Attuned Communication instead of Classroom Management? #19
Feb 11 2017
Want to try attuned communication with your kids so you don’t have to rely so much on traditional classroom management techniques? Listen to this interview with Laura Fish, it’s got tons of great advice for building up our kids, giving them confidence and strengthening executive function through conversation! You can listen to this episode above, listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcript below. Laura Fish Today’s interview is with Laura Fish. Laura has a Bachelors degree in psychology and a Masters degree in Counseling. You can find out more about her and her coaching and counselling services, based in San Marcos, California, at Laura Fish Therapy. Laura’s background Laura started out 20 years ago as a preschool teacher, then became a mental health consultant for public, private and Head Start early education centres. This included partnering with child welfare and special education departments on behaviour support services for special needs or at-risk children. For the past 7 years Laura has been training early childhood teachers and coaches on the evidence-based framework called The Teaching Pyramid. Laura looks at education and child development through the lens of interpersonal neurobiology, which in simpler terms means, looking at health and well-being through the connection between mind, brain and relationships. What’s wrong with the term classroom management? Laura, it’s wonderful to have you on the podcast today, thanks so much for chatting with me! Thanks for having me, Liz! I’m a big fan of your podcast, so it’s exciting to be on! The term ‘classroom management’ is widely used in education but I know you’re not a fan of that phrase. Can you explain what it is about the term ‘classroom management’ that concerns you and what you think is a better alternative, and why? Oh sure! The way we speak about something, the words we use, impact how we think, feel and behave. So, if teachers are focusing on “managing” the classroom, they tend to be in a reactive frame of mind. They’re scanning for what is going wrong and trying to fix it or manage it. If you’re always scanning for danger, looking to manage, looking to fix, you are vulnerable to feeling overwhelmed, helpless, and burned out because it’s where you’re casting the spotlight of your attention, on problems. So, I encourage teachers and parents alike to continue to scan for safety. We do want to keep our kids safe, of course, but we remember to balance that out with also looking for what’s going well when you are scanning. Moving on from management to child development This requires adults to reframe their role from one of “managing behaviour” to that of developing the child’s skills: which skills can we teach children to promote social, emotional, and academic growth, as well as prevent challenging behaviour. In this way, adults may remain in more of an open, receptive frame of mind, seeking to teach versus manage. The focus is on the child’s development versus classroom management or home management. And the funny thing is when teachers and parents do shift in this way, the classrooms end up being managed because they are teaching children the skills they need to prevent the teachers from having to manage them so much in the first place. And the other big benefit for this is teachers’ stress or parents’ stress decrease over time because you don’t feel like you’re constantly putting out fires.