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Concentration P resentation by Mary Mountstephen MA (SEN) June 2014 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Concentration P resentation by Mary Mountstephen MA (SEN) June 2014 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Concentration P resentation by Mary Mountstephen MA (SEN) June

2 “We learn many things in our formal education and lifetime. Unfortunately, understanding and learning how to concentrate is not one of them.” (Bailey 2012) 2

3 Overview Recent developments in the understanding of concentration skills Introduction to the Bailey/ Brown Concentration Assessment Profiling system and The Concentration Bug Activities Further training 3

4 Concentration is a…… ‘state of mind which reflects the ability of the individual to apply themselves to a task without interference from distractions ‘ Bailey / Brown

5 The ability to direct one’s thinking in whatever direction one would attend’ 5

6 Reframing Concentration Everyone can concentrate: Sometimes you just happen to be in the wrong mode for the task at hand! 6

7 Reframing Concentration It can be a pleasurable mental process Sometimes it may be more difficult, but you can learn ways to help you succeed It is a skill to expand and develop 7

8 Research Background Neuroscience Brain connections can change ADHD Brain is in an immature state Meditation Alters brain states 8

9 The Brain Can Change Brain plasticity: ‘ The capacity for continuous physical, chemical and functional change’. ( Michael Merzenich, PhD) Daily intensive, effortful learning that requires close attention. Careful listening, precise movement 9

10 ADHD Brain immaturity: delayed pattern of maturation Combined Predominantly inattentive Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive Classroom implications 10

11 Meditation/ Mindfulness ‘The Wandering Mind’ Attention and auto-pilot Mindfulness for problem solving ACTIVITY : Watching the mind roam 11

12 Mindfulness Mindful techniques help with general ‘wellness’ but may not address/ transfer to improved classroom performance. MacConville and Rae noted improvements in: On Concentration Empathy Perceptual Acuity Levels of stress and anxiety 12

13 Mindfulness: An academic perspective Mindfulness works: If you practise. To be actively attentive and aware enables you to be more calm. It is about noticing and processing all that is going on around you. Mindfulness can help staff as well as students. Mindfulness on its own is not always enough. 13

14 Key Points from Research Effortful learning changes the brain The more we do, the more we can do The path to better performance does not necessarily start with exceptional genes, but requires some key skills: GPS 14

15 Key Characteristics Grit Curiosity Persistence A growth mind-set A sense that the power to increase your abilities lies largely within your own control, mediated by appropriate environmental, physical, emotional and psychological factors Paul Tough: How Children Succeed 15

16 Neuroscience: Changing the Brain What you tell yourself about your ability plays a part in shaping the ways you learn and perform: how hard you apply yourself for example and your willingness to persevere in the face of difficulty’. Brown, Roediger III, McDaniel 16

17 Nettle (2005) With effort the quality of performance can be transformed as inner life gradually becomes stronger. If you want to be top-class you have to practise AND HAVE A SKILLED COACH 17

18 Dweck’s Growth Mindset ‘ Why do some people become helpless when they encounter challenges and fail at them?’ Why do others respond to failure by trying new strategies?’ ATTRIBUTION: ‘I’m not clever’. ‘I can’t help it, I can’t concentrate’. 18

19 Grit 19

20 Persistence! 20

21 Self-Discipline 21

22 What interferes with concentration ? B] For your students A] For you 22

23 Distractors Internal I’m tired I’m hungry My back aches Shopping list Bills to pay Lesson plan I want to chat I can’t understand I am not good enough Body Actions Feeling Thinking Nervous Bored Irritated 23

24 Distractors External People Playing Competition Threatening Place Too hot / cold Noisy Messy Demands Outside Beautiful day Snow / wind /rain Love to go for a walk Listen / take notes Reports to write Too many tasks 24

25 You can concentrate on your games, why can’t you do it in history! ACTIVITY Take a minute to think about 3 things that help you to concentrate more easily when you are not motivated. Write down one strategy you use in the classroom to improve student concentration. 25

26 Good concentration requires Facilitation Selective attention Emotional regulation Optimal levels of arousal Ignoring distractions Managing task Managing bodyManaging thinking 26

27 How can you alter the messages you give to yourself and others about concentration? What could you begin to do to improve your concentration. How might you start to help others to improve their concentration? 27

28 The Concentration Assessment Profile Bailey & Brown CAP©2013 Development of the CAP Concentration as a process Domains intrinsic to concentration The Bailey/Brown process model of concentration The significance of motivation A practical and practicable model 28

29 Assessing and Improving Concentration Bailey & Brown CAP©2013 Using the CAP Self-assessment Self-understanding Self-management Self-development Student/client assessment Student/client understanding Student/client management Student/client self-development Group assessment/understanding/management 29

30 The Domains Doing Thinking Receiving Emotions Environment 30

31 Symmetrical Profile 31

32 Segmented Profile 32

33 Training Activities Self Awareness / Analysis Enhancing Focus Thinking Listening / Receiving DoingEmotions / arousal Understanding concentration Assessment Analysis reframing Mindfulness Visualisation Relaxation Managing distraction Positive thinking Problem-solving Planning Quiet contemplation Listening skills Observations Details vs big picture Memory Planning Time management Task management Getting started Mental preparation Stress management Dealing with anxiety Emotional regulation 33

34 Tips for Teachers Explain how concentration works. Teach students different ways to concentrate Create desirable environmental conditions Practice regularly 34

35 Resistance to change is linked with insecurity To lower resistance and build momentum for change you need to increase the students sense of security. You can do this by:- 1.Allowing the student to feel secure and valued 2.Developing a culture of active concentration 3.Praising effort : GPS 4.Daily embedded school level approach 35

36 Strategies WAIT TIME: Increase from 3-7 seconds leads to significant and profound changes in the classroom ‘Percolation time’: Particularly for students who need more processing time Use of stillness and silence as a practice built in at whole school levels Use of reflection: It promotes retrieval Slow down when concentrating on reading: make images as you go. 36

37 Strategies Mindfulness as a beginning ritual at the start of each lesson as a way of alleviating anxiety, establishing calm and getting lessons off to a positive start. Breathing and relaxation : Brief rests/ intentional resting ( MacConville page 30 : Teaching Happiness) ‘Practitioners know that a pupil’s ability to direct and maintain attention on a task at hand has a direct impact upon successful learning. Mindfulness has the capacity to nourish the quality of one’s attention’. 37

38 The New ABC Rather than the adversity itself, it is our belief about the cause that triggers the feeling response and behaviour. What was the problem? ( Adversity) What did I believe about it? ( Belief) What was the result? ( Consequence) Children can work to identify pessimistic thoughts and replace them with more favourable viewpoints. With practice children learn to reframe and consciously generate ways to concentrate automatically. (MacConville 2008) 38

39 Further Reading Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning: Brown et al, (2014) Harvard University Press Mind-set: The New Psychology of Success: Dweck, C. (2006) Ballantine Books How Children Succeed: Tough, P. ( 2012) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Silence in Schools: Lees, H. (2012) Institute of Education Press Helping Students Take Control of Everyday Executive Functions: The Attention Fix : Moraine, P. (2012) Jessica Kingsley Publishers How to Detect Developmental Delay and What To Do Next: Mountstephen, M. 2010) Jessica Kingsley Publishers 39

40 Further Reading Happiness, The Science Behind Your Smile: Nettle, D. ( 2005) Oxford University Press Teaching Happiness: A ten-step curriculum for creating positive classrooms: MacConville, R. (2008) Optimus Education Publishing Jan 2015: The Concentration Bug : Mountstephen and MacConville 40

41 Contact Details Roy Bailey and Elvie Brown: Mary Mountstephen ( School training: The Concentration Bug The Concentration Assessment Profile) 41


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