063 – True Potential with Allison Jenson

063 – True Potential with Allison Jenson

Allison Jenson- Podcast

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[In This Episode][Guest Bio][Additional Notes][Text Transcript]

In This Episode

What is the role of Hope in a teenager’s perspective?  Can pain propel us to find the good things in life?  How can we help teens discover their dormant potential?  Join us on today’s episode for a deep discussion filled with gratitude and expectancy.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Welcome to the podcast where we discuss innovation and potential in teens.  At this time of year, we explore gratitude and the effects of thankfulness on our lives.  Today’s episode is about “Hope”–specifically hope for parents and educators who may have a student with unrealized potential.  If you need a shot in the arm or encouragement to stay the course, today is for you.

“Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.”

This excerpt from Langston Hughes is a favorite of mine.  Dreams and Hope carry us through the difficult spots in life.  I’ve lived gritty “hold fast to dreams” experiences.  Sometimes it is only our hope about a situation that keeps the flame burning.  At times, we are a light to our students–the only light.  If this is where you are, Allison’s perspective and experience will give you hope to hold on, to continue being a light.

Allison is a professionally certified educational therapist and the Program Development Manager at the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD).  As a young person facing chronic pain, she learned the value of hope and tenacity, and these experiences shaped her desire to see the full potential in students cultivated and bloom into beautiful things.  Let’s listen in for a hope-filled journey through the life of a passionate educator.

About Allison

Teacher Training - IndiaAllison’s passion is to empower struggling learners with the tools needed to become  competent and confident. She was once a struggling student herself, who was transformed through the support of her parents and a loving and skilled elementary school teacher.

Over the years as a classroom teacher, she has learned that impacting the lives of students includes supporting their families and encouraging community involvement.

Allison is a professionally certified educational therapist with the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD), and currently serves as NILD’s Program Development Manager.

During her 16 years as an educator, she has served as a classroom teacher, mentor teacher, educational therapist, school administrator, and leadership team member for NILD. She is an instructor for NILD, teaching courses and presenting seminars and workshops both nationally and internationally.

Equally as exciting to her as educating youngsters is empowering parents and educators with the tools needed to unlock potential in all learners.

She lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with her husband and two year old daughter.

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What is the Purpose of an Education?

“The purpose of an education is to learn content as well as the process–to learn how to continue to be a learner throughout your lifetime–and to take that learning and make a difference in your world and in your community.”  –Allison Jenson

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Allison‘s Favorite Quote

“No child wants to fail.”–Dr. Robert Brooks

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About Teachers 

My parents were certainly the first and most influential teachers in my life. They powerfully shaped who I am, how I think about myself, and modeled a love for learning and the value of education. My mother’s influence showed me that learning occurs best in the context of safety and security. Emotion and learning cannot be separated. The lessons learned from my mom through conversation and through difficult situations have never been forgotten. My father taught me that hard work and resilience mixed with skill can help you achieve goals you never thought possible. I learned powerful lessons from my Dad’s unconscious modeling as well as his loving direct instruction. The grit and determination he taught me have assisted me through so many seasons of life and helped me persevere and become stronger through failure as he taught me how to learn from my mistakes ~ a skill I have sought to instill in my own students.

In addition to my parents, my 4th grade teacher (Mr. B) inspired and equipped me to be a more successful learner in the classroom setting. Before my year in Mr. B.’s class, I was becoming labeled as a behavior problem and unmotivated student. Academic challenges mixed with emotional upheaval as a young child translated into challenging
behaviors at school that my elementary teachers struggled to understand until Mr. B. He inspired me to higher levels of achievement by highlighting my gifts while pinpointing and addressing my weaknesses. He created a learning environment that was safe, humorous, and challenging and has served as a mentor and model into my adult years. He has always inspired me to cultivate genuine relationships with my students because learning happens in relationship where individuals are heard and valued.

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 Something Allison has made recently:

Play-doh ice-cream cone

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Something Allison has learned recently:

Personally: For a two-year-old obsessed with Frozen, there is no such thing as ENOUGH Elsa and Anna Band-Aids!

Professionally: I have been learning to conduct NILD Educational Therapy with an elementary student in another state through Tele-Therapy. I am so excited about this use of technology and the potential for reaching more students in the future!

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Additional Notes


National Institute for Learning Development- http://nild.org/

  • NILD builds the competence and confidence of students with learning challenges.
  • Provides accredited training to educators.
  • Connects students to NILD-certified and trained educational therapists.
  • An international non-profit with 40 years of proven success.


Full Text Transcript – Coming Soon!

“I learned to be tenacious and to have this view of hope and potential no matter how defiant or unresponsive a student may seem in the beginning.” Allison Jenson

“I’ve learned about the learning process.  There are building blocks.  There are foundational blocks that need to be in place.  Emotion and self-regulation and building resilience–a student’s ability to make a mistake and learn from it–are all foundational and need to be in play.”  –Allison Jenson

“We all have strengths and weaknesses.  Targeting weak areas of thinking is like physical therapy for the mind where you target a weak muscle or a weak limb and strengthen it.  It makes your overall functioning better.  Stimulating these weak areas of thinking affect processing in ways that no one would ever imagine.”  –Allison Jenson

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