Social Emotional Support of Students

It’s February.  I call it Love-with-a-Cherry-on-Top month.  We celebrate both Valentine’s Day and George Washington not lying about chopping down his father’s favorite cherry tree!

For educators, it’s a good month to consider how we can help students “feel the love” even when they come to us with major trauma and dysfunction happening in their lives.  (Think hunger, abuse, financial insecurity, divorce, death in the family, cyber bullying, homelessness, gun violence, job loss, foreclosure, etc, etc.)  It is all the “stuff” that goes on at home that we may or may not know about.

Recently I attended a workshop facilitated by Marcia Weseman.  Marcia is part of Crittenton Children’s Center staff at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, MO.   They teach educators the connection between the latest neuroscience studies and the brain.  It is information critical to our success in helping students learn.

The brain shuts down when children experience trauma.  It can’t handle higher order thinking, problem-solving, or decisionmaking.   This mean that when we brush off kids’ concerns as they enter our classrooms, (Oh I’m sorry to hear that.  Now go sit down and get your tablet ready…) we are, in effect, denying them the opportunity to learn.   That is when we often see them acting out or disengaging.

So what are ways educators can respond that support the emotional needs of students and helps move them (and their brains) to a place where they can learn?  Watch the video from Marcia, to learn more about this important topic.

And stay tuned… Marcia will share a guest blog post with us later this month.