5 effective tips for teaching emotional regulation in classrooms
Classrooms are emotional settings. Students’ emotional experiences can impact on their ability to learn, their engagement in school, and their career choices.
Here are 5 strategies for Teaching Emotional Regulation to students in classrooms, improve students’ learning and emotional states, and reduce teacher burden:
1. USE AN EMOTIONAL PLANNER
Begin the school day by asking your students about things that might be bothering them. Ask your students about their homework or what they ate for breakfast. Ask if anyone fought with their brother or sister. The idea is to discuss any event that likely elicited a feeling and have everyone share. This sets the tone for the day, giving you the heads up on who might have a tough day and why. Some kids, particularly the ones with regulation issues, perseverate on things. If the event is still playing in the student’s head, it’s likely the emotion is still festering. You can also go over the day’s schedule and tie it to emotions. Example: If you know that Akash has difficulty with math, let’s help Akash identify the emotion tied to math and then pre-identify a strategy to use when Akash feels it during math time.
Try using an Emotional Planner with some students, as shown in the picture above. This gives kids the chance to think about their emotions in advance of an event, like a field trip, and begin the steps to learn how to manage those emotions using strategies. Use a regular planner, make it a part of your daily schedule on the board, or integrate it into your Google Calendar. There are many ways to make it work and keep the idea of how our emotions drive our behaviors in the front of our minds.
2. BUILD A WORD WALL
Build your students’ emotional vocabulary by giving them direct access to those words and feelings. It is suggested to create a word wall filled with feelings words or hanging a poster in the room with “feelings” faces.
3. De-escalation and Calming spaces in classroom / school
As educators, you have the power to create an emotionally safe classroom in which all feelings are OK, and it’s reinforced that taking care of yourself is normalized and respected. A ‘calm-down spot’ in the classroom is a great way to do that It is recommend to use a pillow or beanbag, a feelings poster, a couple of calm-down strategies such as a stress ball or Theraputty to squeeze, books about emotions, and a timer.” Once it’s set up, make your kids aware of what it’s for and how to use it.
4. Take the focus off of academic success.
You can give students tons of extra academic support, but if they’re not taught the skills needed to regulate their emotions, you’re not likely to see improvement. Stop cramming the academics until you’ve taught them emotional regulation. Rebalance the students’ tasks until they’ve learned some strategies to manage their emotions. Then go back to academics. Teaching kids how to manage their emotions will result in increased focus, which transforms them into students who are ready to learn!
5. MOST IMPORTANTLY - BE PATIENT
The kids who have the most difficulty managing their behavior are often the ones who are falling behind or have gaps in their academic knowledge. Most of the time, the negative behavior patterns are ingrained in them due to years of behaviors fueled by their emotions. No one has ever gotten to the bottom of their issues. No one has helped them to learn how to manage their emotions, and as a result, in addition to the environment, these kids have self-reinforced their negative behaviors. So, not only is it important to get to the core of the issues by teaching emotions, but doing so with patience is key. It will take time to reorient, but the good news is that the brain can be repaired. New neural pathways can be developed, with time and consistency.
4) Video source: Edutopia