Parents, students, and educators in Lafayette Parish were able to participate in a two-week experience to learn about psychological first aid, mindfulness and positive psychology interventions thanks to a collaboration with Lafayette GEAR UP through a U.S.
Department of Education federally-funded grant.Participants utilized both personal and professionalapplications of positive psychology. The facultyandstaff who led the experience reviewed topics suchas mindfulness, self-care, utilizing an individual’sstrengths, growth mindset, empathy, well-being, grit,and happiness.“I enjoy being able to help educators access toolsand learn skills that will improve their classroomexperience,” said Landrum Alexander, project coordinator.“Happy teachers help create happy students.Anything that we can do to help support teachers andempower them is our goal.”Other faculty and staff from Louisiana Tech who assistedin this effort included Mary MargaretLivingston, Brandon Waits, Julie Shrubb, Erika Jones,and Diane Madden from the Department ofPsychology and Behavioral Sciences and the Scienceand Technology Education Center (SciTEC) divisions.
Grambling State’s Dr. Coleen Speed also collaboratedfor the learning experience. Coursera, a digital learning platform utilized by Tech, was accessed by the participants in order to ensure they had opportunities to complete a professional Psychological First Aid credential through the engagement. Megan Breaux, partnership and data coordinator for Lafayette Parish GEAR UP, said this program would be essential not only for the participants, but forthe future children they would engage with and teach.“As a first-generation college student from a low-incomebackground, I know the importance of thesocial and emotional learning competencies, mindset,grit and positive psychology as a whole, when itcomes to helping students develop a sense of belongingon a college campus,” Breaux said. “This is also one of my major areas of research for my doctoralstudies, so I am excited about this initiative on a very personal level.”
Twenty-five educators, four parents, and two graduates signed up to participate over the two-weekperiod. “Educators are essential to this project because they are instruments of change,” Breaux said.“Our teachers, administrators and counselors willbe champions for implementing positive psychologywithin the school system. Since GEAR UP operates ona sustainability model, we support educators sothat they may provide effective support beyond ourcohorts.”“We in the College of Education at Louisiana TechUniversity are grateful for our partnership withLafayette Parish GEAR UP that led to this timely initiative,”said Associate Dean Dr. Lindsey Vincent. “Welook forward to many more years of service and collaborationwith a shared goal of positively impactingthe lives of youth and their stakeholders in the Lafayetteregion.”