Expanding Perspectives, Increasing and Potential, and Improving Lives
Enhancing Psychological Flexibility for Students and Staff: The Prosocial ACT Matrix Approach: February 26, 9 AM-12 PM and March 7, 9 AM-12 PM
How to Ignite Student Motivation, Social-Emotional Learning, and Prosocial Behavior
In this interactive session, participants will be introduced to the ACT Matrix (developed by Dr. Kevin Polk), a powerful visualization tool grounded in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Training (ACT). Through experiential exercises, educators will learn how the ACT Matrix builds psychological flexibility by mapping what matters most alongside the students' inner struggles. Psychological flexibility is supported by current research as a cornerstone of mental health, social-emotional learning, and well-being.
I will demonstrate how the ACT Matrix core principles strengthen self-awareness, perspective-taking, and values alignment in struggling students by fostering empowerment without dependency. Educators will participate in concrete skills to facilitate intrinsic motivation and growth using guided demonstrations, reflective questions, and group discussions.
By the end of the workshop, participants will be equipped to implement the ACT Matrix in their ongoing work and relationships with students to promote self-efficacy, motivation, and resilience. Whether enhancing college readiness or supporting at-risk youth, this tool provides an evidence-based way to unlock student potential while avoiding common pitfalls that increase resistance and unworkable agendas.
Attendees will walk away with a flexible mindset and a simple visualization process to empower students to manage life’s diverse challenges. The ACT Matrix perspective-taking process builds key social-emotional capabilities relevant to college-bound and struggling learners.
The New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA) sponsors this unique event. NJPSA is dedicated to providing educational excellence through the ongoing support of educational leaders. This training is open to all, and we will be issuing certificates for 6 hours of professional development hours upon completion of the training.
Attendees will leave this workshop with the following:
- A simple, practical, and effective tool to engage students in collaborative conversations.
- The skills to set powerful individual and group contexts for mindful student engagement, even with reluctant and resistant learners.
- An easy-to-implement process that generates creative problem-solving and working toward shared teacher/student goals.
- A shared point of view that students can use on their own to build daily self-monitoring and prosocial behavior.
- Increased creativity and lessened stress.
Presentation of ACT and Prosocial Matrix Model
- Set the stage for effective learning using the ACT Matrix while building trust and psychological safety.
- Experience how the ACT Matrix visualization process can unlock potential, empathy, and self-awareness in students and staff.
- Learn respectful, curiosity-based questioning techniques to engage students actively in collaborative Matrix mapping.
- Discover motivating mindfulness strategies leveraging the Matrix to re-focus learners and boost engagement during the school day.
- Gain tools to rapidly assess situations and respond with psychological flexibility using the Matrix, even in disruptive circumstances.
- Master verbal aikido skills to navigate tense conversations with calm confidence, not conflict.
- Collaboratively apply the Prosocial Matrix to transform classroom relationships and foster a supportive peer culture.
- Acquire evidence-based Matrix practices that increase staff resilience, spark renewal, and combat burnout.
This is an active and participatory training. Participants will “learn by doing,” practicing in pairs and groups with feedback for individual and group intervention. They will leave the training with a tool they can use immediately in their setting. Participants will return to discuss and review implementation issues, problem-solve, and learn to use psychological flexibility.
All participants will receive training materials and access to an online course to review and collaborate as needed.
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