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Lea offers her audience a unique blend of science and practice. As a leading positive psychology researcher and president of the International Positive Psychology Association, Lea is deeply active in the science. Her warm, personal style, practical way of thinking combined with her extensive work with schools and parents worldwide means her audiences find her science real and practices actionable. Lea's teachings have resonated with audiences in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Amsterdam, China, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand and South Africa. 

 
 

For Parents


Keynotes

Workshops

For Schools


Keynotes

Workshops

For Organizations


Keynotes & Workshops

 
 

Keynote Presentations


Strength-Based Parenting

Small Shifts Can Make a Positive Difference in Your Kids




Lea ’s research shows that parents can build inner resilience in their kids by using the science of Strength-Based Parenting (SBP) to help their children to see and use their own strengths to navigate life’s challenges. In this presentation, based her on book, The Strength Switch: How the New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Can Help Your Child and Your Teen To Flourish, Lea helps parents steer themselves away from negativity and criticism by offering a scientifically proven strength-based approach to parenting. She shares positive psychology tips parents can use to cultivate their child’s inherent strengths. Parents leave motivated to make changes immediately after Lea shares that this small shift in approach can help their children build resilience, optimism and achievement.

After attending parents will be able to:

  • Recognize three elements that make up a true strength to more easily and consistently discover talents in children;

  • Use specific techniques to deal with problem-behaviors in more constructive ways; and

  • Interact with kids using positive emotions to deal with difficult situations and emotions.


Strength-Based Teaching

Bringing Out the Best in Students & Teachers

Three decades of research clearly shows the advantages of taking a strength-based approach for students, including greater levels of happiness at school, higher student engagement, smoother transitions from kindergarten to elementary school, more successful adjustment from elementary to middle school, and higher levels of academic achievement.  Research also shows benefits for teachers who learn how to identify and utilize their own strengths. Lea Waters PhD weaves together her science with concrete examples and best practices to provide the audience with the compelling case for adopting a strengths approach in schools.

Audience take aways:

  • Key research findings that clearly links strengths to wellbeing and academic achievement;

  • Best practices for introducing strengths into the classroom

  • Practical methods for how to embed strengths into the staffroom.


Making Wellbeing Visible in Schools

Schools across the world are aiming to turn wellbeing policy into practice. To address this problem Lea Waters PhD, a trained psychologist and positive psychology expert, designed Visible Wellbeing™ which combines the science of wellbeing with the science of learning to make wellbeing visible in all classes and across co-curricular. In this presentation, Lea shares the Visible Wellbeing tool kit of flexible wellbeing practices that go beyond traditional wellbeing programs. She provides techniques that help teachers to use the learning process itself as a delivery mechanism to build student wellbeing. Visible Wellbeing aims to help everyone thrive at school and the training and techniques shared are equally relevant to staff, teaching, non-teaching, and parents as they are to students as a way to build a culture of wellbeing across the entire school. Lea weaves together her science with concrete school best practices to provide the audience with the compelling case for adopting a Visible Wellbeing approach in schools.

Audience take aways:

  • Knowledge of techniques that help teachers to use the learning process itself as a delivery mechanism to build student wellbeing;

  • Able to help students and staff to more clearly see their own and other’s wellbeing using Visible Wellbeing practices;

  • Understand how to use the SEARCH framework to help students and staff more systematically build wellbeing; and

  • Facilitate learning through the visible wellbeing classroom process.


Strength-Based Parenting for Kids on the Spectrum

How Small Shifts Can Make a Big Difference

Parents with kids on the spectrum are all too familiar with being told about the deficits and challenges their children face. Yet, what happens when we consider the upside that comes along with having a different neurotype? Like all kids, those along the spectrum have both strengths and weaknesses – the two don’t cancel each other out. Building up strengths can occur at the same time as we work with challenges. The problems and differences for kids on the spectrum don’t negate the many strengths these children have and yet it is typical for schools, psychologists and others to focus on the negative.

 Strength-based parenting is an approach that helps parents see the upside, it provides a new way to see and enable kids along the spectrum and to build happy, peaceful family dynamics. By intentionally seeing and building strengths in your children (and yourself) you:

  • Can focus on the positives and thus, put the negative into perspective;

  • Build off the confidence of your child;

  • See the big picture;

  • Use strengths to help overcome challenges;

  • Connect your child with people who have similar strengths and passions; and

  • Breathe a sigh of relief and see a positive pathway forward.


Strengths for Students

Lea’s Signature Topic for Students

Lea Waters, PhD, shares with students how they can take a strengths-based approach to dealing with the common stress of school. Students will discover how the school journey can be a positive one by taking a Growth Mindset to help grow life skills for the future; and that the point of school isn't just about growing their grade point average. Students will also learn to identify stress and understand their body's stress response to enable a proactive approach to the management of stress and normalize the often-felt feelings of overwhelm.

This presentation looks at how students can leverage their unique Character Strengths to assist with better studying, retention of information and maintaining wellbeing during this journey, in addition to looking at gratitude in particular which has been shown to help buffer against stress.

After attending, students will be able to:

  • Understand the Fight/Flight/Freeze Response and how to identify stress;

  • Understand Growth Mindset;

  • Know how to utilize Character Strengths to help with studying, wellbeing and buffering against stress.


Gratitude at Work

Hearts, Minds & the Bottom Line

Does your workplace suffer from Gratitude Deficit Disorder?

In my own research on the application of positive psychology to business cultures I have found that gratitude is a core, but often overlooked, aspect of creating a healthy workplace culture. This presentation weaves together science from organizational psychology, business and positive psychology together with workplace examples to provide the audience with an understanding of gratitude at work. Why it is important. How they can foster more gratitude and what benefits they can expect when they do.

Audience members will learn:

  • The benefits of gratitude at work;

  • Why gratitude is suppressed at work;

  • How to foster more gratitude at work.


Strengths at Work

Unlocking Energy & Engagement

We’ve all heard the saying “play to your strengths”. But what does this really mean when it comes to work? As leaders, how can we help our staff play to their strengths?

Research by the Gallup Institute found clear bottom-line benefits to being a strength-based workplace including lower turnover, increased productivity and happier customers. This presentation weaves together science from organizational psychology, business and positive psychology together with workplace examples to provide the audience with an understanding of strengths at work.

Audience members will learn:

  • The benefits of strengths at work.

  • What blocks us from seeing strengths.

  • How to identify and amplify strengths.



Visible Wellbeing Workshops

 

Lea offers half-day (choose one from the list below), full-day (‘Make Wellbeing Visible in Schools’ plus your choice of one other module below), or two-day workshops (includes the four modules below).

 

Strength-Based Parenting

Small Shifts Can Make a Positive Difference in Your Kids

Three decades of research clearly shows the advantages of taking a strength-based approach for students, including greater levels of happiness at school, higher student engagement, smoother transitions from kindergarten to elementary school, more successful adjustment from elementary to middle school, and higher levels of academic achievement.  Research also shows benefits for teachers who learn how to identify and utilize their own strengths. Lea Waters PhD weaves together her science with concrete examples and best practices to provide the audience with the compelling case for adopting a strengths approach in schools.

Audience take aways:

  • Key research findings that clearly links strengths to wellbeing and academic achievement;

  • Best practices for introducing strengths into the classroom

  • Practical methods for how to embed strengths into the staffroom.


Making Wellbeing Visible in Schools

An Introduction to Visible Wellbeing

Visible Wellbeing Module 1

Schools across the world are aiming to turn wellbeing policy into practice. To address this problem Lea Waters PhD, a trained psychologist and positive psychology expert, designed Visible Wellbeing™ which combines the science of wellbeing with the science of learning to make wellbeing visible in all classes and across co-curricula. In this presentation, Lea shares the Visible Wellbeing tool kit of flexible wellbeing practices that go beyond traditional wellbeing programs. She provides techniques that help teachers to use the learning process itself as a delivery mechanism to build student wellbeing. Visible Wellbeing aims to help everyone thrive at school and the training and techniques shared are equally relevant to staff, teaching, non-teaching, and parents as they are to students as a way to build a culture of wellbeing across the entire school. Lea weaves together her science with concrete school best practices to provide the audience with the compelling case for adopting a Visible Wellbeing approach in schools.

Core Learning Objectives:

  • Latest statics in youth mental health.

  • Research showing how and why wellbeing is a key resource for students to build.

  • Key research findings that clearly links wellbeing and academic achievement.

  • Introduction to the Visible Wellbeing ‘See-Feel-Hear’ practice.

  • Practical methods and examples for how to make wellbeing more visible in the classroom.


Strength-Based Teaching

Bringing Out the Best in Students and Teachers

Visible Wellbeing Module 2

Every teacher wants to bring out the best in their students, yet our broader education systems are often deficit-oriented and focus more on poor performance, problem behaviour, and correcting weakness than on building strength. What’s more, in the day-to-day rush of schools and with pressures to get through curriculum, strengths can get left behind which is demoralizing for teachers and students alike.

This workshop explores three decades of research showing the advantages of taking a strength- based approach for students, including greater levels of happiness at school, higher student engagement, smoother transitions from kindergarten to elementary school, more successful adjustment from elementary to middle school, and higher levels of academic achievement.

Lea will also share the latest research showing the benefits of strength-based teaching for the teachers themselves. Teachers will learn how to identify and utilize their own strengths and will engage in the practice of the strengths spotting technique to better see strengths in their children. Educators will leave this workshop with a range of other teaching strategies that can be used to take a strength-based approach in the classroom.

Key Learning Objectives:

  • Key research findings linking strengths to wellbeing and academic achievement.

  • Best practices for introducing strengths into the classroom.

  • Practical methods for how to embed strengths into the staffroom.


Managing Emotions to Enhance Learning

Visible Wellbeing Module 3

According to neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor, “Although many of us think of ourselves as thinking creatures that feel, biologically we are feeling creatures that think.” Indeed, the latest findings from neuroscience debunk the old idea of cognition and emotion being located in separate areas of the brain and, instead, show that academic learning is a deeply emotional process and calls on areas of the brain that intertwine cognition and emotions, most especially the pre-frontal cortex.

According to the principles of brain-based learning, emotions affect a student’s ability to absorb, process and store information. Add to that the latest research from the field of positive psychology which shows that positive emotions enrich a student’s cognitive functioning in areas such as brainstorming, memory, creativity and lateral thinking, and we now have a convincing reason to teach with emotions in mind.

The role that emotions play in complex learning encourages teachers to think more clearly about the emotional climate needed in class to ensure productive learning. This workshop will look at how emotions effect learning and will take teachers through the circumplex model of emotions. Teachers will assess the emotional climate of their own classrooms and will be given strategies to manage negative emotions and enhance positive emotions.

Core Learning Objectives:

  • Key research findings that links emotions to cognition.

  • An audit of the emotional climate of your classroom.

  • Practical methods for how to manage negative emotions and enhance positive emotions.


Building Positive Relationships in Schools

Visible Wellbeing Module 4

Schools have always been both academic institutions and social institutions and can offer an antidote to the rising levels of youth loneliness. The field of positive psychology provides schools with simple and easy ways to help students meet their social needs and thus be ready for and engaged in learning.

After exploring the research evidence on relation to school belonging, this workshop will take teachers through an Appreciative Inquiry exercise that helps them to identify what is at the heart of positive relationships at school. Once these factors have been identified teachers will work in groups to find ways to more intentionally and strategically bring these factors into the social climate of their classroom. This workshop will introduce teachers to strategies such as active-constructive responding and the use of brain breaks to enhance a sense of connection amongst students.

Core Learning Objectives:

  • Research showing how and why school belonging is necessary for schools to build.

  • Appreciative Inquiry exercise to help teachers identify the factors that create belonging in

  • their schools.

  • Practical methods and examples for how to create positive relationships.