Looking for ways to better engage your audience when invited to speak or present at a teacher’s conference? Here are some easy tips below that can help ensure that your audience walks away not only inspired by what you have to say but also with the ability to implement the changes you speak of at their school or in their classroom!
These are just a few tips so the next time you are invited to speak or present at an education conference, you can ensure that you not only connect with your audience but also provide them with the means for implementing your ideas! Have any other tips you would like to share? Let us know, we’d love to hear them!
Other Tips for Educators
Mental health and the well-being of students have become somewhat of a hot topic these days, given the toll the recent pandemic has taken on our daily lives. And so, to assist students, schools have taken it upon themselves to provide different means of support, ranging from teaching meditation techniques to providing yoga lessons and implementing programs such as EASE, which are developed to help learners identify and manage anxiety, etc. While all of these are great, they are all missing one essential component – the planning tools for shifting the mindset of students because for learners to use these strategies they must be able to take and apply them whenever problems arise in a real-life context. And what does the process of shifting mindset entail? It involves creating planning templates that will allow students to reflect on where they are currently with managing stress, and set goals for where they need to be, and use problem-solving techniques being taught in class. Below are some steps that schools can take to develop the tools students will need to overcome an anxiety mindset.
1. Identify Characteristics
When it comes to creating a shift in mindset for overcoming anxiety, there are many characteristics one should possess; for simplicity’s sake we have chosen the following four: positive-focused, understanding, self-compassionate and self-confidence. What you choose for your learners and how many traits is up to you.
2. Create Self-Reflection Form
Once you have identified the qualities students should possess to overcome anxiety, the next step involves creating a self-reflection form for learners to assess where they feel they are in this moment in time with regards to each area, as shown in the example below, which includes questions for reflecting, prompts to guide their thinking, checklists for noting where one is at within each characteristic, and spaces to note areas for improvement in each category.
Providing students with a self-reflection form such as the one above gives them a starting point in determining their strengths and weaknesses, which can then be used for setting goals to overcome the areas they may be struggling with.
3. Create Goal-Setting Template
After creating a self-reflection form, a goal-setting template needs to be developed for students so they can outline specific steps for overcoming areas of weakness, as shown below.
When completing the form, students can be thinking about meditation or yoga strategies, or those provided by a program such as EASE that will help them to shift their mindset in areas where they wish to improve. For example, during a lesson on managing anxiety, students could choose from a list of strategies for understanding where one’s anxiety comes from to use in their goal-setting form.
4. Create Problem-Solving Template
Finally comes the template that will allow students to identify problems they are facing and solve them using strategies from the overcoming anxiety mindset you want to instill, which could look something like the one below.
When completing the above template, students would first need to identify the problem they are facing, rephrase it positively, and then ask themselves what causes their anxiety, how they can practice being kind to themselves while resolving it and lastly, how they can improve their self-confidence so they can move past the problem and the anxiety associated with it. Once they have gone through the problem-solving process, students can reflect on the strategies they used to see which ones worked and which ones didn’t so they are better equipped to handle upcoming issues that may arise. This is but one way the template could be arranged and when creating yours, keep in mind that there should be a logical process for students to follow as they work through the problem-solving process.
5. Repeat and Revise
The same forms for self-reflection, goal-setting and problem-solving can be used over and over again until the process of overcoming anxiety becomes second-nature to students. And when learners get to this point, does this mean you can’t push them further into exploring and developing new characteristics? Absolutely not! You can always revise the templates by removing some of the characteristics and replacing them with new ones to focus on!
When it comes to helping students overcome anxiety and improve their mental health, the simple act of providing the tools for shifting mindset will go a long way in assisting learners in knowing how to use the techniques and strategies being taught in class in everyday life. And imagine the impact this will have on students as they move through life with the know-how and the skills to deal with any stressful situation they may encounter!
Are you wanting to design templates for shifting mindset but feel you might need some further guidance? Contact us, we are happy to help!
While the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns and students flip-flopping between remote and in-classroom learning is a large-scale problem, it’s not one that can be resolved with generalized blanket solutions and additional funding alone. At some point schools will need a concrete plan of action and tools from governments to bridge the learning gaps that were created due to various factors, such as student demographics, access to technology, and varying levels of parental support. Below is an outline of some steps that could be proposed to empower schools as they navigate their way towards a plan to support the needs of learners when they re-enter the classroom on a more permanent basis.
1. Bridge the Gaps Between Subject-Area Curriculums:
First off, schools need to figure out what teachers at each grade level missed covering during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. The reason I say this is because many schools chose to pare down what was being taught and selected a few core subject areas to focus on, such as Language Arts (LA) and math, thereby allowing other areas to take a backseat. By having the teachers go through their curriculums and come together as a staff to see where the gaps are, plans can be made to shift things around and strategies can be devised for bridging them beforehand. A pre-emptive strike, if you will, that will not only allow staff to begin the next school year prepared, but will also eliminate unnecessary student testing.
2. Determine Assessments:
Based on the gap-analysis of what has or hasn’t been taught, schools will then need to determine the type of assessments needed and for which subject areas, because there’s no sense in testing students on curriculum objectives that weren’t covered. It can be assumed that this year’s classroom teacher will need to cover those first before moving to next grade-level outcomes.
3. Develop an Educational Framework:
An educational framework can be developed with the knowledge of what has or hasn’t been covered curriculum-wise and the assumption that students will come in with varying abilities and needs based on how much time was spent on remote-learning. Below is a generalized example of what a differentiated educational framework could look like, as a framework’s design can take any shape depending on a school’s vision and core goals.
Setting up a differentiated framework like the one above allows staff to see that throughout every single subject area at the school the differentiation of curriculum objectives need to include specialist areas such as PE, music, art, etc. It must be a school-wide effort.
To learn more about educational frameworks see:
4. Develop Teacher Planning Tools
Based on the goals of the school’s differentiated educational framework, individualized planners need to be developed for staff so they have the proper planning tools in place to accommodate differing learner needs. For example, a grade 3 planner for math may look like the one below:
While the above is a very basic example, it gives you an idea of how planning tools can be set up to accommodate the differing needs of students within the class. To learn more about individualized planners see the following articles:
The Power of Planners
Individualized Teacher Planners: Do They Really Work?
How to Use Planners as a Tool for Mentoring Teachers
5. Include Support Staff
Although language/learning support staff may not have had direct input into how to bridge the curriculum gaps that may exist at a school due to some outcomes not having been taught, they do need to be informed on decisions made and provided with copies of the updated curriculums moving forward, otherwise they will be coming in blind in terms of being able to best support students. In addition to the updated curriculums, both collaborative planning time and planning tools will need to be provided to staff so that information can easily be shared and so that support staff have access to the curriculum. This can be done through the creation of planners that follow the jigsaw method of attaching so that support staff planners can feed off the information provided by the mainstream and specialist teachers. To learn more about this technique see Linking Teacher Planners: The Jigsaw Method.
6. Include Tutors
If providing tutors for students who require additional support outside of school is part of the plan, then they should be regarded the same way as any language or learning support staff and be provided with both the revised sets of curriculum objectives and the collaborative planning tools that will allow them to access the curriculums so they may best support their students, whether in-person or via online learning.
While it’s true that lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted student learning, if governments provide schools with clear steps for moving forward and the knowledge to create tools to empower their staff and students, learning gaps can be bridged and those learners who may have fallen behind can catch up to their peers. To learn more about any of our outlined steps or for assistance in creating an educational framework and/or planner, contact us!