Happy Friday! Today I'm excited because Barbara from Grade ONEderful was kind enough to accept an invitation to do a guest post for me. I've been following Barb's blog for a year now and I thoroughly enjoy her insight, enthusiasm, and passion for learning. It doesn't hurt that she's from Victoria, B.C., either, since I consider that part of the world God's Country. She's been a teacher for 22 years and when she's not in the classroom, you can find Barb out running, playing with her pups and creating super cute blog designs.
I was super jazzed when she mentioned writing about Conscious Discipline, because guess what's on my night stand? I just finished the first chapter. Thanks, Barbara, for being here and sharing your
reflections and connections with us.
Thanks for inviting me to share some ideas on your blog, Barbara! Reading your daily posts has become a fixture in my morning routine:)
In case you don't already know ... I am hooked on Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey. I bought the book last May and I'm halfway through it. There's a lot to digest!
Becky Bailey teaches you (parent or teacher) how to use the daily conflicts we inevitably encounter to teach character development, social skills, self-control and conflict resolution.
But what's really different about her approach, is her philosophy that real change won't happen until you look inward and begin the change there. This isn't a new idea for many people, but the way Bailey describes how to do this step-by-step (as in chapter-by-chapter) makes it extremely clear and easy to follow.
As I make my way through this book, one of the biggies that has popped out for me is the realization that I'm generally operating (in the classroom) on a mostly (not always) passive level. People who do this (me included) tend to quickly switch to aggression when they're frustrated, and then feel huge guilt. Does that sound familiar?
There are so many areas/thoughts/quotes I could comment on, but I'm going to tell you what she recommends for assertively giving commands to the class as a whole.
Bailey suggests teaching both an auditory and visual signal. I've always done an echo-pattern clap to a 4/4 beat which has worked really well. But I might switch over to a tambourine this year. The idea is that when the children hear the signal they are to stop, breathe deeply, look at you, and wait for directions. The children are to practice "stop, breathe, look and listen" over and over and over again (we all know how much practice and modelling is needed) until it's second nature.
A beautiful children's book that complements this thinking is:
|This peaceful book focuses on|
mindful breathing to help children
experience calmness with their
friends and families.
Of course, not everyone hears the signal (you know how some kids are so deeply immersed in their play or work), so you also teach the class to raise their hand after the signal. This is explained as a way to help your classmates.
Bailey recommends practicing this new behaviour for 21 days in order to teach a new habit. It's also super important to frame the experience in a positive light. Eg., the children who heard the signal are helping their friends be successful by now raising their hands as an additional reminder.
For the teacher, it's important not to judge or manipulate the kids' behaviour. So all you do is describe what's been accomplished. Eg., "You stopped what you were doing, you took a deep breath and you looked at me."
As a reminder to stop, take a breath and relax, here's a STAR poster you can grab. Enjoy!
Have a great day, everyone, and thanks again, Barbara, for inviting me to stop and linger for a while at the Corner :)