Schools can be really tricky with respect to crisis behaviours because so many students are triggered by non-preferred demands or avoidance of failure. However, teachers are placing demands on students all day long. How can we minimize stress in school environments without compromising the necessary learning that needs to take place? I believe the key is to establish emotionally, psychologically, and physically safe classroom environments. Learning can be risky business so safety is vital.
Here are 5 tips to doing just this:
Set the tone for fairness: Let students know that fairness means everyone gets what they need. Therefore, it will be commonplace for students’ work to be differentiated. That way, students won’t feel threatened if their work does not look like their neighbor’s.
Offer options for activities: Choice allows for students to feel empowered to exercise reasonable control and, thus, ownership over their own learning. Utilize activity choice boards that align to various learning modalities so that students can excel.
Allow collaboration: Peer partnering is a powerful way to motivate students to engage. Not to mention that students learn more from one another than they do most adults.
Stay relevant: Utilize current trends, topics, and technology to maintain student interest. Always be prepared to explain why a task is important and how it connects to everyday life.
Build esteem: Maintain an attitude of encouragement and focus on students’ strengths in order for them to gain confidence to take risks. Remember that attitudes are contagious, so have one worth catching!!!
We want all students to be able to say, “In this classroom , and with my teacher and classmates, I feel safe!”
Dr Dustyn Alexander – Mandt Faculty & Education Implementation Specialist