Speaking

Sarah Rose Cavanagh | Energizing Teachers, Teams, and Leaders with the Science of Emotion

Sarah has conducted keynotes, anchor sessions, plenary sessions, and interactive workshops for a variety of conferences and faculty in-services. Speaking engagements for education audiences have largely been conducted solo, and engagements framed for business and corporate needs have been both solo and led with product innovator Julie Sargent. Industry clients have included the Bose Corporation, the WorkHuman conference, and design group Subforum.

Below are some popular topics that could be presented in either keynotes or interactive workshops for a variety of audiences.

Energizing Learning with the Science of Emotion
Four Pillars of Emotional Engagement

Historically we have constructed our classrooms with the assumption that learning is a dry, staid affair best conducted in quiet tones and ruled by an unemotional consideration of the facts. The pedagogical world, however, is beginning to awaken to the potential power of emotions to fuel learning, informed by contributions from psychology and neuroscience. In this interactive presentation, Sarah Rose Cavanagh will argue that if you as an educator want to capture your students’ attention, enhance their motivation, harness their working memory, and bolster their long-term retention, you should consider the emotional impact of your teaching style and course design. To make this argument, she will bring to bear empirical evidence from the study of education, psychology, and neuroscience. She will also present results from a recently concluded research study evaluating whether providing students some tools from emotion regulation before a lesson benefits their short- and long-term learning. The presentation will conclude with practical examples of activities and assignments that capitalize on this research and can be implemented in your very next class.

Who Would Benefit: Well-suited for secondary or higher education, could also be crafted for on-the-job learning.

 

EMBEDDED
Lessons for Building Community from Social neuroscience

A sense of community in the classroom contributes to effective learning, likely through benefits to student motivation. While traditional pedagogical literature speaks to methods of building community within the classroom, we can also look outside our intellectual silos to other academic disciplines researching how human beings form and maintain effective collaborative groups. In this interactive session, we’ll consider powerful research investigating team dynamics in simulated space missions, the social neuroscience of how the brain embeds our social others in our very sense of self, and even how honeybees make collective decisions together. We will work together to understand and apply these lessons to the work of the higher education classroom.

Who Would Benefit: Well-suited for secondary or higher education, could also be crafted for team leaders, executives, and anyone looking to motivate a group of people working together.

 

“Best Speaker I Have Seen on Campus!”

—Jeremy Tiermini, Fingerlakes Community College
Honeybees, Smartphones, & Zombies
INSIGHTS FOR A DIVIDED WORLD

Hivemind: A collective consciousness in which we share consensus thoughts, emotions, and
opinions; a phenomenon whereby a group of people function as if with a single mind. We have
always been a remarkably social species — our moods, ideas, and even our perceptions of reality
synchronize without our conscious awareness. The advent of social media and smartphones has
amplified these tendencies in ways that spell both promise and peril. Our hiveish natures benefit
us in countless ways: combatting the mental and physical costs of loneliness, connecting us with
collaborators and supporters, and exposing us to entertainment and information beyond what
we can find in our literal backyards. But of course, there are also looming risks, including echo
chambers, political polarization, and conspiracy theories that have already begun to have deadly
consequences. In this talk, psychologist and author Sarah Rose Cavanagh considers the
implications of this magnification of our ultrasocial natures.

Enhance, Don’t Eclipse
Developing Healthy Media Habits

We have always been a remarkably social species — our moods, ideas, and even our perceptions of reality synchronize without our conscious awareness. The advent of social media and smartphones has amplified these tendencies in ways that spell both promise and peril. While the popular media is fixated on a doomsday narrative, the growing research on the effects of smartphones and social media on mental health suggests that the truth is much more nuanced. Just like there are certain volumes and habits of use that are associated with poor outcomes, there are also volumes and habits of use associated with good outcomes — and said volume is not zero. The best evidence suggests we should approach use of these technologies through a principle Sarah calls “enhance, don’t eclipse” – that is, the healthiest outcomes are predicted when you use your smartphone in order to enhance or augment your existing social relationships, and the unhealthiest outcomes are predicted when you use these technologies in ways that interfere with or replace said face-to-face connections.

Who Would Benefit: Anyone with a smartphone. Could be crafted to educators, parents, wellness professionals or industry.

 

Be the Spark
Performance, Presence, and Leadership.

We have always been a remarkably social species — our moods, ideas, and even our perceptions of reality synchronize without our conscious awareness. Drawing from research on immediacy cues in teaching, improvisational work for acting, and scientific studies on emotional contagion and neural synchrony, we will evaluate what these domains suggest for the characteristics of both good teaching and leadership.

Who Would Benefit: Teachers, faculty developers, team leaders, executives.

“Professor Cavanagh introduced our graduate students to the importance of integrating emotion into their teaching practice as a way of catalyzing student learning. “Inspiring’, ‘thoughtful’ and ‘fruitful’ are a sample of the adjectives used to describe how they experienced her interaction with them. We would invite her back in a heartbeat for more workshops!”

—Jennifer Hadingham, Assistant Director & Lecturer, Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning, University of Rochester

Contact Sarah

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