The stress-proof classroom

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The stress-proof classroom

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Stress proof classroom

A restorative approach to classroom management

20-21 March 2020

Commencing Friday afternoon, 20 March (3pm - 6pm) and continuing all day Saturday 21 March (9am - 4pm), this course empowers teachers to use a newfound understanding of the role stress plays in learning to design effective and positive teaching and learning experiences for their students. The course supports teachers to adjust their class management strategies to meet the varying needs of students regardless of background or ability, by demonstrating that in order to have safe, positive and productive learning environments, self regulation on the part of both teachers and students is a precursor to successful academic outcomes.

The practical tools gained by learning about the neurocardiology behind ‘high coherence’, combined with the Restorative approach to classroom management will equip teachers with the skills to adjust programs and approaches for a safe and supportive learning environment.

In the stress-proof classroom, an explicit set of expectations and carefully structured restorative processes and responses to discipline issues allow for the management of challenging behaviour and for full engagement by students to deal with problems when they arise.

The stress-proof classroom aligns with Australian Professional Standards for Teachers focus areas and descriptors 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4. A USC Certificate of Participation worth 10 hours of professional development will be issued on completion of the course.

Cost

A$250 for 1.5 days.

Refreshments

Light refreshments are provided including lunch on Saturday. Some gluten-free options will be available but for strict dietary requirements, please bring your own snacks.

To register

Visit the events page

Course leader

The course facilitator, Dr Shelley Davidow is a lecturer in the School of Education at USC and is an award-winning international author of 45 books, including the highly acclaimed ‘Raising Stress-Proof Kids’ (Exisle Publishing, Australia, 2014, Familius Books USA 2015, published simultaneously in Poland and Vietnam, 2015). She is an educator, presenter and researcher, a trained facilitator in Restorative Practice and a Heartmath Coach and Mentor.

Drawing on her 20 years of experience as a primary and high school teacher, a facilitator of Restorative Practice and on her research with neurocardiologists at the Institute of HeartMath in California, Shelley looks at practical and empowering tools that can enable teachers to sustain themselves, prevent burnout, and create optimum learning environments that support the children who are in their classrooms.

More information

For further information please email engagement@usc.edu.au

Focus and content of the sessions
Focus: stressful emotions translate into stressful interactions.

Stress impedes learning; positive emotions enhance interactions, diminish sympathetic nervous system activity and support students to engage positively in classroom activities.

Teachers will be shown how to:

  • identify / read the stress-response system
  • mitigate the stress-response system.

Teachers will learn how to:

  • use the ‘quick coherence technique’ themselves in stressful situations
  • instruct students on using the ‘quick coherence technique’.

Material / content used to support this learning:

To highlight this, we will show teachers the “advanced biofeedback technology” to demonstrate, how negative perceptions and reactions to student behaviour affect their own heart rhythms.

We ask teachers to consider the impact of stress on physiological, emotional and cognitive function, and ask them to make connections to issues of classroom learning and student engagement.

We will preface research from the TestEdge studies run by the Institute of HeartMath and will present information about:

  • the autonomic nervous systems, heart-rate variability and an overactive sympathetic nervous system (stress response) and
  • the power of positive interactions, leading to enhanced physiological, emotional and cognitive function.
  • creating environments and interactions where students / teachers / colleagues are in states of “high coherence”.

We will facilitate discussion about the role of the teacher in managing both their own stress-response and being aware of student stress in managing challenging student behaviour.

We will introduce strategies for creating a state of ‘high coherence’ for self and others.

Actions

Teachers will gain an understanding of how to implement positive interactions and support all students through the following learnings:

  • engage in observations and / or participate in using the EmWave, sophisticated biofeedback technology developed by the Institute of HeartMath
  • identify the impact of positive thoughts and a feeling of gratitude on physiology (in particular how positive interactions translate into ordered, harmonious heart rhythms)
  • discuss the EmWave as a tool to monitor stress and provide indicators of social, emotional and mental wellbeing
  • identify factors that increase the stress response and identify factors that decrease the stress-response and the impact this has on learning and behaviour
  • articulate the importance of an inclusive classroom learning environment for lowering stress and creating optimum academic and social development.

Teachers will:

  • brainstorm strategies and processes that lead to “high coherence” states (example ‘gratitude circles’, positive language models, affirmative feedback loops etc.)
  • look at cause and effect relationships between high coherence states and improved learning engagement opportunities and reduce significant behaviour management incidences
  • discuss restorative tools and no-blame techniques that are most useful in promoting inclusivity, and engaging and supporting all students in their particular classroom environment.
Focus and content of sessions

After understanding how to mitigate the stress-response system, teachers will focus on understanding the role of affective statements in the Restorative approach.

Teachers will be shown how to:

  • understand the impact and ethos of restorative practice worldwide
  • understand the affective statements in the restorative chat, the restorative circle, and the classroom conference.

Teachers will learn how to:

  • establish a clear, consistent fair approach to challenging behaviour using the restorative chat and circle
  • shift to a no-blame approach and focus on behaviour, not on the person him/herself.

Material / content used to support this learning:

To support this, teachers will be provided with restorative scripts and scenarios to demonstrate the fairness of the approach and how it leads to increased levels of respect in the school community.

We ask teachers to consider the impact of the punitive versus the restorative approach to behaviour management and ask them to make connections to issues of classroom learning and student engagement.

We will provide research about the impact of restorative practice worldwide and will present information about:

  • the restorative approach in the criminal justice system
  • data from the USA showing the impact of restorative practice programs in several school districts involving thousands of students on the frequency and severity of behaviour issues
  • the effectiveness of a restorative approach over time in creating respectful learning environments
  • we will facilitate discussion about the role of the teacher in establishing expectations of the ‘no-blame’ approach in their classrooms and being aware of the impact of using the affective statements to address challenging student behaviour.

We will introduce strategies for creating a solution-focused approach for behaviour issues when they arise in order to create fair and respectful learning environments.

Teachers will:

  • share recent classroom scenarios and participate in role play, using restorative scripts for the restorative chat, circle and conference from the International Institute for Restorative Practice
  • identify the impact of the affective statements and observe how they lead to agency and accountability (in particular, how this translates into a reduction of challenging behaviour through students taking responsibility for the impact of their behaviour)
  • discuss restorative practice as a whole school / classroom approach to establish clear
    expectations and provide the tools for supporting social, emotional and mental wellbeing
  • identify the prime elements in the no-blame approach and the impact this has on learning and behaviour
  • look at statistics from several school districts in the USA that show a significant reduction in challenging behaviour after implementing the restorative approach
  • articulate the importance of a restorative learning environment for optimum academic and social development.

Teachers will:

  • brainstorm strategies and processes in the restorative paradigm that lead to engagement and accountability. (example ‘classroom circles,’ ‘undercover teams’)
  • look at cause and effect of the solution-focused approach and reductions in severity and nature of behaviour incidences over time
  • discuss the challenges and potential outcomes of school / classroom change in shifting (from a punitive) to a restorative approach
  • use the restorative chat script to workshop and discuss typical playground and classroom scenarios where the use of the restorative chat provides fast, fair and respectful intervention for a range of challenging behaviours
  • use a ’no-blame, no shame’ restorative classroom conference script to workshop and discuss classroom scenarios where the restorative conference provides timely, fair and respectful intervention for a range of challenging in-class situations
  • watch a 35 minute video ‘Burning Bridges’ on the power of restorative justice in action in a juvenile crime case in the USA.
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