One year ago, I moved to Australia to become a Senior Trainer with the Berry Street Education Model. As an American citizen, now an Australian resident, and a former New York City public school educator, I have been closely following the recent Black Lives Matter events in both Australia and the United States. Because this movement has been covered prominently in world news, I’ve had many conversations with Australians who have expressed shock and disbelief that racism is still one of America’s biggest battles. Interestingly though, I can see that Australia has its own story when it comes to the ongoing prevalence of racism. The way both countries have historically and currently treat people of colour significantly impacts the young people with whom we work and as such, is a critical subject to address.
Part 3 of our series ‘Mental illness relapse and recovery during a global pandemic: lived wisdom from young people’s perspectives’
“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. […] We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.” – Sonya Renee Taylor
As a collective, we’ve found that the advice from many think pieces during this time has been removed from lots of people’s actual lived experiences. Right now, we’re in an absolute unknown. Things are going to be and feel different, strange and exhausting as we adjust to completely new versions of “normal”. For some of us, no amount of meditation and mindfulness helps in general, let alone during a pandemic, especially if our basic needs aren’t being met.
This is the final part in our series, ‘Mental illness relapse and recovery during a global pandemic’. For those of us who are working hard on our recovery journey, where can we seek specific support during this time? What are some useful tips, tricks and tools from peers in this space with relevant lived experience?
Part 2 of our series ‘Mental illness relapse and recovery during a global pandemic: lived wisdom from young people’s perspectives‘
“Shouting self-care at people who actually need community care is how we fail them.” – Nikita Valerio
For young people experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage, experiencing isolation and lockdown brings up a whole lot of stuff around coping mechanisms.
In part 2 of our series, we look at some changes in our own behaviour that we’ve observed and some common symptoms for those of us already managing mental illness.
Part 1 of our series ‘Mental illness relapse and recovery during a global pandemic: lived wisdom from young people’s perspectives‘
“We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Some are on super-yachts. Some have just the one oar.” – Damian Barr
Amid all the noise of think pieces about self-care and the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’re not seeing much that focuses on what happens for young people who are in recovery with mental ill-health; in particular, for young people experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage, isolation and lockdown can have wide-ranging impacts.
In this three part series, we will explore what’s happening and what’s helping during this global pandemic from the perspective of young people with a lived experience of surviving tough times. We will also share some resources and tips we have discovered along the way and are finding useful.
In these uncertain times, it’s understandable that carers may be feeling elevated concerns about how to manage the changing expectations of contact with family members. As a therapeutic service, Take Two offers this guidance in managing the heightened emotions and thoughts of children in the out-of-home care (OOHC) system in these times. We also provide a list of some free video calling apps and programs that might be suitable to use.
Self-regulation can be defined as the ability to control your behaviour, emotions and thoughts, and specifically, to be able to manage disruptive emotions and impulses (Bandura, 1991). In times like these, it becomes even more important to be building self-regulation skills in ourselves and our young people.
Are you looking for ways to help children maintain focus on their schoolwork at home? That is completely understandable. Children are accustomed to the rituals and routines of school. In their school’s classrooms, they go to a specific environment that deliberately is structured for learning. Now for many children, those structures are different, and they are trying to understand what it means to learn more independently. Based on our research at Berry Street Education Model (BSEM), stress can negatively impact a child’s stamina to learn and their ability to focus. Managing this change as parents, carers and teachers can be overwhelming. Here are three strategies that we hope will help:
During Covid-19, teachers are designing curriculum that students might complete either at home or onsite at school. Based on our research and strategies at the Berry Street Education Model (BSEM), we would like to offer suggestions to bolster your instructional planning. We recommend that teachers design rich tasks for your young people to do at home, rather than sending through smaller tasks. We do not want to overwhelm students or their parents with the need to manage too many things at once.
Remember many parents are working from home so they may have limited time and energy to support their child’s learning, and many teachers working from home might be juggling caring responsibilities as well, so let’s keep our expectations of each other and ourselves reasonable!
Continue reading “Scaffolding Learning with Rich Tasks: Curriculum Design”
Teachers are quickly shifting to online learning environments in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the demands of social distancing.
During this crisis, stress levels are heightened for all of us. Trauma-impacted students, and in fact everyone, are susceptible to resurfacing trauma-related reactivity due to the compounding uncertainty and unpredictability this crisis presents. It is essential that schools prioritise student and teacher wellbeing and respond to the impacts of collective trauma and toxic stress.
This post is part of our series on what makes a good childhood.
What are the key factors impacting on childhood today?
The pace of change in the 21st century has been rapid.
Despite children being raised in a time that is firmly focused on the needs and cares of children – with greater awareness and knowledge than ever before on the factors that impact childhood – evidence suggests that Australian children and young people growing up in the 21st century are not faring as well as they could be. Continue reading “Childhood in the 21st Century”
Everyday Strategies for Teachers
The Berry Street Education Model was created in response to teachers requesting strategies.
- How do I engage my struggling students in learning?
- How do I manage difficult behaviour?
- How do I build independence for learning?
The Berry Street Education Model has been design to support teachers as they meet the complex needs for students who struggle from the effects of chronic stress or traumatic stressors. Our model also helps teachers to feel empowered within the classroom to teach the whole-child.
Through our work with schools across Australia, we know that the best strategies help teachers to set up and reinforce a pro-active, pre-emptive, and de-escalated strengths-based classroom. We know that teachers need strategies that they can start using tomorrow; and a whole-school approach is often required to unify practice to nurture success for all students.
Here is one of our favourite strategies: GOLDEN STATEMENTS
As teachers, we hate to feel like we are nagging our students all day long.
“Take out your books. Now turn to page 27. I’ll wait…”
Please turn to page 27. PLEASE turn to page 27…!”
How is the following statement different in tone and mood?
“I will begin teaching when I see all books turned to page 27.”
The first example makes the student the subject of the sentence, and the students can choose to either follow the direction or stall. The second example make the teacher (“I”) the subject, and the teacher declares what she is going to do, when she is going to do it, and the conditions for success. In the second case, the teacher maintains positive power in the classroom while describing what she is going to do rather than what she is asking the students to do. For instance, when you say, “You will…” you lose control; when you say, “I will…”, you gain control.
Golden Statements are special statements that teachers can use in classrooms to:
- Give directions
- Issue requests
- State their expectations
- Repeat their expectations
The last function listed here is our favourite: Golden Statements allow teachers to repeat themselves without feeling like a broken record or a complaining nag.
Golden Statements build relationships because they keep both student and teacher in thinking mode. They stop the arousal escalation of the teacher because the teacher feels that they are issuing their requests in a reasonable manner. Golden Statements empower students because students can see that the teacher is holding the relationship and has clear expectations for the activity at hand.
Please check out the following link on more information, including links to research papers. Please note, we are currently in a research and evaluation process with University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education, a joint effort with the Centre of Positive Psychology and Youth Research Centre.
Post written by: Tom Brunzell, Senior Advisor, Education, Berry Street Childhood Institute
We are continuing our focus on 21st century childhood.
We are now turning our reflections to Education & Technology.
In particular, we are looking closely at access to technology and how information about family is shared.
When we looked back at our own childhoods, people talked about the T.V. being the only form of technology that most people had in their house. Cartoons were watched after school and on Saturday mornings, and movies were watched with the whole family.
Generally, information about family was shared in an annual family newsletter, sent in letters or discussed over the telephone.
What role is technology playing in 21st century childhood?
How is information about children and families now being shared with extended family and friends? Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing? Let us know what you think of these changes.
Post written by: Julie Noonan, School Engagement Co-ordinator, Berry Street Childhood Institute