This post helps condition students in stress with an active learning attitude. “7 ways to calm a young brain in stress” introduces stress, it’s sources, symptoms and strategies. Teachers do this through ‘ stress-informed care principles’. Answer Kaufman’s questions to create the ‘ stress-informed’ framework for your institution. Adopt our five classroom strategies to help students in stress. Teachers, after all, form an encouraging and positive environment around students. Last but not least, let’s not forget, parents are the first teachers that children find in their lives.
Healing is best dealt with at source
Children are more vulnerable in the face of traumatic stressors than adults. Addressing childhood stress in adults is like answering a riddle. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Hence, its best dealt with at source with ongoing counselling and emotional support. Education helps children manage their feelings, attitudes and coping skills. Communication practices are well versed with education. Thus, forming a constructive outlet for the student.
Adults, in particular teachers, who share experiences with their students, are also stressed . Coping mechanisms lead to better mental health for both students and teachers. But, adults also need ongoing counselling to deal with their childhood emotional stress.
“Teachers wear many hats: they must teach, nurture, and support. They are in a wonderful position to educate about facts and feelings. Teachers should let students know there are no right or wrong ways to feel, and that feelings change over time”. “Accept all opinions; correct misinformation; and be mindful to teach and model tolerance.”Dr Robin F. Goodman, author of 10 Tips for Talking With Students About Tragedy
Stress-Informed Care Principles for students in stress
Developed by Roger D. Fallot and Maxine Harris (2006), America has put into practice it in its schools. They are as follows:
- Safety – Safe spaces marked as well as an awareness of an individual’s discomfort.
- Transparency and Trust – Inform what’s happening as well as what’s likely to happen next.
- Choice – Honouring the individual’s dignity.
- Collaboration – Healing happens in relationships and partnerships with shared decision-making.
- Empowerment – This includes validating an individual’s strength.
Kaufman’s Stress-Informed Framework for students in stress
Answer Kaufman’s questions to create the ‘ stress-informed’ framework for your institution. This guide adopts a multi-tiered approach to stress-informed practices:
- How does the entire school community support a safe and secure surrounding?
- What are the discipline policies in the district?
- How do we determine the stress history of our students?
- How can support be available for all students, despite their stress history?
- What kinds of positive-behaviour interventions is present to support all students?
- How is the behaviour of the stressed student at the school addressed?
- How does the institution support social-emotional learning of stressed students?
1. Have an open-minded and curious attitude to decode the behaviour of students in stress
Avoid judging and jumping to conclusions about where they come from. Instead, follow an empathetic approach in understanding the child’s traits and behaviours. Thus, you will be able to communicate better and will benefit all the students.
2. Buddy system
Pair up students in your class. It can also work brilliantly to partner older and younger children. The buddy system promotes friendship as students work as a team in academic and extracurricular activities. It addresses a student’s social needs through a more inclusive and supportive school community. Thus, building relationships between teachers and peers. Hence, forming a supportive learning environment.
3. Educational trips
Nature has the power of making us awe-struck. This feeling of awe reduces stress. A study at the University of California, Berkeley proves time with nature most likely evoked feelings of awe. Hence, improving their sense of well-being. Taking part in activities also builds the team spirit in the class.
4. Deep breathing
Harvard Medical School says deep breathing “can slow the heartbeat and lower blood pressure”. A calmer mind is more receptive to learning. Hence, with continued practice, increasing attention span. Thus, teachers should begin and end lessons with guided deep breathing.
5. Ninety-second hand massage with lotion
Provide each student with a drop of lotion. Ask them to massage their hands. Thus, releasing any thoughts or emotions that might have them anxious or stressed, and fosters relaxation.
Some of the students should be able to identify their stressors. Teachers should guide these students to filter their stressors. Recognising negative or positive stressors will help students to develop coping mechanisms. Encourage creative processes like writing, coding or drawing. If successful, then allow them to talk about it with their peers. It should boost their confidence as though they have accomplished a feat.
Communal support for students in stress
Teachers need to be mindful of nurturing students in stress. Yet, the onus shouldn’t only be on them. Instead, the entire school community should unite in support of students in stress. This stops the isolation of students in stress and continues their engagement with the community. Thus, interacting and learning to trust people. Besides, students in stress take ownership of their lives by making their own choices. Once students see the benefits of continuing their education and submitting their homework, they might be more keen to take part. All in all, in guiding and encouraging students to dream and follow their aspirations, we are gearing them up for success.