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Friday, February 5, 2010

Appropriate and Inappropriate Ways for Students to Handle Their Negative Feelings, Stress, and Anxiety at School

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices. Accordingly, our mentees should know how to empower students to control their negative feelings so that those feelings do not disrupt classroom instruction. The Anger Ladder lesson and the following up activity described below are instructional activities that are designed to help students achieve self-control over their negative thoughts, feelings and counter-productive behaviors.

Enduring Jewish Knowledge Rationale for this Lesson: These middot: Erech Apayim-being slow to anger, Shalom Bayit-peace in the home, Samayach B’Chelko-being content with who you are and your situation, Somaych Noflim V’Rofay Chomlim Bayn Adam L’Atzmo- supporting, and healing the conflict inside of you.

Materials Needed: See handout at the top of this post.

Procedure for the Lesson:

The teacher distributes the handout, Appropriate and Inappropriate Ways for Students to Handle Their Negative Feelings, Stress, and Anxiety at School. (See the handout at the top of this post.) The teacher invites students to brainstorm appropriate methods to restrain anger, such as self-talk (e.g. “calm down, Eric”), counting to ten, praying, deep breathing, etc. Students can also generate inappropriate methods of handling their negative feelings such as hitting, bullying, name-calling, hurting others, disrupting instruction, etc.

The teacher then facilitates a classroom discussion on how the lack of control of our negative feelings can lead to non-productive and even destructive behaviors including the disruption of learning.

On the next post we will discuss another teacher intervention, the Subjective Units of Distress System (SUDS). SUDS was created to help students control their emotions and behaviors, and thereby prevent classroom disruptions.

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