In the fall of 2015 I took a class entitled, “Teaching with Poverty in Mind” and the assigned text was Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It by Eric Jensen. One of Jensen’s concepts that has really stuck with me from the class is the idea of the emotional keyboard. Jensen asserts that we are born with a limited set of emotional “notes” or reactions (sadness, joy, disgust, anger, surprise, and fear ) on our inherent emotional keyboard and that through stimulation, enrichment and loving care, we develop more complex notes, such as empathy, humility, cooperation, gratitude, etc. Often children raised in poverty don’t get the stimulation and care that their higher SES peers receive and thus, their emotional keyboard doesn’t play as many “notes” and we see the result of that in school. They might not be able to handle conflict except with anger, their lack of knowledge results in fear, they seek the immediate gratification of joy, but not the long-term, etc.
Luckily there are educational strategies to try to expand the notes that low SES students can “play” on their keyboards. Simply put, model and practice the deeper emotions that you wish for your students to gain. Some examples are playing educational games that require taking turns and cooperation, meet your students at the door with a handshake and greeting, avoid sarcasm and negative directions, praise effort and achievement and, on a larger scale, implement social skill building into the curriculum. The earlier and the more consistently these efforts are made, the more social and emotional success these students will have.
Suicide Prevention Workshop – RPDC
Suicide is a scary topic and rightly so, but it is important to note some statistics regarding suicide. According to the most recent study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 72% of the American population has had suicidal thoughts at some point in their lifetime and 17% of the national population has had thoughts of harming themselves in the last year. In addition, there is a high ratio of suicide attempts to suicide complete, 25:1. Luckily for most people, as these statistics so, suicide intervention works.
Part of suicide intervention is recognizing signs and risk factors of suicide. Some signs that a person might considering suicide include:
Suicide Lifeguard – free app in iTunes or Android store
Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Post by | Heather Grove | High School Counselor
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