Summer Institute for Educators

What Is the Greater Good Summer Institute for Educators?

A quantum shift in how we educate our children is taking place in schools all over the world. Academic knowledge alone is no longer sufficient in helping students to cultivate happy, productive, and meaningful lives, and to make a positive contribution to their communities and the world. Indeed, a 2014 study found that children's emotional health and prosocial (kind and helpful) behavior had a greater long-term impact than academic success on their well-being as adults. In addition, the rapidly growing body of research on social-emotional learning, mindfulness, ethical development, mindsets, identity, purpose, and other non-academic topics--or what we at the Greater Good Science Center call the “Science of Prosocial Human Development and Education”--is deepening our understanding of the learning process and, at the same time, challenging our beliefs about what exactly we are educating for. Schools are beginning to address this gap in student development by adopting social-emotional learning, mindfulness, character education, and other non-academic programs. Yet, to be truly impactful, the precepts of these programs need to be integrated in developmentally and culturally appropriate ways into all areas of education, such as school and classroom climate, teacher-student relationships, adult relationships and well-being, content, and pedagogy. The Greater Good Science Center’s Summer Institute for Educators provides education professionals from all over the world the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the science of prosocial human development and, most importantly, to learn how the practical application of this science can be used to help them build classrooms and schools where both the students and adults thrive and where education becomes about more than just test scores and future job skills.

What Will You Experience?

In addition to listening to brief lectures and learning practical applications of the science, participants will engage in deep self-reflection, thought-provoking discussions, and collaborative strategy sessions as they consider how this science applies to the various aspects of education mentioned above. They will also have the opportunity to informally share with each other what they are already doing to create thriving classrooms and schools. In order to form a strong support network--one that will last long after the Institute is over--participants will be divided by job category into “families” of eight to ten who learn, explore, and play together throughout the six days. Participants will also have plenty of opportunities to connect with other educators outside their families. Ultimately, participants will leave empowered with cutting-edge, science-based, culturally relevant, and developmentally appropriate strategies, tools, and processes to implement these important aspects of student and adult development in their school environments.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:
  • Understand how the integration of social-emotional learning, mindfulness, and character education creates a comprehensive and holistic blueprint for the social, emotional, and ethical development of both students and adults;
  • Understand and practice how to view education through the lens of “prosocial human development", including social-emotional learning, mindfulness, identity, purpose, mindset, and ethical development;
  • Examine and understand how our beliefs about social, emotional, and ethical development affect our work with students and as education professionals, in general;
  • Learn and create culturally and developmentally appropriate, research-based tools, strategies, and processes for integrating the science of prosocial human development into many areas of education, including the teacher-student relationship, student and adult well-being, school and classroom climate, content, and pedagogy;
  • Develop strategies for sharing this work with others back home.

Who Should Attend?

Pre-K through university-level educators, counselors, psychologists, school and district-level administrators, and pre-service teacher and administrator educators who are interested in cultivating the prosocial development and well-being of students and the adults who work with them.

How to Apply

We are no longer accepting applications for the summer of 2017. The application window for the 2018 Summer Institutes will be announced in the fall of 2017.