Behavior

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27 Jan: Doing the Right Thing

By Dr. Will Henson Many educators conducting distance learning  are frustrated by situations that are out of their control.  Sometimes students don’t show up for class, or fail to turn in work. Some even completely disappear. It feels like kids are struggling. I know educators are worrying about all of their students, and especially the ones who seem to be falling behind. The avenues to help them feel limited and inadequate. Right now, it might feel like what is expected of educators is overwhelming. We are all doing a lot, and we may even get less positive feedback and support than usual. We don’t have easy access to our colleagues and supervisors, and we haven’t even met some of our…

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07 Dec: How to Beat Back Depression During COVID-19

By Dr. Will Henson A recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry examined over 100 factors related to depression that people could change or modify in their lives to help minimize the impact of depression. The results would be interesting even under normal circumstances, but the COVID-19 pandemic makes the findings especially salient since we know that during times of societal upheaval, depression rates increase. So what did the study find? First: the most important thing people can do to combat depression is to maintain strong social connections. Social connectedness is essential in preventing and combating depression. While it’s harder than ever to maintain during the pandemic, it’s also more important than ever. Regular phone calls with friends…

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23 Nov: Positive Experience is the Medicine Students Need

By Dr. Will Henson Trauma-informed practices are becoming the new norm. One of the key parts of this whole movement is that educators have stopped focusing on just the student, and started changing the practice to also focus on adults. We have realized the importance of prioritizing safety, establishing predictability and building relationships. It’s amazing how it can impact our students when we focus on the things we as educators can control. How does all this help, and ultimately, change the kids we work with? I’ve talked in the past about how interventions that target only our thinking brain – the prefrontal cortex – are not enough. Interventions like talking through problems, being taught skills, or being given incentives are…

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06 Apr: The Structure of Being at Home

by Dr. Will Henson Educators across the country remain home at this time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being at home brings up its own set of challenges in terms of how we structure our time, how we structure our kids’ time, and how we get things accomplished. In a typical week, structure is imposed from outside: we have a specific time to be at work, for the kids to be at school, for appointments, and so on. We can effectively run on autopilot, and get lost and distracted in the busyness of everyday life. Being home with no appointments, little structure, and few distractions brings up its own set of challenges.  In this post I want to talk a little bit…

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03 Mar: For Challenging Behaviors – Relationships are the Solution

by Dr. Will Henson I was recently consulting with educators about a student who had a lot of trauma. The student was having a lot of behavioral challenges commonly associated with students with adverse childhoods. After a while the teacher expressed frustration.  “I adore this kid. I’ve had him for two years. We have a great relationship. But I’m worried I’m not helping him. He still has challenging behaviors. He’s behind academically, maybe he would be better in a behavior program.”   This frustration is understandable. We pour so much time and effort into these students, and we want to know that we are making a difference. What I pointed out to this teacher is that the effort is the solution….

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04 Feb: Professional Development -Translating New Ideas to New Practices

by Dr. Rick Robinson Professional development is the practice of reflecting on our skills, and getting better at what we do. It is a common focus for educators who wish to continue to grow and progress in their expertise. Often, however, the process of reflection and change can be a lot more difficult than it sounds. It is extremely common to come away from a workshop or training with exciting ideas and goals, but then struggle to implement them effectively. Has this ever happened to you? Professor of Psychology and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, George Loewenstein, Ph.D., coined the term “hot-cold empathy gap” that seems to offer a path forward for us in making professional development more effective. Dr….

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20 Jan: Introducing our new ‘Concepts in Action’ videos, and a Q&A with Mr. Gillespie, the educator featured in them

We would like to introduce the experienced educator, Lawrence Gillespie, who is featured in the 5 new videos in our Trauma Informed series. These videos, which we call ‘Concepts in Action’, show Lawrence using best practices and sharing insight on helping students become regulated, and building student resilience. We developed these videos because so many educators told us that they understood the concepts, but didn’t know what it actually looked like when an educator used the strategies. We think these new videos are a great way to help move further towards being trauma-responsive.  Lawrence was an easy choice to deliver the messages in these videos because he has spent many years in education, and has held several different positions –…