Mindfulness is a great practice for trauma-affected youth to develop self-regulation. To use it as a classroom management tool in support of students’ growing personal control, start by developing a daily practice so students know what tools they have to choose from and how to use them. Next, make all hardware and software students might need to engage in guided mindfulness activities readily available. Set up a set of expectations for how students access the activities, how long they can use them, and what they can expect if they misuse them. Finally, support students in decide when it’s the right time to use mindfulness to regain control. Make sure to be consistent.
Mindfulness is a great alternative to power struggles. You should use it to help trauma-affected students to self-regulate and remain in class without losing too much instructional time, making a scene, or embarrassing them. Also, it will help them develop self-regulation. But how do you do it? Keep reading to learn how to incorporate mindfulness as a classroom management tool.
Mindfulness should be practiced in a repeated, consistent, and ongoing way to be effective in helping rewire the trauma-affected brain. In order to incorporate it in a sustainable way, teachers should set aside a time to do mindfulness everyday, stick to it, and develop a running list of varied activities so you don’t have to think too hard when it comes time to implementing your plan.
For mindfulness to truly work in helping trauma-affected students, it needs to be repeated consistently in an ongoing manner. That is, students should do it at the same time (or as close to that as possible) each day. Frequency, according to the mindfulness app Headspace (2020), is more important than duration, so one short meditation every day is better than one long one once a week. But, how do you incorporate mindfulness every single day? Keep reading to learn how!
Teaching mindfulness to students in a sustainable and impactful way includes instruction in some basic brain science along with incrementally less structured meditation activities. Do you want your students to reap the self-regulation and focus enhancing benefits of mindfulness? Even more important, do you want to help your trauma-affected students rewire their brains for academic success? Keep reading to learn an incremental approach to teaching mindfulness to your students. Disclaimer: always give students the option to opt out and make sure they know they do not have to close their eyes if they don't want to. If they don't, guide them to focus on one point in front of them with lowered eyelids.
Teachers who hope to bring mindfulness into their classrooms should start their own practice first. Like any academic content, you should be knowledgeable about mindfulness to incorporate it in your classroom. You can start with highly guided meditations and slowly branch out from there. Start your mindfulness practice so your students’ experiences with mindfulness can be truly beneficial.
True mindfulness fosters stamina, attention, critical thinking, perspective taking, and creativity. Use mindfulness to enhance learning for all of your students, especially those who have experienced trauma.
Mindfulness allows us to shift from a first person to a third person vantage point, in essence gaining control of our thoughts and actions. When we are truly mindful we withhold judgment, which can actually increase our stamina and attention. Mindfulness allows us to think more critically about what we are learning, in the sense that we can start to pay closer attention to the novelty of all aspects of what we attend to and take into account multiple perspectives. Finally, mindfulness allows us to foster our creativity. Keep reading to learn just what makes mindfulness such a strong tool for learning.
Mindfulness taps the higher level functioning brain systems. These systems are responsible for thinking and reasoning. They also can control other parts of the brain. Teachers can use mindfulness to help trauma-affected youth regulate their stress response and generally keep their head in the game.
Mindfulness is a tool that teachers (yes teachers!) can use to help trauma-affected students develop self-regulation. Not sure why you would use mindfulness in your classroom? Keep reading to learn how a consistent mindfulness practice can help trauma-affected youth perform better in school.
Did you know it was only in the past 30 years that brain scientists started to link traumatic experiences with maladaptive behaviors in children? That's right, only recently was the connection made between the trauma children experience and its negative consequences. The scientific and mental health care communities held that children were resilient and would bounce back from adverse experiences. The seminal work of Anda et al. (2006) and work by Dr. Bruce Perry (among so many others) showed a stark contrast to what was previously thought. Instead of being resilient and bouncing back, evidence started to pile up that the impacts of childhood trauma follow people well into adulthood. Not only are trauma-affected youth more likely to struggle with concentration, planning, emotional regulation, and relationships, but they are also more likely to have health problems throughout their lives. Why is that? Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. did a ton of work looking at how trauma impacts the brain. The answer to the question of how does trauma have such a significant and lasting impact on children is that it quite literally interrupts normal brain development. Curious to know how and also why it matters, keep reading!
Do you have students who shut down, refuse to work, or avoid normal school expectations? There's likely an underlying reason for this type of behavior. One way to solve the problem is to determine that underlying reason and help students replace the behavior. This strategy is called developing replacement behaviors and it works great with trauma-affected youth who may struggle with self-regulation. Replacement behaviors are more appropriate and productive behaviors that students develop to take the place of maladaptive ones. Developing replacement behaviors can get students active in the classroom, improve their confidence, and strengthen relationships and the overall classroom community. Read on to learn how to help students replace maladaptive behaviors with replacement behaviors.
Self-regulation is often difficult for trauma-affected youth. They need support in regulating their bodies and minds. This self-regulation I'm referring to is also known as self-soothing. When a student gets escalated, they often need to do something to return to baseline before they can participate in class. If you want to know what self-regulation tools you need to have in your classroom, read on! Help your trauma-affected students get themselves under control with five amazing and easy tools.
You are responsible, as a teacher, for reporting any suspicions of student trauma or maltreatment. Are you sure what to look for? Keep reading to learn how to pick up on some of the more subtle signs of trauma in your students.
My name is Erin E. Silcox. I'm working on my Ph.D. in Literacy Education, focusing on the intersection of trauma and literacy. I want to deepen our base of knowledge about trauma-informed practices in schools and help teachers apply findings right now.