiring new book, Reality is Broken, delves into the intersection of positive psychology (the happiness movement) and gaming, and offers many ways we can consider bring gaming into reality and improve it.
In one of the book’s many sections I know will be fascinating and compelling for educators and “connected principals,” a chapter entitled Happiness Hacking,” she writes about “transitory public sociality,” and for this reader it spoke directly to our goal for our schools to be positive places of support, encouragement, and good will.
We experience it in all kinds of public places: sidewalks, parks, trains, restaurants, for example. These transitory social interactions, when they happen, are usually brief and anonymous: we catch another’s eyes, we smile, we make room for someone else, we pick up something someone has dropped, we go on our own way. But these brief encounters, taken cumulatively, have an aggregate impact on our mood over time. (more…)