Education

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24 Mar: Adult Wellbeing is the Foundation of Social Emotional Learning

Adult Wellbeing is the Foundation of SEL In honor of #SEL Day, (selday.org) we wanted to acknowledge the critical importance of adult wellbeing. Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) is a well-researched and effective intervention to help kids learn critical skills. Yet, these skills are not simply learned as a set of facts. In order for kids to effectively learn new social and emotional skills the adults that teach them need to know them first, and then model them to students! Adults need to truly understand SEL and show those skills to the children in their lives. If you need a bit of understanding on the why, here are four reasons to begin SEL instruction with adults: Only Regulated People Learn: Learning…

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19 Feb: “The Daily Hunt”: One teacher’s approach to tracking down students during distance learning

By Dr. Will Henson We are halfway through the school year and for many districts across the country, that still means remote learning. One of the most maddening aspects of being online is having students who simply don’t show up. We worry about academics, of course, but also the student’s emotional wellbeing. I want to share one teacher’s solution. He calls it “the hunt.” As this teacher maps out his time, he has a block each day dedicated to “the hunt.”  The hunt works like this: the teacher and his assistant have divided up the students on their caseload by who has the best relationship with them. Each day during the hunt, staff reach out in some way to each…

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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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05 Jan: Cheers to a Hopeful Year Ahead

Happy New Year! Welcome back! We hope you had a restful and rejuvenating Winter Break. As we launch into the new year, we want to praise the hardworking educators in this country, and around the globe.  We know that the world of education has been dramatically changed by COVID-19 and the events of 2020. It has been a frustrating time of trial and error, stops and starts, and new challenges that teachers and administrators have never faced. And yet. The strength, determination, ingenuity, and perseverance of our educators has been nothing short of astonishing. With the wellbeing of their students as their compass, educators have rallied to find solutions to problems nobody had even thought of before. All you have…

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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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10 Sep: Remote Learning: Cameras On or Off?

by Dr. Will Henson As many districts have started off the year with remote instruction, we’ve been asked: Should students be required to have cameras on for distance learning? This is a complicated subject with many factors. This topic brings into questions of student engagement, as well as privacy issues. Many things can be true at the same time. For instance it can be true that students may encounter zoom fatigue, and or social anxiety, by looking at cameras all day. And this is a real problem that we are going to have to deal with if this remote learning continues for a lengthy amount of time. But it is also true that students who turn off their cameras are…