Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Chapter 2: The Emotional Domain

It has been an incredibly busy month in our district.  I am not sure I have experienced such a busy startup.  As we look at the emotional domain of regulation, I am reminded of many adults who have either expressed their "stress" or lack of regulation or I have witnessed it in an outpouring  of emotional disregulation in tears and anger!  Shanker asks at the beginning of the chapter why teachers should even be concerned about a student's emotional regulation. Isn't this the responsibility of parents? After all, teacher teach to the cognitive!

in reading this chapter, we realized how closely tied a student's level of arousal and their ability to learn. The key learnings we gleaned from this chapter include the following:

It is very important to explicitly teach students about their emotions; how they feel, how they act and how they sound when they have a certain emotion.

Working on learning the emotions should not be a separate item or part of curriculum (p.33).  A teacher should enhance lessons with emotional learning or integrate the teaching of emotions in the delivered lessons throughout the curriculum.

Teachers should incorporate a range of activities that allow the integration of emotional learning through the day and focus should shift from product to process (p. 30)

The key components of emotional learning include: self-awareness, self-modulation, empathy for others around us, and relationship management (p. 32).

It is important to note students (and teachers) need to understand up-regulation and down-regulation (p. 27).

When asked, students often only identified negative emotions (p. 27).  Is that because we more often call them on negatives and forget the positives?

It is key to note that there may be cultural implications regarding students' identifications of emotions (p. 27).  One idea offered is to send students home to gather information from parents regarding important emotions or those emotions "not allowed to be shown." (p. 34)

The awareness wheel on page 39 would be an excellent tool to help students understand their range of emotions.  (Also found here on page 7 of the powerpoint).

Page 41 offers a great assignment for students (and adults) to track their emotions in an "Emotion Journal".  The idea is to write down how you are feeling throughout the day and associate an emotion with that feeling.

Tools to help students with regulation included yoga, tai chi, meditation and breathing exercises (p. 44).  However, if parents are resistant to some of these, you could also do stretching, walking, breathing exercises outside, observe nature, singing, animal therapy or listening to your heartbeat.

It was noted by staff that some children have only models of disregulation at home, making it difficult for schools to help students learn.

It was also noted by staff that teachers have differing abilities to regulate which might make it difficult for students moving from teacher to teacher in junior and senior high.  Meeting the expectations in each class may cause disregulation.

How can we use this knowledge in our work?
1. use strategies as suggestions in reports
2. offer parents ideas if they are open
3. offer teachers ideas if they are open
4. model discussion about emotions if asked to model lessons
5. introduce the SNAP model 
                          STOP (things I can do to STOP myself and calm my body)
                          -snap my fingers to remind myself to using calming strategies
                          -take deep breaths
                          -put my hands in my pockets
                          -take a step back
                          -count to 10

                          NOW AND (things I can say to myself to keep calm and help me to make the
                          right choices)
                          -calming thoughts/ coping statements
                          -"this is hard, but I can do it"
                          -"I can stay in control"

                          PLAN (Once I have stopped and calmed down, what can I do?)
                          -pick a plan that will work for me and
                          -make me feel like a winner
                          -make the problem smaller not bigger
                          -not hurt anyone, myself or anything
From PAGE 40

6. recommend the book
7. creating awareness for teachers to react calmly to students
8. introduce cultural awareness when needed

Finally, someone read a saying on a poster in one of our buildings...

                                               If a child doesn't know how to....

                                                               read, we teach
                                                              swim, we teach
                                                             count, we teach
                                                             drive, we teach
                                                            behave, we ... punish?

Students need to learn  about their emotions and they don't learn this by osmosis.  We need to model, role play, share, discuss, reinforce, and practice, practice, practice. Our students with exceptionalities often need even more practice yet we give up so easily on them and "place" them in a class that will "better meet their needs."  Yet, if we failed to teach emotional regulation to all of our students, we have failed them.