As educators intentionally build connecting, trusting and safe relationships with their students, in the process they are creating positive, meaningful and everlasting emotional memories for that child as well.  If this process of intentional emotional imprinting grew to become a cultural norm practiced by all in a classroom, then all students and staff would feel good about being in school on most days.  This positive emotional meter is the demonstration of what some of the literature on group dynamics would call group resonance.

Daniel Goleman and his colleagues in the book Primal Leadership: Learning to lead with emotional intelligence, define resonance as “a reservoir of positivity that brings out the best in people.”  Resonance is not a program or process but starts with an intention that focuses on the positive energy that flows and the high achievement that is attained, when people in a learning organization honor and trust one another.  It’s like the feeling a person gets when he or she is standing in the middle of something he loves to do. This could be thoughts and memories of a family vacation spot, a hike to a particular spot in the woods, the look on the face of your child when she is happy, a room in your home where you can find some peace and solace, or when listening to a favorite song or performer.

If a school is a place where resonant moments are the norm, amazing and magical things will happen.  Renee Levi who has studied resonance in organizations writes:

occurrences of resonance between individuals and within groups happen every day in situations in which people come together and experience intimacy and bonding, a felt sense of being in the flow or transcending, personal transformation, and sometimes the satisfaction of accomplishing extraordinary things.

If through the deep connection a resonant experience provides, a school can initiate its students toward their growing edge:  where academic learning, social and emotional development, and unique expression is attained, then a resonant classroom must be the primary intention for where we want our students to be every day.


Published by


David A. Levine’s ( work on teaching empathy as a social culture building strategy has been featured in the New York Times, National Public Radio, and ABC News. After teaching elementary and middle school, David became the chief trainer for the U.S. Department of Education’s Northeast Regional Center for Safe and Drug-Free Schools. It was during that time that he created a framework for social culture building he calls "A School of Belonging." This systems change process, is highlighted in his books, "Teaching Empathy", "Building Classroom Communities", and "The School of Belonging Plan Book." He is the founding Director of the Teaching Empathy Institute, in Kingston, NY, a program of The Tides Center, and serves as an adviser to Ashoka’s Start Empathy Initiative.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s