Lotta Uusitalo-Malmivaara: Catch them being good!

Lotta Uusitalo-Malmivaara is a docent and university lecturer of Special education at the University of Helsinki. She teaches future special educators and studies the applications of psychology in school environments with particular emphasis on the concept of happiness and strength-based teaching.

Lotta will introduce the audience of TEDxOtaniemiED to the role of happiness in school contexts and explore such related themes as social belonging, sense of significance and building on ones existing strengths. As Lotta is a firm believer in embracing positive values, seizing moments of success and compassion, these will form the foundation for her speech at TEDxOtaniemiED.


How did you get the idea for your TEDx talk?

I teach future special educators. My research focuses on positive psychology classroom applications and character strength interventions. Diagnosing what is good and intact in every learner is at least as important as finding out what could be improved. This is of particular salience when working with students with special needs. In too many cases, we are very familiar with everything that we are not capable of but non-aware of where we excel. Promoting positive emotions and the idea of going from "what is right with you" is something that I wanted to emphasize in my TEDx talk.

What would you like to happen to your talk and your message?

I would love to see educators, student teachers and parents get the message of building on what is well functioning in their students and cultivating strength based positive education.

Find your proximal zone of strengths! is one of my mottos.

What are you doing next?

I keep on running positive psychology interventions in schools with my students. I'm also writing a book of character strength education with my PhD student Kaisa Vuorinen.This book will be published in January 2016. I work in a compassion promoting project CoPassion (led by Prof. Anne Birgitta Pessi) that aims at growing compassion in organizations. I also participate in Helsinki Challenge competition in the Play-Learn-Heal team (led by Prof. Kristiina Kumpulainen) that develops new concepts of well-being and learning for hospitalized children. 

Where can people find you?

I work in University of Helsinki, in the department of Teacher education. My projects and publications can be found in http://blogs.helsinki.fi/lmuusita/.

The talk is illustrated with Sketchnotes by Linda Saukko-Rauta at www.redanredan.fi. 

The talk is illustrated with Sketchnotes by Linda Saukko-Rauta at www.redanredan.fi.