Using positive regard to reframe my perception

5 Dec

What is one thing your can change today? You can choose to reframe your perception!

My work gets so much easier when I remember to assume that others have much better intentions than what their actions of behavior seems to suggest. I have blogged about Positive Regard before, and I often discuss it with people. Learning more about resilience and trauma-informed practices is great, and I hope that more teachers would get training or professional development about it, as soon as possible. The easiest way (for me) to start practicing the positive regard is to detach the behavior from the person and do my best to support the person as they are – because then I can respond, instead of reacting to the behavior or situation.

Sometimes we are told – or taught – how to perceive certain things like behaviors. It is important to remember that these perceptions are tightly related to the learning theories we use (behaviorism, constructivism, humanism, etc.). The learner-centered philosophy builds on the humanist worldview emphasizing construction of meaning and knowledge from individual experiences. It also requires showing genuine interest towards learners and practicing unconditional positive regard in teaching-learning interactions, which means that our perception of students’ behavior must stay in the right hand column of the image. Here is more about Learner-centered practices: What learner-centered really means.

Using SEL strategies helps us to reframe our perception. All SEL skills (Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship skills and Responsible Decision-Making) are necessary for successful learning, but too often they are not taught throughout formal education. As children arrive to school with different skillsets of SEL, some will need more help than others.

By embedding the SEL skills to our instruction and classroom management we are helping students to better engage in their own, individual learning process. And this is why embedding SEL is so crucially important! They should not be an additional curriculum, but learned within every school subject and project. Here is another great resource for using SEL in Trauma-Informed Practices.

2 Responses to “Using positive regard to reframe my perception”

  1. Ken Powell December 8, 2022 at 10:26 am #

    After thirty years of teaching – most of it in the classroom environment – I am cynical of the value, per se, of positive regard and self learning tactics for producing better academic results. I have found that some children (I am talking here for 11 yrs and up as that’s my specialism) are just not going to change, no matter what you do.

    Nevertheless, I have practiced such principles anyway for the simple reason that I want to treat the student as a fellow human being and give them the opportunity to push doors if they so wish even if they’d rather kick them or damage them, as it were. I’m aware the time I have them is extremely short and they will be an adult for a lot longer than I had them as a child.

    So, after thirty years of teaching – much of it in the same place – I’m reaping those rewards. I have ex-students who are in their forties now and I meet them, in town, in shops, they are my plumber or my electrician or my doctor…and what I get is people who treat me with kindness and respect because that’s how I treated them long ago. Some of them had an experience of school that didn’t put them off learning for life and decided to ‘open those doors’ after all, long after I saw them – by going back to college or doing online courses and bettering themselves academically on their terms and in their own time.

    • Dr. Nina December 8, 2022 at 1:30 pm #

      Thanks Ken! This is very true – as teachers (educators in any level of school systems) we ARE making a difference, but most of the time we won’t see the immediate results. I do understand the cynicism and sometimes there are days when I wonder if all our hard work is worthless. But then I remind myself that learning really happens in interactions, and some of those interactions bear fruit years or decades after the student has left our classroom. But, whether we know it or not, we still have helped that student, that fellow human being. And this is why I am committed to my career in education.

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