Course Description

Getting Psychological Flexibility and Creative Problem Solving Going in the Classroom with the ACT Matrix

Educators spend a lot of time in classrooms dealing with problems. High on the list of issues are engaging and motivating students, managing challenging behaviors, curriculum demands, and administrative pressures. These issues can be ongoing and lead to a lot of struggling and wheel spinning.

Effective problem solving entails both the art of influencing and the application of well defined scientific principles. This course is designed for the everyday educator working to make a difference. It will help you reduce the struggle, get more done and be more effective. It will also help you assist your learners in doing the same. The Matrix helps to promote psychological flexibility , which leads to resilience, persistence and growth in the face of obstacles and difficulties. The Matrix promotes the development of "noticing what works" to get teachers and learners on the same page and moving toward effective learning. Everyone feels empowered to make healthy choices and work together.

The bottom line is that promoting psychological flexibility in schools and classrooms leads to less struggling with what doesn’t work and more effective instruction and intervention. Students use the Matrix to develop the self-monitoring and self-regulation skills needed for success in school and life

The ACT Matrix will be presented as an engaging, research based tool designed to enhance psychological flexibility that quickly “loosens us up” educators and learners for collaborative, creative problem solving with both individuals and groups. Students learn to work “with” teachers and are more engaged, increasing time for learning and discovery. The matrix process is the quickest way to involve learners in a process of acquiring the skills for self-directed learning and growth.

This experiential course will focus on enhancing creativity and flexibility in approaching the challenges of our day to day involvements with learners and other issues. It is based on the evidenced-based practice of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Training (ACT). ACT focuses on increasing valued, vital living while decreasing the struggle with problems and suffering. In ACT, individuals and groups learn through experience what works to be effective an achieve their goals.

The Matrix is being used successfully in many school and educational settings. Teachers using it report less disruptions and greater cooperation from students. They also report a lessening of their own stress!

Course Objectives:

Set a powerful context to engage learners.

Practice using the matrix process to overcome resistance and improve cooperation.

Use the Matrix for individual and group learning throughout your day.

Apply matrix interventions to promote prosocial and emotional learning.

Leave the course with a functional tool that you can use immediately.

Enhance your own psychological flexibility and creativity and reduce your stress!

Educator, Psychologist and Psychological Flexibility Consultant

Phil Tenaglia

I am a practicing school psychologist and have spent many years in the classroom and also supporting the efforts of teachers and students in both regular and special education settings. I work with children, teens and adults to promote effective solutions for whatever issues they face.I am a perpetual student and am always on the hunt for solutions to help those I serve. I spend each day in classrooms, collaborating and strategizing with teachers and students. We learn together what works and also what doesn't while managing to have a good bit of fun along the way!My approach is based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Training (ACT), an evidenced based approach to problems in living. I am working to bring what is known as the ACT Matrix, developed by Dr. Kevin Polk, into schools and educational settings. The Matrix is a simple visual diagram we use to quickly establish cooperation and collaboration in classrooms. It works really well to get people feeling less stuck and moving toward who and what is important to them.This course combines the best of what educational and social science have to offer with the ACT Matrix point of view to create a powerful way to engage students and manage classrooms. You will be getting the latest of what we have come up with and it will change the way you and your students interact for the better.The teachers and students working from this approach enjoy discovering how to work together. Students benefit from learning the skills of how to be self-directed.I was privileged to author the chapter on “Promoting Psychological Flexibility in Education” in "The ACT Matrix" by Polk and Schoendorff, published by New Harbinger in March 2014.In 2016 I was named the New Jersey School Psychologist of the Year for my work with the ACT Matrix in schools.Please check back for future course offerings. You can also visit my blog where I post articles and video on the ACT Matrix approach. I am available for online consultation as well as on site training. Contact me for details.

Course curriculum

  • 2

    How to Invite, Connect and Collaborate with Any Student

  • 3

    The Matrix Language Lesson...The Vocabulary of Change

    • Matrix Language Lesson

  • 4

    The Psychological Flexibility Warm Up

    • The Warm Up

    • Warming Up for Learning

  • 5

    Learning How to Take Care of Yourself before You Take Care of Your Students

    • Taking it our for a Spin

    • Applying the Matrix to Ourselves

  • 6

    Four Questions that Change Everything

    • The Four Questions

    • What is Behind the Questions

    • Four Questions

  • 7

    Review of Questions

    • Review of 4 questions

  • 8

    It's All About Getting Where You Want to Go

    • The Act in Context

  • 9

    Getting Stuck, Unstuck and Moving with the Matrix

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  • 10

    Homework That Works!

    • The Matrix Homework Assignment

    • Planting Seeds

  • 11

    How to Turbocharge Learning

    • Sorting Party

    • The Importance of Sorting

  • 12

    The Stuff That Gets in the Way for All of Us

    • Hooks

    • Ah, Those Wonderful Hooks!

    • Matrix with Hooks

  • 13

    The Class / Group Matrix Warmup

    • The Matrix Warmup for Groups

    • Group Warmup Script

  • 14

    Building Cooperation and Prosocial Behavior- The Matrix for Classes and Groups

    • Class:Group Matrix

    • Class : Group

    • The Power of Successful Groups

  • 15

    The Core Design Principles of Effective Groups

    • Two Loops for Flexibility and Success

  • 16

    The Matrix as a Unifying Intervention...the Gift that Keeps on Giving

    • Unifying Intervention

    • May Psychological Flexibility Be With You!

  • 17

    Learning How to Come up with New Moves...and Having Fun

    • New Moves

    • Deriving New Responses and How It Works

  • 18

    Helping Teachers Promote Powerful Social-Emotional Learning and Psychological Flexibility with The ACT Matrix Point of View

    • Helping Teachers Promote Powerful Social-Emotional Learning and Psychological Flexibility with The ACT Matrix Point of View

    • The ACT Matrix for Difficult Times

  • 19

    Putting It All Together

    • Putting it Together

    • The Outcome of the ACT Matrix is a Process...the Process of What Works

  • 20

    Bike Riding

    • Riding the Matrix Bike

  • 21

    Verbal Aikido to the Rescue!

    • Using Verbal Aikido to Flex Up Stuck Students, Yourself and Much More!

    • The Path to Verbal Aikido

  • 22

    Bonus: A Brief Intro to the Science Behind the Matrix

    • The Science Behind the ACT Matrix