Sunday, April 16, 2017

What is Your Correcting vs Connecting Ratio?

    

"Does your face light up?" Toni Morrison asked when featured on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2000. "You think your deep love and affection is one display" she explained. But often, we spend many moments "correcting" children - tie your shoes, hang up your backpack, sit down, put that away.

"Let your face speak what's in your heart" Toni Morrison went on to share. How different would each interaction be if instead of correcting children, we spent time connecting and showing them the love that they wish to see in our eyes.


Many educators seek out a magical program that when put into place will support behaviour management. We want something that works for all kids and in all situations.

Along our self regulation journey, we have learned and understood more deeply why that just isn't possible.

Similar to good teaching, we know we cannot adopt one program that will work for all learners. We develop responsive teaching practices where we learn about the children, their needs, which teaching strategies support them as learners and then we differentiate our instruction in the classroom.

Embracing self regulation in the classroom is on that same page. It isn't easy and it doesn't come prepackaged which deters some. We get that. Teaching can be an exhausting career and this additional layer of supporting each child individually may seem daunting. However, the impact is far reaching, powerful and transformative.

In fact, we may even argue that understanding self regulation will actually increase your energy level, wellness and load as an educator. By putting time in with students to support their development, we will on turn find ourselves looking at things through a different, softer lens. 

Self regulation supports educators themselves personally too. It isn't something that only applies to the children in our classroom, it extends beyond our school walls and supports our interactions with friends and family too.

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of listening to Dr Jean Clinton speak. We were drawn into her presence and passion. She spoke about how valuable the relationship between children and caregivers/educators is.


Dr Jean Clinton explained that "strong connections to children, changed their brain". In fact, it she shared that it can neutralize their stress.

We have grown significantly in our approach to supporting young children together as a team. 

We absolutely support an approach where we put time in. We take time in the moments that behaviour surfaces to support young children by co-regulating and we have become stress detectives looking closely at moments and behaviours to ask ourselves, "why did that happen?" and "what stress do we see that is connected?" and "how can we lower stress for this student and others?".

Dr Jean Clinton reflected on how we should, as educators or parents, spend more time trying to figure out when children have their BEST moments. Rather than always focusing on the challenging moments.

What stood out the most from Dr Jean Clinton's keynote speech was when she asked educators to reflect. She asked: 
what is your connecting vs correcting ratio?

What a powerful question. What a powerful thought to keep in our minds as we interact with children throughout the day. 

Will we take the limited moments we have with each child to connect with them? Or will we use those moments to correct them? Can our connections actually support what we may have set out to "correct"?

This week, take time to step back and think carefully.


What is your correcting vs connecting ratio?

The video "Every Opportunity", though a bit exaggerated for filming, really does embody this message too. It is a powerful message to remind ourselves of. We loved these key messages from the video:


"Everyone we meet through our day, can make a difference"
"Talk with us, not at us"