Focus Your Locus: Activities That Focus the Power of Individual and Groups

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9781885473899: Focus Your Locus: Activities That Focus the Power of Individual and Groups

Mike and Justin present theories and activity groupings that can be used by counselors, teachers, experiential educators, and facilitators to return individuals or whole groups to a more focused frame of mind. By understanding locus, or the center of control within, we can learn to increase our abilities to control our own energy. This helps all of us positively contribute to achieving the goals of the groups we are in. The methods presented here can be used to frontload learning, to sustain group momentum, to energize initiatives and to provide new streams of insight during processing.

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About the Author:

Mike Gessford graduated from Plymouth State University with a Bachelor s degree in Physical Education. He earned a Master s degree in PE from Central Connecticut State University.

Mike has enjoyed being the physical education teacher at the Gengras Center since 1987. The Gengras Center is a top-rated, private, special-education facility, serving approximately 125 students ages 5 to 21 on the campus of Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut. Ten years ago Mike began using adventure-education methods in PE classes to provide hands-on learning experiences for the older students. In the role of Adventure Education Coordinator for Saint Joseph College, Mike has worked with Justin to expand this pedagogy into the college community, using experiential activities and their challenge ropes course. Mike facilitates many diverse types of user groups at the challenge course and works as part of a great team on the challenge course at Renbrook Summer Adventure.

Mike s passion for adventure/experiential learning and teaching has helped him to successfully share these methods with students, teachers, and administrators of all learning styles and experience. He enjoys the opportunity to present these techniques and activities at numerous local, state, regional, and international conferences. Mike is grateful for opportunities to share what he has learned from his students and teachers alike.

Mike lives happily in Simsbury, Connecticut.

Justin McGlamery teaches at Saint Joseph College using experiential/adventure education as a pedagogical approach with many different populations and for many different reasons. For the past 15 years, he has worked with students with special needs at he Gengras Center School of Saint Joseph College. Since 2001, Justin has been facilitating therapeutic adventure-education sessions for students and providing team-building workshops and in-services for staff. For the past five years, Justin has cotaught several courses at the college including a first-year seminar course called T.E.A.M., a Group Dynamics course, and adventure education for physical education credit. In addition to undergraduate curriculum courses, Justin facilitates team-building programs for many of the various departments and groups on campus, as well as for corporate groups, school groups, and athletic teams from the larger outside community.

Justin has presented at many regional, national, and international conferences, promoting the use of experiential activities to engage learners and enhance teaching. Justin received the 2009 Educator of the Year award from the Connecticut Association for Private Special Education Facilities, an honor he is proud to share with his coauthor and partner in adventure, Mike Gessford.

Justin is a musician, poet, actor, and activist. His love of life and laughter fuels his daily life as he seeks and creates fun wherever he goes. Justin lives in an old fixer-upper home in a historic neighborhood in Hartford, Connecticut with his loving wife and best friend, Jarrad, and his three wonderful and inspiring children.

Review:

This book is engaging, easy-to-read, and full of new and refreshing ideas. The Focus theme throughout the book is well developed in a logical and organized fashion and is backed up with lots of examples, theories, and pertinent activities. Those willing to delve more deeply into the psychological and philosophical aspects of facilitation will appreciate and enjoy Mike and Justin s considerable knowledge of their subject. --Nicki Hall, Board of directors, High Five Learning Center, VT

A common vision and a feeling of belonging to an organization are the major attributes leading to genuine school improvement and thus student achievement. To this end, time understanding the theory and implementing the practical as described in Focus Your Locus is well worth the time of any educator or school administrator. --Taran Gruber, Vice Principal, Oliver Ellsworth Elementary, Windsor, CT

I ve been an elementary and junior high teacher for 36 years. Though this book might be targeted at adventure program folks, it s important for classroom teachers, as well. It is filled with many concrete ideas to help a classroom group of children become more fully engaged. As a classroom teacher and former adventure course instructor, I know how we are all crunched for time. Using these techniques will enable the students to learn how to focus and thus become more fully involved in the learning process from the beginning of class on through. --Doug Cramphin, Teacher, History Department Head, Renbrook School, West Hartford, CT, Ropes Course Instructor for 30 years

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