Institute for Educational Development

With the challenges presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19), all live in-person events from March 17 – May 21 are moving to an online format. Learn More

This event will now be presented as a live interactive online event.

Participants will receive an email with access instructions four to five days prior to the event. Please email us at if you haven't received this email.

Do More for Students by Doing Less for Students

NEW Seminar Presented By
Tommy Harrell

Outstanding Educator and Dynamic National Presenter

Specifically Designed for All Educators Serving Grades K-12: General Education Teachers, Special Education Staff, Counselors, Instructional Assistants, Title I Staff, and Administrators

  • How to enable and empower your students to be more successful learners
  • Practical methods to cultivate resourcefulness, resilience, and other vital traits your students need for success in and out of school
  • Powerful, doable strategies to help students own and take responsibility for their learning
  • Highly effective ways to assess and address diverse student learning needs that are both timely and empowering

Practical Strategies

This NEW, highly innovative and interactive seminar will enhance your ability to engage and empower students as self-reliant, resourceful, and resilient learners. You'll learn how to help students unlearn learned helplessness by cultivating a classroom culture where struggle and mistakes are seen as essential elements of the learning process. You'll also learn about an approach to teaching that unites academic skills as well as key character traits students need to succeed in and out of school. As a result, you'll be better equipped to assess and address the diverse needs of all your students.

Tommy Harrell will share a compelling rationale and doable formula for shifting from "sage on the stage" to "guide on the side", drawing upon his own evolution as a classroom teacher from kindergarten through high school. Tommy's seminar promises to be provocative and practical. You'll be pushed to reflect critically on current practices, and will leave inspired and prepared to implement alternative practices that set your students up for great success while you do less, and they do more.

Ten Key Benefits of Attending

  1. What Every Educator Needs to Know About Enabling Student Success
    Discover why many commonly used classroom practices set students up for future failure … Learn numerous strategies and practices you can employ that will truly enable your students to be successful
  2. Reverse the Trend of Learned Helplessness
    Discover how we as educators often unintentionally contribute to students overly relying on us … Learn the keys to reversing this tendency, so our students can develop strong self-reliance
  3. Cultivate Non-Academic Traits Students Need to be Successful
    Explore practical ways to help your students develop resourcefulness, resilience, persistence, and other vital traits they will need to be successful in school and in life
  4. Strike an Optimal Balance Between Student Independence and Collaboration
    Discover proven strategies and methods designed to optimize students' opportunities to think and learn both on their own and in collaboration with others
  5. Energize Students Through Active Learning
    Learn powerful ways to accommodate students' innate desire to explore … Innovative strategies to engage students in "learning by doing"
  6. Help Your Students Embrace their Mistakes
    Create a culture where mistakes are celebrated as building blocks of meaningful learning … How to liberate your students from fear of making mistakes
  7. Normalize Struggle as an Essential Part of the Learning Process
    Explore essential ways to plan and facilitate powerful learning … Discover how to engage your students in productive struggle in order to maximize their learning
  8. Support Students Through Scaffolding, Not Hand-Holding
    Examine effective scaffolding strategies you can use with your students … Proven methods to avoid inadvertently short-circuiting the learning process
  9. Enable Your Students' Full Learning Potential
    Discover practical, research-based approaches and techniques you can use to unlock students' full learning potential in your classroom … Learn proven ways you can maximize student effort
  10. Target Key Skills and Receive a Comprehensive Resource Handbook
    Explore highly effective ways to help students develop self-discipline, self-confidence, self-reliance, self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-determination … In addition, you will receive a comprehensive resource handbook specifically designed to help you do more for your students by doing less for your students

Specific Topics

Here's what you'll learn:
  • Practical strategies to help your students "unlearn" learned helplessness
  • Empowering ways to cultivate the non-academic traits students need for success in and out of school
  • Powerful and actionable ways to maximize student ownership of their learning
  • Innovative practices that cultivate self-reliance and collaboration among students
  • Proven, replicable models for engaging students in active learning
  • How to build and sustain a culture where mistakes are embraced as "learnable moments" with a student generated conceptual construction site
  • Apply the continued power of the scientific method to prepare for students' mistakes rather than prevent them
  • Tips and tools for engaging students in productive struggle
  • Alternatives to common practices that stifle college and career readiness
  • Policies and practices that stress, reinforce and elicit maximal student effort
  • Ways to help students develop self-esteem, self-awareness and self-discipline
  • How to ensure the right balance of support and accountability for students as learners
  • Learning activities that simultaneously target academic content and higher order thinking skills

A Message from Your Seminar Leader

Dear Colleague:

We educators embrace social emotional learning because of our genuine desire to help children. However, sometimes our helpfulness inadvertently hurts our students. Many students, for example, ask for help after barely attempting a task on their own, and we reinforce their helplessness by obliging them instead of encouraging them to work collaboratively. That's why it's called learned helplessness. The more students depend on us now, the less prepared they'll be for future endeavors that require self-reliance, resourcefulness and resilience.

The good news is that since we contribute to students learning helplessness, we as powerful educators can help them unlearn it. In other words, for students to unlearn helplessness, we as facilitators/teachers need to relearn helpfulness. But how can we resist jumping in to help students as soon as their hands go up? How can we give students time to learn more independently and still get through the curriculum? And how can we prevent students from becoming so frustrated that they shut down or disrupt class?

Join me for a provocative and practical day filled with ideas that create student-centered classrooms where struggle is normalized and mistakes are celebrated. Classrooms where students are engaged and empowered as self-reliant and collaborative learners. Classrooms where students develop the academic skills and character traits required for success both in and out of school. Classrooms where students exude confidence, pride, and fulfillment as they learn and grow to their potential.

Tommy Harrell

P.S. The ideas I'll be sharing at this seminar have helped dramatically enhance student participation and performance in my own and in many other teachers' classrooms.

Who Should Attend

Educators Serving Grades K-12: General Education Teachers, Special Education Staff, Counselors, Instructional Assistants, Title I Staff, and Administrators

Special Benefits of Attending

  1. Extensive Resource Handbook:
    Each participant will receive an extensive resource handbook specifically designed for this seminar. The handbook includes:
    • Strategies and tools that promote student ownership of learning
    • Resources for planning and facilitating instructional activities that engage students in productive struggle
    • Tips and tools for reinforcing non-academic behaviors students need to be successful
  2. Meet and Share:
    This seminar provides a wonderful opportunity for participants to meet and share ideas with other educators interested in doing more for their students by doing less for their students.
  3. Consultation Available:
    Tommy Harrell will be available at the seminar for consultation regarding your questions and the unique needs of your own classroom.
  4. Semester Credit Option:
    Brandman University Logo Graduate level professional development credit is available with an additional fee and completion of follow up practicum activities. Details for direct enrollment with Brandman University, part of the Chapman University system, will be available at the seminar.
  5. Meet Inservice Requirements:
    At the end of the program, each attendee will receive a certificate of participation that may be used to verify hours of participation in meeting continuing education requirements.