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You’re the boss of you! Helping students use self-talk to become more responsible for their own behaviours Larry Antrim Coordinator for Counselling and.

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Presentation on theme: "You’re the boss of you! Helping students use self-talk to become more responsible for their own behaviours Larry Antrim Coordinator for Counselling and."— Presentation transcript:

1 You’re the boss of you! Helping students use self-talk to become more responsible for their own behaviours Larry Antrim Coordinator for Counselling and Social Responsibility District #38, Richmond Making Connections 2012


3 the Area Counsellor Team ACT was formed in spring of 2002 Mandate was to provide proactive support to schools Ministry of Education’s Social Responsibility Performance Standards Traffic Light metaphor for behaviour Positive Behaviour Support

4 Area Counsellor Team Lessons The Traffic Light becomes part of a school’s common language to describe any student behavour Using the metaphor of the Traffic Light, students come to recognize the 4 Levels of the Performance Standards as they pertain to their own behaviour

5 Area Counsellor Team Lessons As a Universal or Tier 1 Intervention, Level 3/Green behaviour becomes a School-Wide Expectation “Show me Green listening behaviour” “Walk down the hall at Level 3” “Meeting Expectations would be to put that in the garbage”

6 Area Counsellor Team Lessons This school has used a variation on the Matrix Rather than create an acronym, they used the Traffic Light’s Green Light as their value statement Selecting specific locations, they’ve highlighted a number of school-wide expectations for those areas

7 Area Counsellor Team Lessons Level 2/Yellow Behaviour is normal. We all do it: Letting our attention wander Whispering to the person beside us Checking our email when we pretend we’re taking notes Making a funny remake

8 Area Counsellor Team Lessons It is our job to move from Level 2 back to Level 3 (from Yellow to Green) Often, a gentle prompt is all that is needed to accomplish this is For others, it may need to take the form of a Tier 2 or Targeted Intervention

9 Area Counsellor Team Lessons If the change from Level 2 to Level 3 doesn’t occur, for some students it’s because the behaviour is purposeful Level 1/Red Behaviour In these cases, and for those who simply cannot control their impulses, an Individual Intervention needs to be put in place (Tier 3)

10 Area Counsellor Team Lessons Instructional Corrections provide an opportunity for students to develop self awareness when asked: “What Colour (Level) do you think that (behaviour) is?” followed by… “How could you make it Green (Level 3)?”

11 Area Counsellor Team Lessons This is where self awareness can start to be developed “What Level do you think that (behaviour) is?” Students begin to be able to assess their own behaviour This often includes some Self Talk

12 Area Counsellor Team Lessons Develop a staff commitment to interacting with any student in any setting Reinforce positive behaviours “He notices when I’m doing the right thing.”

13 Area Counsellor Team Lessons Use Instructional Corrections when students aren’t meeting expectations Either it’s a chance to teach the correct behaviour or trigger some self talk “Uh oh, here he comes. I know he’s going to ask me what I should be doing right now.”

14 Peaceful Problem Solving is a major component of the ACT Lessons

15 Students develop the skills and resiliency necessary to deal with someone who is not being ‘socially responsible’

16 Area Counsellor Team Lessons An “Ah-ahh” moment was when it became clear that Self Talk was the starting point for each of the Problem Solving Skills we taught How can a student calm down if she cannot self regulate? How can she self regulate if she doesn’t use self talk?

17 Area Counsellor Team Lessons During staff Pro-D, when these concepts are presented, there is always a similar reaction: “I need to know how to do this in my own life.” We always train the staff how to use these skills themselves in order to: Learn that they aren’t as easy as they first appear To be able to more effectively teach them

18 Self Talk and Anger First area of focus when teaching Problem Solving Skills - Anger Anger is a secondary emotion It is also normal and natural to get angry The problem is when Angry Feelings turn into Angry Behaviour Anger Mountain is the metaphor used

19 Self Talk and Anger a personal example I live in North Delta I commute over the Alex Fraser Bridge Significant traffic every morning down Nordel Way onto the bridge Two lanes onto the bridge, inside lane continues on to River Road Buses and Van Pool vehicles may take inside lane down and turn into bridge traffic using dedicated turn-off at bottom of hill

20 THE AROUSAL CYCLE I’m driving down Nordell Way ANGER TRIGGERS X “What a jerk!” TIME INTENSITY Anger Mountain ANGRY BEHAVIOUR I roll down my window and give him the finger It takes me some time to calm down X Someone cuts in from the Bus Lane X “I guess the rules don’t apply to him” X “Oh, now you’ll politely let me merge”

21 I Can’t Control My Emotions … can I ? Traditionally, we’ve believed that our emotions occur all on their own, depending on the events that occur We don’t decide to be angry, it just happens as a result of circumstances It brings out the caveman in some people

22 I Can’t Control My Emotions … can I ? The Limbic System controls emotions The Amygdala filters incoming information to our conscious brain in the Prefrontal Cortex However, when stressed, frightened or angry incoming information is blocked, resulting in the Fight, Flight or Freeze response

23 I Can’t Control My Emotions … can I ? Look at how many triggers happened to me on my drive down Nordel Way Four triggers in rapid sequence No wonder I got mad It’s not my fault

24 THE AROUSAL CYCLE I’m driving down Nordell Way ANGER TRIGGERS X TIME INTENSITY How was I feeling? ANGRY BEHAVIOUR Of course I reacted, HE MADE ME MAD! I’m still upset about it when I get to work X X X I’m fairly calm Each of these Anger Triggers makes me more and more mad

25 I Can’t Control My Emotions … can I ? Let’s review Trigger 1: He cut in through the bus lane Trigger 2: He said, “Yes, I’m a jerk” Trigger 3: He said, “The rules don’t apply to me” Trigger 4: He said, “Let me wave you in like I did nothing wrong”



28 How can I control an automatic reflexive response? We’ve all had arguments It usually starts off calmly Gradually it reaches a point where we recognize that we are getting upset Sometimes we get to a point where we just don’t care any more and let loose Later, we may say, “I don’t know why I said/did that.” Let’s call it temporary insanity

29 THE AROUSAL CYCLE I’m driving down Nordell Way ANGER TRIGGERS TIME INTENSITY What if the (almost) exact thing happened?…. I notice it is not some man, it’s the Superintendent, Monica Pamer I calm down right away X “Oh, now you’ll politely let me merge” X Someone cuts in from the Bus Lane X “What a jerk!” X “I guess the rules don’t apply to you”

30 Positive Self Talk This time the Angry BEHAVIOUR did not happen The Intensity of my EMOTION did not continue to escalate My THINKING changed as I used Positive Self Talk instead

31 THE AROUSAL CYCLE I’m driving down Nordell Way SAME ANGER TRIGGERS TIME INTENSITY What was I thinking this time? I’ll just wave a, “Thank you,” and look straight ahead I’m still getting worked up as the events unfold X X X X Wait a minute, I know that person. She’s my boss! I think about how stupid I almost was the rest of the drive to work The INTENSITY of my Emotion drops rapidly

32 THE AROUSAL CYCLE I’m driving down Nordell Way ANGER TRIGGERS TIME INTENSITY What most people are able to do X Someone cuts in from the Bus Lane X “What a jerk!” X “Uh, oh. I’m getting mad” X “I need to calm down” X “I can handle this” X “It’s no big deal”

33 Self Talk We can speak at approx 125 words per minute We can think at approx 450 words per minute The statements we make to ourselves come BEFORE what we FEEL Self Talk occurs so rapidly that it can lead us to a feeling/emotion before we know it - Stacey Holloway “Managing Difficult People and Situations”

34 Helpful Thoughts/Positive Self Talk Students need to learn what their body cues are that tell them they are starting to get upset Then they need to learn to replace Unhelpful Thoughts or Negative Self Talk with Positive Self Talk

35 Self Talk in Anger Management Students are taught that it is absolutely their responsibility to catch themselves before they get too far up Anger Mountain Nobody controls my thinking, and therefore what I decide to do I choose to get angry “I’m the boss of me”

36 Self Talk in Anger Management A Tier II intervention for some kids will include exploring what their body cues are: clenching your jaw making a fist frowning getting fidgety crossing your arms Recognizing what your cues are allows you to change your thinking

37 Self Talk in Anger Management We need to remember that all behaviour is purposeful and there can be a huge payoff for getting angry Finding replacement behaviours is important Creating the awareness that they are in control of their anger is equally important

38 Self Talk in Anger Management Not everyone comes to school at the base of Anger Mountain When a student arrives already “primed” it can appear that the anger came out of nowhere An awareness of one’s own anger cues and self talk is even more important in this case

39 Helpful Thoughts/Positive Self Talk Once a student has learned to keep from thinking himself up Anger Mountain (remember, nobody can make you mad) … THEN he can use a calming strategy such as one of these

40 The rest of the Problem Solving Strategies are all predicated on being able to “Be The Boss of You” by using Positive Self Talk

41 Taking Turns Conflicts over not enough stuff, time or attention can degenerate to, “I don’t care what you want, I want what I want!” Using Self Talk allows a student to avoid a conflict by stopping to think of the other person as well

42 Taking Turns What’s the problem from the other’s point of view? If we just think of ourselves, there is really only one solution … the one we want Not getting what we want can lead to frustration and … well, you know Thinking of both points of view forces us to use our self talk and gives us a better chance to be successful

43 Taking Turns What is the common problem we both share? Most of the time the problem is described from only the POV of the reporter “He took the ball” “She grabbed the book” When the problem is broken down, it is usually something like, they both wanted the same item A person can’t come up with this if angry

44 Taking Turns What are the common solutions? Almost every problem can be resolved by using one of the following: Take Turns Do It Together Choose Something Else Again, a person can’t come up with these if he is angry Self Talk gives a person a chance to be successful

45 Taking Turns Students for whom this type of conflict is chronic need a more targeted intervention Looking at a conflict from the other’s point of view is an important step in developing empathy It needs practice

46 Taking Turns Helping these students to learn different ways to take turns is one part of the intervention: pick a number rock/paper/scissors day of the week Kids who have a Green Zone approach will need coaching as well, those who need a Tier II strategy can be taxing

47 “I’m Going To Bug You” game Sometimes when someone bothers me it’s like a game to see if I’ll get upset Every time I react, it’s like the other person scores a point It’s a game that is unlikely that I will win

48 “I’m Going To Bug You” game The game is like tennis, where the ball is the insult or teasing that the other person throws at me I can try to throw it back but he’s probably better at it than I am The harder I try, and the less successful I am, the more upset I get

49 “I’m Going To Bug You” game Who says I have to play? How much fun would a tennis game be if the other person never had the ball returned to him? However, Ignoring doesn’t mean doing nothing Our brains can’t not pay attention to him

50 “I’m Going To Bug You” game We have to give our brains something to do What would that be? Self Talk: “He’s just trying to bug me” “He wants me to get upset” “I don’t have to play that game” “I’m the boss of me”

51 “I’m Going To Bug You” game If it becomes too difficult to ignore another person, don’t keep trying until they wear you down That simply reinforces that you will eventually ‘play the game’ Walk Away Play Somewhere Else

52 “I’m Going To Bug You” game Some of our kids who need a Tier II approach can make life miserable for “provocative victims” These kids are simply too much fun to bug They are guaranteed to give a good reaction Either the reaction is too much fun not to go for it again or the retaliation is seen to justify a repeat

53 “I’m Going To Bug You” game Both these sets of students require a Tier II or even Tier III intervention For the provocateur, it is Respond & Describe, followed with Confront & Prohibit the behaviour For the recipient, it is targeted skill practice including Self Talk and the W/T&S skills

54 Standing Up For Yourself Respectfully Primary Intermediate

55 To avoid getting defensive, arguing or whining, Self Talk is absolutely necessary This is not an easy skill to learn It takes practice Most importantly, it takes close attention to the use of Self Talk

56 Self Talk in this instance occurs in two distinct steps: First, prepare to use the skill Second, prepare what each of three parts of the assertive message is going to include

57 An advantage of this skill is that it need not be used immediately That is, if you felt on the spot or at a loss for words, you can be assertive … tomorrow However, you need to prepare by using … Self Talk!

58 Like the Intermediate version, the Primary Being Assertive poster is focused on Self Talk Running through the steps (using Self Talk) before she says anything prepares her to deliver the statement effectively Just as importantly, the Self Talk helps to ensure she doesn’t get upset (whiny or angry)

59 When Your Strategies Haven’t Worked Even the most expertly delivered Assertive statement is no guarantee of success Nor are the strategies of Ignoring and Walking Away Sometimes you need to report to an adult to help you resolve the problem

60 When Your Strategies Haven’t Worked Students are taught to use Self Talk to ask themselves the following question: “Am I telling or tattling?” In other words, “Am I talking to the teacher to get someone into trouble or to get someone (usually yourself) out of trouble?”

61 When students report being bothered, the response can take the form of one of the following: Describe & Respond Of Concern - Confront & Prohibit Of Serious Concern - Report & Refer Focus on Bullying Ministry of Education Website

62 All of these same principals work with older students Simply use language that is developmentally appropriate We haven’t yet “translated” the lessons and posters into “teen” This resource and others like the MindUp curriculum focus on mindfulness

63 Where To Find The Area Counsellor Team Resources





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