Enhancing Self-Regulation through Core Practice: My First Thoughts

Every year of teaching is different. Or at least, I try to make it different. This year, I will be joining the amazing staff at R.L. Hyslop School. I only met the staff once, but their goal is to incorporate “MindUp.” I have read bits and pieces of this resource and found it roughly aligns with my goal to assist students with learning. It promotes social / emotional awareness and psychological well-being. MindUp makes students self-aware of their needs by focusing on the workings of the mind. In its research portion it defines Self-Awareness, Self-Management and Social Awareness. While reading, I saw the connections with Self-Regulation, but wondered why that word was not used directly.

MindUp closely aligns itself with another goal for me this year: Yoga. If you know me at all, I’m the last person who should be teaching Yoga. That doesn’t stop me. My thinking is that it will appeal to different learners in the classroom. I can almost envision the type of student who will really enjoy this opportunity. Kassandra Contant referred me to the app Yoga Studio. She informed me that this app is a helpful resource for a teacher who lacks confidence (and in my case: balance). I think Yoga Studio is the perfect starting point, and an amazing referral. Suddenly, I saw the connections between MindUp, Yoga and DPA. Do teachers fall into a trap of trying to bring too much together?

I felt confident. Then I met up with Aviva Dunsiger who always pushes my thinking. She shared a few thoughts that I knew were true. My overall goal is to improve and enhance my students’ ability to self-regulate. Yoga is a tool. We want students to manage their emotions, learning and behaviour. Students need to grow up understanding how to overcome stress. Yoga may achieve that goal for some or many of my students. I have to be prepared for the fact that it will not work for all. In fact, Aviva shared that Yoga could dysregulate some students. Options have to exist such as read a book or drawing. Students may come into school up-regulated or down-regulated requiring different strategies.

I guess my blog presents no easy answers. It demonstrates a voyage and thought process of my want to do something even though the path is not clear. These thoughts reminded me of Matthew Oldridge’s blog entitled “Don’t Try to Hit a Home Run, When a Solid Base Hit Will Do.” I need something that would get me started and avoid the “what ifs” that prevent us from trying anything new. Just try little things that keep working towards my goals. To paraphrase Matthew, keep the runners moving on bases without striking out. I can proceed even though “what ifs” exist. I can allow myself to try and fix my approach based on reflection and your feedback. Now if only I had your feedback . . .

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