These are dramatic times for teachers. In educating children, we have a difficult and demanding role. Like no other, our profession is responsible in ensuring that children develop emotionally, socially, and academically. As society evolves in complexity, so does our role. With so many social and emotional issues affecting directly a student’s potential for learning, we can no longer guarantee our success in educating children relying only on academic expertise. The fact is that, like adults, in coping with modern society’s pressures and demands, children are paying a heavy emotional toll too. At alarming rates, more and more children and adolescents are experiencing all kinds of stress and trauma reactions, and at all levels of severity. This can turn into a chaotic scenario for teachers if it catches us ill-prepared.
Since children’s affective and emotional status strongly influences how they perform in the classroom, it is imperative for teachers to become acquainted with how students develop and function socio-emotionally. If we are going to remain effective in doing our job —thriving rather than simply surviving— we need direct access to the current ideas and latest development in child guidance or psychoeducation, a therapeutic approach that blends psychological and educational theories and research.
How Habitually Disruptive and Acting-Out Students Benefit from a Therapeutic Approach
Child guidance, a multidimensional approach to the education of children with emotional and behavioral difficulties, trains children in understanding how feelings and emotions relate to their behavior difficulties. To help students change dysfunctional behavior, this therapeutic model contains a mixture of affective (emotions), cognitive (thinking), and behavioral (behavior) elements, so that acting-out students learn to recognize and understand how their emotions and way of thinking drive their particular pattern of behavior. This therapeutic model is based on the principle that behavioral change comes when students are able to understand the motives behind their behavior and are properly trained in productive and more positive ways of behaving.
What Therapeutic Teachers Do for Habitually Disruptive and Acting-Out Students
Focusing on the unique social and affective needs of the child, a therapeutic teacher develops an adult-child relationship that is conducive to a new insight, and is growth promoting. The therapeutic teacher coaches the student in finding alternative ways of meeting his/her socio-emotional needs in a more effective and socially appropriate fashion. The teacher-student therapeutic relationship takes into full consideration the cognitive and affective factors that are influencing behavior, and involves the student in finding and implementing alternative ways of behaving. The student takes an active role throughout this process in his/her own emotional and behavioral improvement.
A therapeutic model is deeply rooted in the belief that all troubled behavior is determined by a multiplicity of factors in interaction, and that, to be able to change problem behavior, every aspect of the child’s personality —feeling, thinking, and behaving— needs to be taken into account. The therapeutic teacher explains important social and affective concepts and techniques to children, and trains disruptive and troubled students in how to manage their own emotions and behavior. The therapeutic teacher develops an accepting and trusting relationship with the difficult student, seeing the child’s disruptive and acting-out behaviors as a challenge for both teacher and student to master, and a rich opportunity to help the student develop more productive ways of feeling, thinking and behaving. The therapeutic teacher never “gives up” on the difficult student, perseverating in strengthening a mutually trusting relationship while implementing enhanced child guidance techniques to help the child. The therapeutic teacher always uses a solution-oriented language, focusing on the possible and changeable when working with the student, and expressing to the child that change is possible and that all students can develop self-control.
Now You Can Develop Child Guidance Skills
To learn how to cope with stressful or troublesome events, build positive attitudes and effective life skills, and achieve their social and academic goals, schools provide the ideal environment in which classroom teachers and related services personnel with the adequate training can teach social and affective skills to children. Teaching these important skills to students relates directly to the role of schools in preparing children to function effectively and to deal competently with society’s demands. When we teach social and affective skills to students, we are giving them the ability to understand and manage their own emotions and behavior, and we are assisting children in developing resilience in coping with further troublesome events along the road.
Unfortunately, a great deal of this very much-needed information from the child guidance and emotional communication literature never reaches teachers. In Psychoeducation for Teachers of Students with Behavior Problems, we recognize and address this need. Now we can train teachers to resolve students’ behavior problems by applying therapeutic techniques based on sound psycho-educational and communication principles. Grounded in the author’s strong psychological and educational background and expertise, Psychoeducation for Teachers of Students with Behavior Problems takes full advantage of current psychological and educational theory and research to train teachers in the child guidance techniques they need to become skillful behavior managers and behavior change promoters.
Essentials of Emotional Communication for Reaching the Unreachable Student: Where Do I Start? What Do I Say? How Do I Do It? To preview this book on Amazon, click on this link.
A Call to All Teachers:
Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”