I have long been a fan of David Brooks, his grounded wisdom rooted in research, artfully curated and articulated so even the most novice of us can grabble with big, meaningful ideas otherwise reserved for experts. I devoured his book, The Social Animal: This Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement, and quote excerpts from it frequently when leading professional development for educators, as he so adeptly wove together learning, human development and social connections in ways that are not always explored adequately in Teacher Training Programs.
I fell in love with Brooks’ writing all over again when I read his recent piece in the NY Times, Students Learn From People They Love. I couldn’t agree more, and was reminded of the wildly popular Ted Talk by Rita Pierson: Every Kid Needs a Champion. He cites the work of Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, who I was fortunate to learn from as my professor while earning a Doctorate at USC. Immordino-Yang’s research illustrates that “everything is integrated…. our emotions literally affect us in the gut”. We can choose to acknowledge or ignore this reality, but the connected nature of our hearts, bodies, and minds will continue to impact us all in infinite ways.
Brooks closes his piece by challenging, “How would you design a school if you wanted to put relationship quality at the core?” I can tell you one way I would do it: Fusion.