PRACTICE BRIEFS

September 05, 2018

Mindfulness is a practice that can be implemented school-wide to improve outcomes for both teachers and students. By building brief moments of dedicated time for easy-to-learn mindfulness practices into the school, students and teachers become more calm, focused, and responsive, while also experiencing less stress and anxiety. Mindfulness builds cognitive and emotional self-regulation, and by doing so, also builds behavioral self-regulation.

May 25, 2018

The need for safety and security has long been established as a foundational need that must be attended to before more abstract aspects of self and interpersonal development can flourish. The default is to focus on physical safety, but it is equally crucial that we attend to psychological and emotional safety in schools. ... When a child’s brain and nervous system is constantly activated by stress, brain development is interrupted. To counter this and ensure that children’s brains and bodies are functioning in ways that are conducive to learning, children need to trust that their schools and classrooms are safe spaces.

April 12, 2020

The relationship between learning, emotion, and physiological arousal runs much deeper than many educators realize and is interwoven with the notion of learning itself. For example, there are many emotional reasons behind why a high school student is willing to invest energy in and engage with solving a math problem. The reasons range from the intrinsic reward of having found the solution, to getting a good grade, to avoiding punishment, ... All of these reasons have a powerful emotional component and failing to recognize these aspects of learning limits the opportunities that educators have for igniting learning. 

March 13, 2018

Although most off-task behaviors are minor in nature, such as goofing-off or talking-out-of-turn, some can quickly escalate and become more serious. Such behaviors not only negatively impact students at the center of the interaction, but all students who find the behavior distracting or upsetting.  Although many educators believe that classroom outbursts occur unexpectedly, researchers have identified a predictable pattern of student behavioral escalation and effective strategies for identifying students who are at risk of having an emotional outburst. ...

February 14, 2018

When a student resists complying or has an aggressive response our emotional reaction can lead us to think that the most effective discipline is to respond with similar behavior. To avoid this feedback loop of escalating aggression, educators need to be equipped with a toolbox of de-escalation strategies that have been shown effective in addressing challenging student behavior. ...

December 20, 2017

Teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, but it is also one of the most stressful jobs as well.  Over time, unaddressed stress can negatively affect your relationships with students and your ability to support them. It is therefore critical that you stay attuned to and attend to your well-being because healthy teachers can help students flourish. ...

November 29, 2017

Two common reasons students cite for disengaging in learning are “It’s not worth it,” and “I know I won’t be able to do it.” By acknowledging and responding to the feelings that students have about the value of learning and their expectations about whether they will be able to learn it, educators can effectively re-engage disengaged students. ... 

October 12, 2017

Classroom management and student discipline are daunting for almost all teachers. Kathleen Cotton found that only 50% of classroom time is spent on instruction while the other 50% is consumed by behavior management. Although discipline comprises a large part of teachers’ roles, they often receive very little training on addressing challenging student behaviors...

September 12, 2017

Each day, students across the country carry interpersonal traumas from abuse and neglect from the families they depend on for care into the classroom. Some of these students also carry community traumas associated with the structural violence of concentrated poverty. ...

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