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Promoting Emotional Resiliency

May 5, 2016 03:36 PM

Dr. Paul Cants, Adler University; UIC College of Medicine; Yehi Ohr
Dr. Malka Miller, Yehi Ohr

What is resiliency? It is a process to harness resources to sustain well-being. Children have a great deal of stress in their lives. When those stresses stay bottled up, they make their presence known in the children’s behavior. As educators, there are important ways in which you can give supportive action to build the self-esteem that children need towards being resilient. 

  • Build confidence by focusing on students’ improvements, noticing contributions, building on their strengths, showing your faith in them and acknowledging difficult tasks.
  • Focus on past successes and build on them.
  • Make learning tangible through differentiation. Adapt lessons to reach each child’s way of learning. Use a multi-sensory approach. Give them the tools they need to succeed in learning.
  • Recognize achievements , employing a variety of ways to reward and reinforce students’ work and accomplishments.
Remember the five A’s that provide support to students:
  1. Acceptance: show acceptance of each student and their individual learning style and background
  2. Attention: make sure to take time for each student, greeting them in the morning, listening to them, be attuned to their feelings; asking students about themselves
  3. Appreciation: express appreciation, both orally and in writing,  for desired behaviors and achievements, being specific about what they did well, focusing on the present
    • Use a three-part appreciation statement
      • The student’s action
      • How you feel about the action
      • The positive effect of the action
  4. Affirmation: Affirmation statements encourage students to believe in their known desirable traits and to be aware of hidden traits. When positive traits are recognized, students feel good, not only about themselves, but also about you because you took the time to notice and comment.
  5. Affection: What comes from the heart enters the heart.
Four Goals that Motivate Student Misbehavior
  1. Attention Seeking Behavior; both active, disrupting class and passive, not engaging in classroom tasks
    • Prevention:
      • Give lots of attention to appropriate behavior
      • Teach students proper ways of directly asking for attention
  2. Power Seeking Behavior; temper tantrums and quiet noncompliance
    • Prevention:
      • Avoid and defuse direct confrontations
      • Grant students legitimate power - leadership roles
  3. Revenge Seeking Behavior; direct and indirect physical attacks, psychological attacks – verbal and physical, withdrawal behavior meant to hurt or frustrate
    • Prevention:
      • Build caring relationships despite their actions
      • Teach students proper ways to express their hurt and hostility
      • Invite them to talk
  4. Avoidance of Failure Behavior; frustration tantrums, procrastination, written work handed in late or not at all, physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach cramps, nausea
    • Prevention:
      • Encourage students to change their self-perception from “I can’t to “I can”.
      • Help students end their social isolation by drawing them into congenial relationships
      • Encourage students’ contributions in class
      • Encourage students to help other students

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