The Minimalist Educator Podcast

Episode 017: Focus on the Human with LaVonna Roth

December 12, 2023 Tammy Musiowsky-Borneman
Episode 017: Focus on the Human with LaVonna Roth
The Minimalist Educator Podcast
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The Minimalist Educator Podcast
Episode 017: Focus on the Human with LaVonna Roth
Dec 12, 2023
Tammy Musiowsky-Borneman

Come on a journey with us on this episode of the Minimalist Educator Podcast as we welcome the creative force behind the Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.® framework, LaVonna Roth. Bringing a unique perspective, LaVonna guides us through her fascinating journey, revealing how her empowering S.H.I.N.E.®  framework —  Self, Heart, Inspire, Navigate, and Exceptional — can uplift educators and students alike.

LaVonna  draws from her wealth of experience, offering valued insights into the cultivation of a human-focused culture in our education system. She shares strategies to draw upon team members' strengths and nurture a sense of ownership in students, ultimately fostering a vibrant classroom atmosphere.

We'll also dive into how the S.H.I.N.E. framework can shift the focus onto student strengths, empowering them to be confident and creative learners. We discuss how educators can leverage their own strengths and those of their students. Hear how minimalism in education can lead to a healthy work-life balance and how it can effectively manage workloads. This conversation with LaVonna is an inspiration to educators to refocus on their purpose and priorities.

As an engaging and interactive keynote speaker, consultant, educator, and mom, LaVonna bridges her passion for how the brain learns with identifying how every individual S.H.I.N.E.s with their mindset and well-being. She leads a small business where she and the Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.® team boost schools in embodying a Human-Focused Culture. A culture where we put those doing the work at the heart of the impact desired. How? By supporting schools in harnessing the S.H.I.N.E. framework, increasing psychological safety, & building a foundation based on the brain sciences. S.H.I.N.E. is the secret to a work environment where all want to be! LaVonna has 3 degrees, is the author of 8 books, and has worked with organizations in the U.S./Canada, Europe, South America, and the Middle East.  She is the creator and founder of the Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.® framework and also Prime to S.H.I.N.E. where she coaches educators in how to amplify their impact through educational consulting – part-time or full-time. Help you find your power through ah-ha moments.  Ignite the fire within you to have the confidence in who YOU are and what you do, because YOU are the difference maker!

Find LaVonna and Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.® on social media:
Twitter:  @lavonnaroth/@igniteyourSHINE
Instagram:
@lavonnaroth/@igniteyourSHINEnow
Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/lavonnaroth

Today's episode was brought to you by Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.®, the secret to a school environment where all want to be. Keep your staff's fire for educating, blazing and your students achieving, with research supported keynotes, workshops and coaching that skyrocket success. Skills, closer learnin

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Support the Show.

Buy The Minimalist Teacher book on Amazon.
Follow on Instagram and Twitter @PlanZPLS
The Minimalist Educator Podcast is a Plan Z Professional Learning Services adventure.

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Come on a journey with us on this episode of the Minimalist Educator Podcast as we welcome the creative force behind the Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.® framework, LaVonna Roth. Bringing a unique perspective, LaVonna guides us through her fascinating journey, revealing how her empowering S.H.I.N.E.®  framework —  Self, Heart, Inspire, Navigate, and Exceptional — can uplift educators and students alike.

LaVonna  draws from her wealth of experience, offering valued insights into the cultivation of a human-focused culture in our education system. She shares strategies to draw upon team members' strengths and nurture a sense of ownership in students, ultimately fostering a vibrant classroom atmosphere.

We'll also dive into how the S.H.I.N.E. framework can shift the focus onto student strengths, empowering them to be confident and creative learners. We discuss how educators can leverage their own strengths and those of their students. Hear how minimalism in education can lead to a healthy work-life balance and how it can effectively manage workloads. This conversation with LaVonna is an inspiration to educators to refocus on their purpose and priorities.

As an engaging and interactive keynote speaker, consultant, educator, and mom, LaVonna bridges her passion for how the brain learns with identifying how every individual S.H.I.N.E.s with their mindset and well-being. She leads a small business where she and the Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.® team boost schools in embodying a Human-Focused Culture. A culture where we put those doing the work at the heart of the impact desired. How? By supporting schools in harnessing the S.H.I.N.E. framework, increasing psychological safety, & building a foundation based on the brain sciences. S.H.I.N.E. is the secret to a work environment where all want to be! LaVonna has 3 degrees, is the author of 8 books, and has worked with organizations in the U.S./Canada, Europe, South America, and the Middle East.  She is the creator and founder of the Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.® framework and also Prime to S.H.I.N.E. where she coaches educators in how to amplify their impact through educational consulting – part-time or full-time. Help you find your power through ah-ha moments.  Ignite the fire within you to have the confidence in who YOU are and what you do, because YOU are the difference maker!

Find LaVonna and Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.® on social media:
Twitter:  @lavonnaroth/@igniteyourSHINE
Instagram:
@lavonnaroth/@igniteyourSHINEnow
Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/lavonnaroth

Today's episode was brought to you by Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.®, the secret to a school environment where all want to be. Keep your staff's fire for educating, blazing and your students achieving, with research supported keynotes, workshops and coaching that skyrocket success. Skills, closer learnin

Send us a Text Message.

Support the Show.

Buy The Minimalist Teacher book on Amazon.
Follow on Instagram and Twitter @PlanZPLS
The Minimalist Educator Podcast is a Plan Z Professional Learning Services adventure.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Minimalist Educator Podcast, a podcast about pairing down to refocus on the purpose and priorities in our roles with co-hosts and co-authors of the Minimalist Teacher Book, Tammy Musiowsky-Borniman and Christine Arnold.

Speaker 2:

In this episode, Lovanna Roth speaks to us about the Ignite your Shine framework and how it can support our work, as well as our students in our work. Her pair down pointer is remembered to bring it all back to yourself and your heart. As an engaging and interactive keynote speaker, consultant, educator and mum, Lovanna Roth brings her passion for how the brain learns with identifying how every individual shines with their mindset and well-being. She leads a small business where she and the Ignite your Shine team boost schools and embodying a human-focused culture, a culture where we put those doing the work at the heart of the impact desired. How, by supporting schools in harnessing the Shine framework, increasing psychological safety and building our foundation based on the brain sciences. Shine is the secret to a work environment we all want to be.

Speaker 2:

Lovanna has three degrees, is the author of eight books and has worked with organizations in the US, Canada, Europe, South America and the Middle East. She is the creator and founder of the Ignite your Shine framework and also Prime to Shine, where she coaches educators in how to amplify their full impact through educating. Consulting. Shine will leave you inspired. Help you find your power through aha moments. Ignite the fire within you to have the confidence in who you are and what you do, because you are the difference maker.

Speaker 3:

Welcome to today's episode. Today, we have with us Lovanna Roth of Ignite your Shine. Welcome to the show, lovanna.

Speaker 4:

Thank you for having me. I'm so excited.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we're excited to have you. It's always fun to talk about Shine with you. It's a message that I, of course, believe in, and it helps us really find prosperity within our educational spaces. Can you tell us a little bit about, maybe, your journey with Shine? How do you decide to start Ignite your Shine and tell us a little bit about it?

Speaker 4:

Sure, it was never a plan. I feel like a lot of times some of our most fun adventures or interesting adventures are not planned. I planned on staying as a teacher and then ended up going. It was going to go into administration and had an opportunity to jump and actually work for a company. And after several different companies, for different reasons and different experiences, which have all pulled into what I do with Shine now, I went and started consulting on my own, speaking on my own.

Speaker 4:

That led to eight books that I have based upon brain sciences and strategies that you can use in the classroom, aligned with how the brain learns and such, and going to seeing the achievement. That should have seen at least my opinion, based upon brain science and using that research. And I said what is happening? Something is going on. And then finally I went wait a minute, we have to put the brain into a state of learning.

Speaker 4:

And while this was happening, my daughter was also going through a time in school following my path, essentially of doing great in elementary, middle not so well, look out. Totally different situation. Because of that, I thought you know what she is smart. All of my students who went through the same thing are smart, I smart, but I didn't feel that way, and so I wanted to go after what was smart in education, but it ended up being for various reasons being called Shine, and it made so much more sense because it's not just about how smart we are, but it is about us as a whole person and what we bring to the table to contribute in our personal life and our professional life.

Speaker 3:

Can you tell us the what the acronym stands for? Because some people might be familiar about, maybe others or not, but the way that you came about your life's work now is incredible, right, kind of taking that experience that you had and then what you saw with your daughter and then knowing that you had to do something with it, like you had to make some kind of change. So can you tell us about the framework? So people don't know what. I'm just kidding. I know how rude.

Speaker 4:

How do they not know? No, it's so. Shining itself as a word can stand, but it is an acronym. Back to something where shine actually represents experiences, and I think that's the beauty of us being as frustrated with a gap that we see or something isn't going our way how we had planned or hoped it to be. Yet that often do all to light where we need to serve or where things could be designed or created to support people. And so, yes, my daughter was definitely a big part of that. My own life, my students and then meeting others. You know I created shine for the point of students, to understand how they are and who they are, so that they can accelerate and be elevated. But I kept having administrators, board of ed, even police departments, teachers coming up and saying you have no idea how badly I needed this.

Speaker 4:

So shine at what are your strengths, gifts, skills and talents. So we're really focusing on your strengths over your deficits. We often talk about Gallup research and how Gallup, you know, says a strength or a strength. But a weakness will never become a strength. It does not that you can't improve, because we do, but it won't get to the level of your strength. So what if we came in through the lens of looking at a strength instead. And how do we use our own strengths to be better and do better at what we do? How do we teach students to do the same and what, if we even talk through that lens, which I love?

Speaker 4:

H, then, is part. It's about passion. So what do you love to do? You know, I did H for heart, because P for passion would have been ignite your spine and it doesn't work the same as ignite your shine. So we're going to go with about that energy. What do you love to lose time with? What do people say, like seriously, could you stop talking about X? Well, that's because it's a passion of yours, you know. So you kind of lose time and conversation flows.

Speaker 4:

I and shine is going to be inspired. So you have your S for self with your strengths, gifts, skills, talents. It's also about mindset, self care, anything that has to do with self. Give H, which is heart, and there's your passions and the two together what we call the shine spot, and that's where you really get into fulfillment. However, life is stolen through those curveballs. They're big like a pandemic, whether they're small, and so how do you stay inspired and how do you inspire others? I personally believe we have an obligation to both. You know figuring out how do we inspire ourselves and then how do we serve those around us and keep them inspired and do things, whether they're small or big, to inspire them.

Speaker 4:

And then and shine is navigate Meaning what are you going to do with everything I just talked about? It's you putting your strengths and your passions and the inspiration, putting it all into action to create who you want to be. Your story, your journey, your goal setting because that takes us into E was which is exceptional, because you're becoming the exceptional person you were meant to be, not anyone with the mirrors of what else is greatness is your mirror of greatness is, say, not from a bragging, not from an arrogant view, but from a confident view that I am exceptional. I am here for a reason. And how do I use that? To make the world even better, whether that world, again, is personal, whether that world is professional. And that is ignite your shine.

Speaker 2:

Sounds like you've used, like research and professional expertise, as well as personal experience, to really think about wellness and the whole person that we can be through growth and learning and everything. Thank you.

Speaker 4:

Yes, I think one of my most favorite parts. Well, first of all, I started out in college in psychology and I bombed. I bombed I was going to be kicked out of college because of my grades and I didn't like the theory. I wanted you to tell me okay, but what does that mean in my life? What does that look like? And so I almost feel like I've done everything in reverse. It's been all of these life experiences that have come to fruition and happened that now I'm like, oh, because of this and this and this, and that means that this and this is why people do that, if we this piece instead, and all of this came in my head. And then it's crazy. It fascinates me how much research now I see supporting what the thoughts are from the experience. I know Tammy often will send me things. You know, look, here's a little clip or here's a meme, and it's right in line with what the research is saying. That supports shine also. So I love those moments.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's awesome. That's very cool. So it sounds like shine could help us in so many different ways with our students, with each other, with ourselves personally, through our own experiences. But if we're thinking specifically about teachers in their workplace focusing on shine, how would that help them as well as their students?

Speaker 4:

I think a part of this is going to be looking at the level of exhaustion that educators have right now and just feeling so overwhelmed. I mean, you came out of a pandemic, and I know we truly need to pause for a moment. You came out of a pandemic that was mind blowing, not knowing how to deal with it, not knowing what to do, floundering and trying a thousand different things to see what works, transitioning to being online and how do you teach kids virtually from kindergarteners who wiggle and jiggle and wait? Did you see my little dinosaur that I have over on the right? You know, making faces to high school kids who are like, seriously, like, where's my social life, where is this? And so then, coming back out of all of that and let alone fear of our lives, like, am I going to survive? This? Is my arm of loved ones going to survive? So I want to make sure that we don't forget what we have come and pass. Yes, let's move forward. Yes, let's move on, but there is the reality of all that we went through, and so how do we shine in that way in a piece of that?

Speaker 4:

To me, a big piece is getting your staff what we call a human focused culture, a human as the focus in the school, whether they're big or whether they're little, whether that's you or whether that's others. And how do you honor the strengths that you are bringing to the table and having those conversations, having a grade level team come together, your department team, come together, your whole school or mix it up and talk about what are you good at doing? I want to my most favorite moments, because it was a little bit of a ha ha for me too, and this was still in the pandemic part. But I was already back in schools, face to face, working in a PLC with a particular group it was a kindergarten group and I had said to them you know, when you think about your strengths and you think about getting yourself through all of this because they came in crying, to be honest with you, it was heartbreaking for me, brought out the tissues, nice, when you think about your strengths, and they literally looking me like what do you mean strengths? Like right now I don't have anything. I stink at everything, I'm not good at any of it, I don't know where to pull the energy from and I said you know, when you look at your strengths, let's talk about that. And when you look at those around you, are they different? And they said yes, and I said some of that they actually working on right now.

Speaker 4:

Maybe a strength of yours, not a passion. It might be a strength of yours and maybe a passion. It may be a passion, but not a strength. But when you look at these, you have those on your team who, for example, something that you could do, you have enough of a strength to drain you, but your colleagues sitting across from you loves to do it. So what if, instead, you went to her and you said, hey, this is draining me. I'm not good at it, I don't or I am good at it, but straining me.

Speaker 4:

It doesn't matter the scenario, but in this case, she was not wanting to do it at all. And I said what? It wasn't a strength of hers either? And I said what if you asked her to support? And because, if she loves to do that, that gives her energy? And she said wait a minute, lovanna, you want me to go to her and you want me to admit that I'm not good at something? And I said yes, and this is where the light bulb went off and I said let's pause for a moment and I turned to the other lady, the other teacher, and I said if she came to you and asked you for help with something she's not going to do, how would you feel?

Speaker 4:

And she said, oh my goodness, like that would feel great, like she needs my help. I'm happy. And I said, you see, we just use her strength, which lifted her up, brought her joy, made her happy, made her feel valuable, in order to also help you in an area that is not. But I guarantee someday, someday, sometime down the future here, and that maybe in the next month, maybe next year, you are going to have that reciprocate. She's going to come to you and say hey, you're really good at this. I'm not going to use support me, but I think so much. We look through the lens. As educators, we look through the lens of the reflection on ourselves, because what we do, our profession, is so personal and we forget about what is the effect on the other people might actually help them.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you gave a lot of really good examples about you know, just hearing about some of the teachers that you've worked with and how it's kind of helped them almost find a sort out right, like I need to do these things but I'm not good at all these things. I don't want to admit it, because I should be good at all these things, but that's not the reality, right, and that's how we get burnt out. We think we can just do all the things and think we don't need to ask for help. But we really need to do that and I think that working within this kind of framework because it's not a program, it's a framework, right so it helps, it guides people through, you know, kind of a process, but can you talk a little bit more about because you mentioned just some conversations that you've had with other teachers you mentioned a little bit of PLC work, but can you talk a little bit about how this framework could help teachers really prioritize, like student engagement in their classroom or building confidence, let's say?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so we actually have lessons that are totally for free. That will support part of that. So we recommend you know going through and understanding what the framework is about and then digging into those lessons. But as you're going through those lessons and then going beyond the lessons because there's only so many of them they're meant to language and philosophy in the classroom that once you do that, then students begin to take over as well as you, you understand what it's about and students begin to take ownership. So we talk about agency. Students are not having the ownership. Teacher support with that too and you begin to take that through.

Speaker 4:

But what we do is and we recommend is, during your PLC time, common planning time, whatever that time looks like for you. In some cases it's after school. We've had schools that don't have any of that. You know it's been taken away for various reasons and so they meet after school in order to have that time work. But during that time you have those conversations around what is it that we're seeing as far as the strengths of our students or about the teacher themselves. They can bring that to the table too and we help facilitate with what is it that you want to work on? So first grade, for example, we're really not feeling tired right now. The students aren't feeling inspired. We want to work on the letter I and they go after. How do we implement that, create that, but then you might have, let's say, I'll jump to a high school. You know it might be.

Speaker 4:

You were the social day department saying we need to implement strengths. So we want to look at the historical strengths of our characters or figures that we have in history. Plus, we want to look at the strengths of our students and our own strengths. And how do we elevate that? And I love how you said confidence, tammy, because that's essentially what shine is. You could say ignite your confidence. It's the same thing as ignite your shine. It's just shine breaks it down better so that you have components of a framework to help focus. So, as teachers get together, you know the goal is to use these lessons, get that off the ground, get going. But we really want students and teachers to do it during the PLC time. Whether we're working and facilitating to help that at first, the goal is to release that or they do it on their own.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I really like what you're saying there about, you know, focusing in on the strengths. I think I've thought this in the past that we're almost, as teachers, trained to see deficits, and not necessarily in a way of like super negative towards our students, but like we're trained to go or they have that gap in their learning or they haven't reached that standard yet, et cetera, et cetera. And so I mean, can you talk a little bit more about how we might be able to switch that or turn that off or use it more purposefully to serve us?

Speaker 4:

Yes. So an example would be finding you know when, let's say, you have students working on a project, I'll use that as an example or you are going to teach a specific skill, what are the strengths of your students? So, for example, if a strength of mine acting things out, could I show you that I learned it through acting out because it's a strength of mine. If it's a where you absolutely love to draw things, could I provide an opportunity to utilize that strength in a group, individually, even to support me as a teacher? Yeah, I'm not. I'm terrible at drawing, like awful at it, and I would love to be better. But I could have students who that's the strength of theirs have them illustrate some things for me. And you are spot on, christine, with we are so trained and again, as I got you and you're not good at this and you need to work on that, but we are looking at the gaps. So how do we take students from the next level to the next level, to the next level? Because we are scaffolding skills. So because of that, we default to looking at a lot of the negative in our talk can be. You need to work on this. You have these problems. You got six out of 10. So for a wrong you need to fix those four.

Speaker 4:

And you know, even more commonly have been talking about what if it was a simple switch, even as putting up a sentence and saying what is right with the sentence, because what we immediately go to is what is wrong with this, which means we are technically asking our students for perfection.

Speaker 4:

Perfection in real life, for majority of things are not actually attainable. So, knowing that, what if we start what is right, because you're also from a brain thing that is right about that, which we hear that again as a student. So if I put up a sentence and I and someone raises their hands as oh, that's just started with a capital letter, yes, what did you just reinforce to the whole class? Start with a capital letter, right, you just reinforce them from a positive lens and you do that for everything. And then you can say what do you see that we could make better, what do you see that could be corrected? And now have that conversation, because it's the same thing in math. What do you see they did right in math, right with this problem, what you're wrong? Where could it be better? Where could be corrected?

Speaker 3:

I think, to students what's right with this thing that we're solving, or, you know, even when we're setting up classroom expectations or like old school classrooms or whatever, we want to state them in the positive, because we want to see what you know, the behaviors that we want to see. We don't want to tell them don't run, don't shove, don't yell, all those things, because what do they want to do? That they want to do the things that I'm supposed to do. But one of the things that I did at my school last year was we were digging into some students strengths, and kids at the younger years sometimes have a hard time identifying what they're good at besides, like, I'm good at soccer or you know, like those kind of physical things, and so one of the things that I like to do is just ask a whole bunch of why is? And then I just got to be known like as soon as I started asking one student like but why is that about themselves? They started uncovering things that they were good at but they didn't realize.

Speaker 3:

So one boy that I was working with you know he loved Lego. So we were talking about strengths and passions kind of mixed together and I'm like but why do you like Lego, you know? And so we went down this whole like I asked him like seven times. I'm like, oh, so you like to design things and you like to build and all of that and you're creative. But he didn't think of himself as that way just because he liked to use Lego. And sometimes we have to get in a little bit to figure out where the strength is, because it could be his thing later in life. Right, maybe he does become an architect or a designer or whatever.

Speaker 4:

We've talked about you being a detective because you're looking at themes. What are the themes? There are themes that are happening there. When I look back on my daughter, you know I see the theme because she looked at being an interior designer. She loves super cars and I asked her what she liked. She likes the way they look. Well, that's design. She is now a realtor. That's design. So there's a theme there, a thread, and I love how you asked that to me. Why, why, why to get down to that?

Speaker 2:

I think I need. I think I need to try that when my students tell me they want to be a YouTuber when they grow up, instead of just going what, what are you talking about? Need to go, why, why? What is it about that that's appealing to you? I like that be a detective.

Speaker 3:

Lovato, at that point where we ask our guests for a pair down pointer, which is just a little tip for our tool, where people can pick it up and, you know, try to pair down or prioritize or find a person, what they're doing.

Speaker 4:

Yes, it's similar to what I said before, but I really ask you to make a list of the things that you do and, for example, you know, look at the past 24 hours, what are all the tasks? I know it sounds crazy to do that, but what are all the tasks? And you can do just professional, or you do professional and personal and really look at each of them and how do you feel Like? For example, rate it, maybe an S if it's a strength, or an S plus if it's a really strong, strong strength and then do the same thing for heart, for passion. What are you passionate about? Because where you see an S plus or an S with an H, that is an M, do the same thing H plus all that.

Speaker 4:

You can modify that how you want, but really look at those tasks that are draining to, for example, or draining you're not good at, or you're not good at. Is there a way around those? I'm not saying to give up and again, please don't misunderstand me. I do mean you can improve on these things and we should work on things that we're not the best at, but at the same time, how much of those are actually draining us?

Speaker 4:

You know, I would appreciate you and Christine so much for doing minimalist work, because that right now, when you look at what everyone is taking on more and more and more and one of the biggest things I hear in education is we're not taking anything off the plate. So your book, your podcast, all the work that you two are doing is needed so badly. So I hope listeners are really paying attention to this. You know, take the advice of what they're giving, because we all need it. We all could be minimalized at times, but if you also want to take a task with that, then do the different levels and the age and really see what could come off the plate. That is that you don't need to do and maybe somebody else could and they would love it yeah.

Speaker 3:

I love that because that is definitely just dusting off the plate, right, the things that just aren't what you love, or just suck your energy out. So thank you for that so much. Thank you also for coming on the show. It's great to chat with you.

Speaker 2:

Today's episode was brought to you by Ignite your Shine, the secret to a school environment where all want to be. Keep your staff's fire for educating, blazing and your students achieving, with research supported keynotes, workshops and coaching that skyrocket success. Skills, closer learning gaps through micro skills and amplifying engaging instruction.

Speaker 1:

Be sure to join Tammy and Christine and guests for more episodes of the minimalist educator podcast. They would love to hear about your journey with minimalism. Connect with them at PlanZPLS on Twitter or Instagram. The music for the podcast has been written and performed by Gaia Moretti. Thanks,

Ignite Your Shine
Fostering a Human-Focused Culture in Education
Focusing on Strengths in Education
Appreciation for Minimalist Work in Education