The desire to be happy and live a good life has been a constant throughout history. In these incredibly important adolescent years, creating opportunities and encouraging teenagers to open their hearts to the world, to others, and to themselves is the most worthy and important endeavor adults can provide to them. Teaching What Matters arrives at the right time. Rates of anxiety, depression, and chronic stress for teenagers and young adults are on the rise. Social-emotional learning along with ‘teaching to the whole child’ has seen increased interest from parents, educators, principals, businesses, the general public and even government agencies. Teaching What Matters is written by a life-long teacher for any practitioner interested in fostering social and emotional skills into an existing curriculum or classroom. This book distills Banno’s transformative and widely-popular high school course into a guidebook that empowers teenagers to explore the science of happiness and altruism. Teaching What Matters is infused with practical lessons, learning objectives, overarching reflection and discussion questions, summations of emerging research in positive psychology and other academic disciplines, assessments, and teaching strategies. Teaching What Matters will provide the agency for teenagers to enhance happiness and kindness in their lives and in the lives of others.
Steve A. Banno, Jr. is an award-winning social studies educator and creator of the widely-popular high school course exploring the science of happiness, kindness, and altruism, which he has taught over his twenty-five-year career. He lives near Cape Cod, Massachusetts with his wife, son and their dog.
Chapter 1: An Invitation to Teach What Matters
Chapter 2: Redefining Success
Precept #1: In order to live a successful life, we must figure out what it means to get a life.
Precept #2: Money, as a marker of success, buys happiness just not in the ways we think it does.
Precept #3: Keep it real. Develop an inner integrity to live successfully
Precept #4: Creating and committing to meaningful life goals liberate us from the tyranny of passive living.
Chapter 3: Happiness as an Inside Job. Developing emotional courage, befriending difficult emotions, cultivating positive emotions, optimism and an attitude of gratitude.
Precept #5: To be human is to be emotional, so befriend your emotions.
Precept #6: Let positivity reign. Cultivate positivity, positive emotions and optimism.
Chapter 4: It’s About Time: Giving Some Intention to Our Attention
Precept #7: Maximize aliveness by examining your relationship with time.
Precept #8: Exploring mindfulness helps to better understand the anatomy of the present and calmness in those moments.
Precept #9: Savor more and improve your relationship with time.
Precept #10: Redefine your relationship with time by rediscovering playfulness and flow.
Chapter 5: The Heart of Altruism: Compassion, Human Goodness, and Helping Others.
Precept #11: The world is not broken. There is another side to human nature. One that is constructive, benevolent, and good.
Precept #12: Heroism is always accessible and able to be chosen. We are all heroes in waiting.
Precept #13: In search of the antecedents of human goodness altruism turns up not only in nature but also in the evolutionary history of animals and humans.
Precept #14: Human nature is full of goodness, altruism, compassion and kindness.
In a world of endless access to infinite data, we need to free teachers to do what they set out to do in the first place-help us raise connected, engaged and healthy children.
Steve Banno, Jr. has written a groundbreaking book for educators that will surely transform the lives of their students. In Teaching What Matters he skillfully and comprehensively integrates what we know from Positive Psychology about how to live a happy and meaningful life and translates it into a ready-made course that may be the most impactful course one ever teaches. Through his careful weaving together of evidence-based research with thoughtful activities and reflections that invite students into hands-on experiences, the course laid out in this book inspires the best in students and empowers them to discover for themselves what it means to live an authentic, valued, and meaningful life.
What does it mean to be educated? “Knowing how to be happy” may not be a common response to this question. Yet, happiness is what we all seek in life. Steve Banno, Jr. provides a blueprint for educators and those who work with youth on how to teach the “soft skills” of success in life: happiness and altruism. This book expertly intertwines the science of happiness, educational research, personal experience, and suggested lessons to provide a strong argument for teaching happiness in primary and secondary schools. Banno illustrates a different model for education than the model currently provided by the academic industrial complex. Teaching What Matters helps those of us who have thought, “I wish someone had taught me this earlier,” put words into actions by teaching the next generation the true meaning of success.
There is a lot of heavy lifting in education. One of the biggest challenges is helping students grow into their true potential. Steve Banno, Jr. has created a practical classroom guide to doing exactly that. This book will help focus on what truly matters enabling students not only to be successful, but to make the world a better place.