Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Smiles and Smiles of Heart

You sense it the minute you walk in...then, you see it. Smiley faces are ubiquitous here. They adorn the bookshelves, the filing cabinet and even the hole punch! The students have come to respect this symbol and enjoy adding to the collection. Who knew that there were so many products embossed with this yellow happy face?

You may be surprised to learn that this is The Learning Centre at Kwantlen University in Surrey, B.C. (I'll bet that you're smiling now.)

The smiley face serves as a visual reminder of what the students encounter here - a place with heart. Dave, Joan and the others who work here have created an environment that is safe for the students, many who are away from home for the first time. In fact, Joan is often referred to as "Academic Mom".

What does the smiley face represent to the people who spend time in The Learning Centre?
  • safe environment
  • reassurance
  • encouragement
  • fun
  • positive side to learning
  • openness
This wasn't always the case. When Joan first began at The Learning Centre, she noticed that the overall tone was one that was quite depressing. In an effort to bring up the morale, she began to hide a happy face in the documents that she was preparing. The students began to look for it...it became fun...and, the lesson is that whether you look for sadness or happiness, you'll often find it. With a change in focus, there was a change in mood.

The same thing happens when you transform your stress - your heart helps melt your worries and leads to:
  • increased self-confidence
  • reduced fear
  • greater ability to bounce back from stressful events
  • learning becomes enjoyable
  • more fun
The motto at Kwantlen University is Consider. Compare. Choose.

I'd like to suggest that when it comes to stress you do the same. Consider how stress is affecting you. Compare programmes & results. Choose to change your perception by activating the power of your heart.

Thoughts? Questions?

3 comments:

  1. No, I have no thoughts or comments except to endorse whatever is happening there. I wish that we had places like that for our children here too. Some play schools and primary schools do have such environments here, but they are too few for my liking.

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  2. Love the smiley face display. I also am thrilled you are addressing the issues of the heart which is the source.

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  3. Ramana, This was a surprise to me as it was a university setting. I think the thing it has done was to give the students something to rally around that was positive.

    Pat, Literally & figuratively.

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