Personal Improvement Institute

Course Descriptions


The Teacher in Teaching (Craig Schmidt)

Good to Great

    The Teacher in Teaching is designed to be a summary of the areas of personal growth and struggle that have surfaced over the 20+ years Craig Schmidt has been teaching courses he developed. Those of you who know or experienced Craig will recognize many of the areas studied in this course including but not limited to:



Emotional Control (including the "Pain Body") 

The Ego 

Sharpening The Saw 

Our Thoughts 

Maps in our lives - The good, the bad, and the ugly 

My Reaction, My Choice - Feelings & Actions 

Pleasing Personality - How Likable Are You?

What I Get (Personal Responsibly)


The Teacher in Teaching will provide students a unique opportunity to examine the areas of struggle in their lives and look at ways to ease the weight of these struggles on their the path of life. 

Dealing With Stress In Education (Lisa Kopp)

“Fully 40% of employee turnover is stress related” " ~ Psychology Today ~

    Today’s fast-paced, pressure-laden way of life creates health problems that were not recognized as serious seventy-five years ago. Stress-related diseases are now the number one concern in personal and professional health. The leading cause of death (heart disease) in America is believed to be due mostly to “un managed” stress. These facts highlight the importance of understanding the physiological and psychological effects stress can have on our body. More importantly, we must learn means to fortify ourselves against these ill effects lest they shorten our lives and discount their value. This course in stress is custom tailored for this purpose. 

The Heart Of Teaching (Lisa Kopp)

Core Ingredients Of Great Teachers

“If commerce of the heart is present, so is a culture for learning

    The Heart of Teaching is a focused examination of the key ingredients of teaching. It is designed for educational practitioners in classroom and administrative positions and is premised on the belief that only those who have a thorough knowledge of great teaching should be allowed to teach our children. The primary objective of this course is to encourage and assist students in a personal examination of their character, personality, and behavior as compared to the themes common to the best teachers. Research shows clearly what our best teachers are and do. The Heart Of Teaching will not only examine these, it will allow the student to experience a strength inventory. This inventory will reveal valuable insight into his/her strengths as compared to the best in the field.

Emotional Intelligence – Understanding & Applying (Brenda Benedict)

“Establishing equilibrium between intellectual faculties and animal propensities"

    Emotional Intelligence - Understanding and Applying is a journey to help us understand the scientific insights into emotions and how they impact personal and professional lives. In gaining an understanding of Emotional Intelligence we come by insight into the puzzling and difficult times in our lives and communities.

Understanding the interplay of thought and emotion is quintessential to controlling behavior. Students will assess their own emotional intelligence in preparation for group discussions designed to help understand how their behavior relates to the mastery of their emotions. This will pave the way for a study of the skills necessary for mastering emotional intelligence 

An added benefit of the course will be explaining how these self-management tools can be introduced to students so they can begin to manage and take responsibility for their own progress in managing emotions. The benefits of school kids learning about emotional intelligence (and control) are immeasurable in their value to educational progress.

Differentiating For Individual Styles (Donna Lanning)

“If you want me to learn it, let me touch it" - Craig Schmidt 

    We know that children are similar to snowflakes in that there are no exact replicas. Going along with this knowledge, we also know that people learn in different ways. Gaining a better understanding of how to teach to various learning styles will help maximize teacher effectiveness. 

Differentiating For Individual Styles will study some well-known theories of differentiated learning such as Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence but will not credit any as being the sole means to reaching students. 

Our emphasis in DIS will be on the idea that everyone learns a little differently than the next student. Our study will not only help teachers understand that a personally tailored education can be a major asset in reaching children, it will also provide teachers with practical ways to deliver individualized (differentiated) instruction. This is a challenge but not one from which we shrink. 

Humor In The Classroom (Donna Lanning)

“Want people to pay attention to you? Make them laugh" ~ Good Advice ~

    The evidence is legion that humor is not only one of the best healing agents known to medicine but also the best 'life-lubricating and pain-alleviating' tool available to the human race. There is recent evidence that if children can laugh while learning a lesson, they will retain the lesson much better than if they sleep through it (figuratively, of course). What is needed now is a way to help educators making humor a vital ingredient in their teaching repertoire. 

At Personal Improvement Institute, we believe that humor is truly a gift to human race from God himself (or herself). For this reason, we accept the challenge of creating a course that will help teachers weave humor not only into the fiber of their classroom curriculum, but in the fiber of their personal lives. Remember, at Personal Improvement Institute, it is our firm belief that improvements we make in our personal lives will benefit the millions of children we serve. We can't think of a better mission.

Dynamics Of Student Motivation (Brenda Benedict)

“Finding Increased Determination In The Face of Adversity”

    Dynamics of Student Motivation is designed for educational professionals in both classroom and leadership positions. The main objective of the course is to develop an understanding of students who do not seem to care and to learn strategies for use in schools and classrooms that will stimulate students to become engaged in the learning process. During the class we will work to understand the unmotivated student and the reasons for their disengagement. This will be done with interactive activities and discussions. Shared each week will be practical approaches and activities that encourage student engagement 

The Human Component In Learning (Donna Lanning)

“The Quality of Education Can Only Be As Good As The Quality Of The Teacher In The Classroom”

    The Human Component in Learning is a personal journey and examination of the elements of humanity that define a great teacher. It is based on the work of Stephen Covey’s epoch work, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and offers unlimited opportunities to learn about or improve upon the character qualities required to reach the pinnacle of effective teaching.

The Human Element In Teaching (Currently Unavailable)

I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion - Alexander The Great

    One of the greatest manufacturers in the world, Toyota Motors, recognizes the fact that their system or technique of manufacturing does not explain their success. Scores of manufacturers have tried to replicate Toyota’s success by following a written “formula” describing in detail their system of manufacturing. None were able to replicate Toyota’s success because they didn’t realize that at the foundation of their success is the company’s focus on the relationships it has with the employees as well as the respect they have for them as people, as human beings.  

When people of any age are asked to describe their best teacher they will compose a list of personal characterristics that qualified the teacher as great. The Human Element In Teaching focuses on these personal characteristics, the qualities that make us human and great teachers at the same time. New to this course, we have woven into the study a focus on what students list as their most common struggles. Our findings is that if we can learn to deal with some of these struggles in our lives, we will not only do a better job in the classroom, but find more peace and fulfillment in our daily lives. 

This experience stands alone in the educational arena in providing educators with the valuable opportunity to examine personal character and learn how to employ it for the benefit of those they serve. Students will take a close look at why Toyota Motors and some teachers are considered the greatest there are. They will examine the human element in their greatness.