ABOUT OUR APPROACH
Research Psychologist, Parent Coach, Positive Psychology Practitioner
Ellen Feig Gray
International Education Consultant
I'm trained as a research psychologist, with a specialty in developmental psychology. Recently, I became a certified positive psychology practitioner and coach. My interest has always been in the field of education, and I have the utmost respect for teachers who show up every day to shape young minds and hearts. I've often felt aligned with them as I parented my son, always acutely aware of their power to shape his values, attitudes, and motivation to succeed.
I’m a certified teacher, a writer, and a professional learning facilitator who spent twelve years in the classroom before becoming an education consultant. I am particularly passionate about creating spaces where people are seen rather than sorted and where they feel so valued that they can’t help but want to learn and share. These are the spaces I help teachers create. They're the ones I want for my own children, too.
It's interesting, looking back on where we've come from. Despite the fact that we've worked in different fields, we share much in common, personally and professionally. We're both highly sensitive people, and this serves us well as parents, friends, and professionals. We've always been able to recognize and appreciate the complexities in every situation we face. We respect the complexities in the people that we learn with and work with and serve, too. This is why we're drawn to design thinking.
While we might recommend resources, protocols, tools, and approaches in this space and in our work on the ground, we'll never recommend a program, a specific curriculum, or dedication to any single set of ideas. Instead, we will consistently invite you to design compassionate classrooms with us.
Empathy fuels design thinking. Our work begins by making careful observations, interviewing people who ask for and need our help, and immersing ourselves, as much as possible, in their worlds. Once we've defined an entry point for our work together, we will brainstorm a variety of solutions with the people we serve. Then, we'll implement the best of them and use what we learn from this process to improve or iterate upon our approach. Inasmuch as possible, we try to remain at the back of the process or on the sidelines, where we can assess progress and offer feedback. Your wins are your own, and we love celebrating them with you.
Designing compassionate classrooms is wholehearted, messy, and very human work. There are no quick solutions, bulletproof packages, or lift and drop programs that help people become closer and kinder to one another. In our experience, this kind of growth is the result of greater thinking. Design thinking. That's why this is our approach.