WHAT MAKES GREAT TEACHING?

Hello my friends!

Teacher quality is what teachers know and bring to the classroom. Teaching quality is what teachers do with what they know once they get inside the classroom. It includes the strategies and techniques teachers use to get students to learn. These strategies include understanding and applying the evidence on how students learn, using instructional best practices, enhancing strategies for instructional observation and evaluation, providing effective and ongoing professional development and establishing a common vision for philosophical beliefs about students and teaching (Kaplan & Owings, 2002).

There are many variables that affect instruction including the subject, grade level, learners’ needs and desired outcomes. Effective instruction promotes excellence and student learning outcomes through best-practices and teaching practices based on high standards of instruction and student engagement.  It includes elements such as effective questioning and use of assessment by teachers. Students’ perceptions of their learning environment influence their approaches to learning (Ramsden, 2003). For instance, they are more likely to demonstrate deep approaches to learning when they perceive that teaching is high quality, they have some voice in what is to be learned, and they are aware of the goals and standards required in the unit. Specific practices, like reviewing previous learning, providing model responses for students, giving adequate time for practice to embed skills securely and progressively introducing new learning (scaffolding) are also elements of high quality instruction.
Effective teaching practices need to occur in physically and psychologically safe climates. A safe learning environment is the keystone for learning. Effective teachers create physically and emotionally safe learning environments in which students can take academic risks, make mistakes, obtain feedback and revise their initial ideas and understandings (Kaplan & Owings, 2002).

The positive effects of high quality teaching are especially significant for students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Evidence suggests that when taught by very effective teachers, students can gain an extra year’s worth of learning (Hanushek, 1992, Sutton trust, 2011). Research evidence from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development affirms that “teacher quality” is the most important school variable influencing student achievement (2005).

According to Christopher Day and Qing Gu in their book Resilient Teachers, Resilient Schools, Building and Sustaining Quality in Testing Times, the definition of quality in teachers should be understood in the broadest possible sense. It goes beyond the technocratic concerns for performativity and test results. The continuing aspiration for quality is driven by teachers’ sense of vocation and care about and for their pupils. It is about the extra mile that the best teachers willingly travel to motivate each one of their pupils to learn and to bring about the best possible achievement in them. It is related to their passion, commitment and continuing enthusiasm for their own learning and development which is importantly supported by their school and which results in an abiding sense of efficacy, hope and belief that they can and do continue to make a difference in the classroom.

Thank you very much for reading!

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

 

GREAT TEACHING AND THE POWER OF WORDS

 

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Throughout human history, our greatest leaders and thinkers have used the power of words to transform our emotions, to enlist us in their causes, and to shape the course of destiny. Words can not only create emotions, they create actions. And from our actions flow the results of our lives.

Anthony Robbins

Hello my friends!

Words can hurt and shock, or they can heal and lift spirits. Words can change lives, for better or for worse. Words are not only powerful, but they can have a last impact.

Be aware of students’ feelings when receiving assessed work back because they can be particularly sensitive to any comments you have written on their work. Giving students face-to-face feedback can be very powerful and productive. Good feedback promotes involvement and shows that the teacher is taking an active interest in the learner. The Great teacher speaks genuinely and listen openly. Spending time with a student means a great deal. Whenever it is feasible turn to them for help. Say thanks. Be on the lookout for even little things the student does that are meaningful to you. Be specific as to what you appreciate. Ask a question. The Great teacher is open to their suggestions. When the student does something positive, acknowledge it. Recognize the positive result.

Bob Greene writes: “A few words though they mean little at the time to the people who say them, can have enormous power. We need to be more aware of the effect that our words might have on someone else. We also need to understand that words we often utter carelessly or while in an emotional state can have a lasting impact. Greene points out that positive words can also have a major influence and can last a lifetime. His story is about a professional writer who was shy and lacked confidence in his childhood. But something happened in his high school English class that changed his life. It was a routine occurrence-his teacher returned a writing assignment to him. He doesn’t even remember what the grade on that paper was, but he does remember the four words she had written on it: “This is good writing.” This was a young man who liked to write and often dreamed of composing short stories, but he lacked the confidence until that day. His teacher’s little note got him to think differently about his abilities, and it was the beginning of  a successful career in writing. To this day he believes that it would never have happened without those four words written in the margin of his paper. Greene concluded his article this way: “So few words. They can change everything.”

Great teachers use words of encouragement. And words of encouragement create an atmosphere in which students can thrive!

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

 

 

 

TEACHER BURNOUT AND EMOTION REGULATION STRATEGIES

Hello my friends!

Teaching is an emotional endeavor. Teachers may experience happiness when students accomplish an important task, frustration when students cannot grasp a concept, disappointment with lack of effort. Teachers try to regulate their emotions because they believe it helps them achieve their goals.
But one factor that is important is the intensity of the experienced emotion. The perceived intensity of anger and frustration episodes was associated with longer duration of the emotion episodes, intrusive thoughts, immediate actions in the classroom and doing something specific to cope. High intensity episodes were associated with changes in teachers’ classroom behaviors and may influence their teaching effectiveness. Teachers who reported high levels of emotions intensity were more likely to endorse the effectiveness of showing negative emotions and had lower levels of teacher efficacy than teachers reporting lower levels of emotion intensity. These high intensity teachers show their emotions more often in the classroom and are less likely to regulate their emotions, they have lower confidence in their skills to manage or teach effectively than low intensity teachers. So, there is a relationship between burnout and emotion regulation, so we will discuss two emotion regulation strategies which are associated with reducing negative emotions. In this course we will consider the following strategies the antecedent-focused strategies and those that are response focused.

Antecedent-Focused strategies

Teachers need to learn about their hot spots and try to develop cool nodes. Keeping an emotion teaching diary may help identify if there are common patterns in timing, situations and antecedents of intense emotion episodes. Once hot spots are identified, teachers can plan to prevent them. For instance, if a hot spot for one teacher is constant talking among students then she may change student seating arrangements to prevent student interactions.
Because teacher’s negative emotions are typically aroused when students misbehave or do not pay attention, teachers can learn to use specific management strategies such as have the class do a quiet activity or redirecting students in order to prevent situations escalating. Teachers report that reflecting during the difficult situations also can help them manage their emotions more effectively. Some teachers use appropriate humor and initiate classroom situations that enhance students’ positive emotions. They can also engage students in discussions about emotions, strategies for emotion regulation and the possible consequences of inappropriate emotion expression in the classroom.

Response-focused strategies

These strategies are characterized by the modulation of experiential, behavioral or physiological emotion responses late in the generation of the emotion response. The most commonly described response focused strategy during the emotion episode is suppression when a teacher tries to keep her face passive and not say anything inappropriate. This is often an ineffective strategy but teachers may find no other immediate alternative. Reducing the physiological response by pausing and breathing deeply is commonly used by teachers. Or stepping back from the situation during the immediate emotion episode and relaxing at the end of a difficult school day. Talking at the end of the day is a good strategy of many teachers.

Here are the 12 steps towards managing your difficult emotions and work stress
1.Make a note of any negative feelings you still have about your teaching role – outside as well as inside the classroom. Take notes of any resentment that you feel towards your school or your employers or your colleagues.
2.Describe your largest work stressor in detail.
3.List two other work stressors you are experiencing.
4.Identify how you respond to your specific work stressors. keep a stress diary, recording what causes you stress, when and where. Learn to recognize your stress signals, your symptoms. For example, When I write a book most of the time I feel anxious about the deadline. My thought is “I will never make it!”, So I work faster, I have headaches and sometimes I work longer.
5.Set specific and observable goals to respond more effectively to your work stressors. Be better prepared for them when they happen. It is better to make changes in one or more of the following areas:
a)You can change your thoughts, for example alter your perfectionist attitude.
b)You can implement healthy stress management techniques for example exercise or relax.
6.Pace and balance yourself
Take minibreaks throughout your day to reduce symptoms of tension and stress. In the following videos I will show you brief combination techniques which they need not take more than a few minutes and the payoff can be seen in increased mental alertness and productivity. Choose leisure activities that balance the unique stresses of your job. For example, as a teacher your job requires much sitting or mental concentration so consider a complementary leisure activity such as aerobic exercise or a school is a controlled environment so you need an activity such as hiking in nature.
7.When one reaches the stage of burnout, there is emotional, physical and mental exhaustion Asking your manager or headteacher for support when you need it can be a vital part of your wellbeing at work. By speaking about your concerns and feelings, your senior may be able to put things in place that will decrease your chances of burnout. Reach out to those close to you when you are feeling depleted. Talking things over is the simplest way to relieve some anxiety. Ask your colleagues, family and friends if they can offer support and guidance. Social support is a recognized way for people to deal with stress.
8.Go home on time. Be sure to get plenty of rest, avoid alcohol and cigarettes and eat properly.
9. Please separate your home life from your school life. Leave work at work. Do not work at home!
10. Be realistic in what you can accomplish compared to what you want to accomplish.
11. Make your class or your workspace more comfortable. Change positions. Achieving a good fit between you and the computer can make you more productive and your work experience more comfortable. Adjust your keyboard when you change posture. Relax and rest your elbows by your torso when you use your mouse. Have an appropriate illumination when reading your books or printed materials.
12.You can reduce your stress levels by laughing which lowers the stress hormones including cortisol epinephrine and adrenaline and strengthens your immune system by releasing positive hormones. Laugh alone when you feel something is funny. Seek out cartoons and comedy films. Look for the funny side of life and share it with your colleagues.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

The positive side of negative emotions

Hello my friends!

Emotions can influence behavior, but they have other implications, as well. One important function of emotion is to provide information (Schwarz & Clore, 1983). Emotion regulation is driven by epistemic motives when people are motivated to experience emotions to attain certain information. Emotions provide information about oneself and about the world. People are motivated to attain two different types of information about themselves. First, given the need for positive self-regard, people seek out information that enhances their self-images (Rogers, 1951). Second, given the need for consistency and predictability, people seek out information that verifies their self-images (Seann, 1987). When emotional experiences reflect negatively on themselves, people may be motivated to avoid these experiences.

Emotional acceptance refers to the willingness and ability to accept and experience the negative emotion, to acknowledge and absorb it. Acceptance offers several advantages. By accepting your emotions, you are accepting the truth of your situation.

We’re living in a “cultural age that’s decidedly pro-positivity,” MacLellan writes, which makes the “pressure to suppress or camouflage negative feelings” all the more pronounced. In the West (especially in the U.S.) “happiness and positivity are seen as virtues,” MacLellan notes. Anger, fear, resentment, frustration, and anxiety are emotional states that many people experience regularly but try to avoid. And this is understandable—they are designed to make us uncomfortable. These negative emotional states can create extra stress in your body and your mind, which is uncomfortable but also can lead to health issues if the stress becomes chronic or overwhelming. Managing negative emotions means not allowing them to overrun us; we can keep them under control without denying that we are feeling them. A study on emotional acceptance, from the University of California, Berkeley, found that putting pressure on yourself to feel upbeat when you are actually feeling downtrodden or dejected can take a psychological toll. The latest UC Berkeley study reaffirms the benefits of this explanatory style. The researchers found that accepting negative emotions or thoughts in the moment helps individuals avoid catastrophizing or dwelling on temporary negative mental experiences. Research has suggested that acceptance  whether it is embracing our good and bad attributes, or accepting the way we look – is associated with better psychological well-being.

Prof. Ford and team sought to determine how acceptance of negative emotions – such as sadness, disappointment, and anger – might influence psychological health. Accepting negative emotions without judging or trying to change them helps people cope more effectively with various types of stress. Negative emotions serve a purpose and have a positive intention. As Ford explains, “acceptance involves not trying to change how we are feeling, but staying in touch with your feelings and taking them for what they are.”

Iris Mauss, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and director of the Emotion and Emotion Regulation Lab said: “We found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health. Maybe if you have an accepting attitude toward negative emotions, you’re not giving them as much attention. And perhaps, if you’re constantly judging your emotions, the negativity can pile up.”
The researchers found that subjects who reported trying to avoid negative emotions in response to bad experiences were more likely to have symptoms of mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, 6 months later, compared with those who embraced their negative emotions.

Dr. Ronald Siegel, another psychologist with Harvard Medical School, he discusses proven strategies for cultivating mindfulness and self compassion. He share this insight:
“When we are hurting, when we notice that we’ve had a disappointment, we’ve had a failure, something hasn’t turned out well, which [it] inevitably will. Inevitably, we’ll have these moment of defeat, that we can just be nice to ourselves and give ourselves a hug, feel the feeling of vulnerability, feel the feeling of failure, and trust that that’s okay too, that it’s just part of the cycle and we don’t have to identify with that or believe in it. Because as it turns out, none of us are so great and none of us are so terrible.”

There are several strategies that have been explored and recommended as a means to accepting and processing negative emotions:

Observe your emotions. Remember, you are not your emotions, you are the watcher of your emotions (Tolle, 2010).

Label the emotion you are experiencing.

Acceptance increases your own self-compassion and tolerance for frustration (by Practicing Mindfulness). Feeling with non-judgment and non reaction is healing and a necessary part of the self-growth process.

Re-appraise and re-frame.

Choose your action.

Thank you for reading.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

 

Feeling Down and Overwhelmed by Life’s Challenges? 19 Steps to End Worrying.

 

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“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” —Albert Einstein.

Hello my friends!

Worry is a form of thinking.  How we worry can either be constructive or destructive. Worrying is feeling uneasy or being overly concerned about a situation or problem. With excessive worrying, your mind and body go into overdrive as you constantly focus on “what might happen.” Sometimes, a little worry or anxiety is helpful. It can help you get ready for an upcoming situation. But excessive worry or ongoing fear or anxiety is harmful when it becomes so irrational that you can’t focus on reality or think clearly.

Chronic worry and emotional stress can trigger a host of health problems. The fight or flight response causes the body’s sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones such as cortisol. These hormones can cause physical reactions such as:
Difficulty swallowing
Dizziness
Dry mouth
Fast heartbeat
Fatigue
Headaches
Inability to concentrate
Irritability
Muscle aches
Muscle tension
Nausea
Shortness of breath.

There are 19 steps you can do to stop the pattern of excess worry and live a happier life.

1.Identify your stress situations and what you’re worried about.

2. Make time for Faith. “ The simplicity of our life of contemplation makes us see the face of God in everything, everyone, and everywhere, all the time”. Mother Teresa.

3. Challenge Your Beliefs About Worry.

What is the evidence that the thought is true? That it’s not true?
Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
What’s the probability that what I’m scared of will actually happen? If the probability is low, what are some more likely outcomes?
Is the thought helpful? How will worrying about it help me and how will it hurt me?
What would I say to a friend who had this worry?

4. Practice Realistic Thinking.

5. Write down your worries.

6. Setting aside a certain amount of time (10-15 minutes) each day to consider worries and avoiding thinking about them at other times in the day.

7. Make your worries boring. If there is a specific worry that bothers you often, you can try to make it boring, so your brain will return to it less often. Do this by repeating it in your head again and again for several minutes.

8. Interrupt negative thought loops and replace them with positive ones.

9. Think of how to solve the problem. Knowing what to do if a dreaded event does occur can help reduce the anxiety that develops from an imagined scenario.

10. Think about social influences. Emotions can be contagious. If you spend a lot of time with other worriers, or people who make you anxious, you may want to reconsider how much time you are spending with those people.

11. Accept the Things You Cannot Change.

12. Embrace uncertainty.

13. Try not to isolate yourself. Develop deep relations.

14. Get moving.

15. Take a yoga or tai chi class.

16. Try deep breathing.

17. Meditate.

18. Stay focused on the present.

19. Practice progressive muscle relaxation.

And always remember:

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” —Walter Hagen.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What would Christmas be without love?

Hello my friends!

Why can’t we all just love each other? Why do we hate things that are different?

It doesn’t matter who you are, your skin color, sexuality and gender don’t matter. In the end we are all the same!

No matter how different we are, we are bound to each other by love. And where there is love ,nothing else matters! ❤️ 

 

Love always,

Vassiliki  xxxx

Teacher Stress

Hello my friends!

The National Union of Teachers (UK) indicates the ways in which stress manifests itself:

“The effects of stress can be manifested in many different ways including physical effects such as raised heart rate, headache, dizziness, palpitations, skin rashes, aching neck and shoulders and lowering of resistance to infection. Over a long period stress may contribute to chronic health problems such as heart disease and stomach ulcers. Various psychological and behavioural changes affecting work performance and interpersonal relationships may also be noticed by stressed individuals’ colleagues, including inability to concentrate, overworking, irritability or aggression, becoming withdrawn or unsociable, or reluctance to accept constructive criticism and advice”.

The main causes of stress in the workplace:

Balancing multiple demands

Work overload

Lack of time

Inadequate resources

Inadequate administrative support

Inclusive classes

Student misbehaviour

On-going changes

Inadequate professional development

Teaching unions are warning of an “epidemic of stress” as research revealed that 3.750 teachers were signed off on long term sick leave last year because of pressure of work, anxiety and mental illness (The Guardian, 2018).

Dr Mary Bousted joint general secretary of the National Education Union, warned of an “epidemic stress”: “Teachers work more unpaid overtime than any other profession. Classroom teachers routinely work 55 hours or over a week. School leaders routinely work over 60 hours a week”. She added that schools had been bombarded with constant changes to the curriculum and assessment regimes. “It has been a relentless policy onslaught which has left teachers rocking from stress and exhaustion” (Guardian, 2018).

Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, said the onus was on employers to support staff. “In small doses, stress can be a good thing, helping us focus and meet deadlines”, she said. “But prolonged exposure to stress, day in, day out, can lead to serious physical and mental health problems”.

What can be done to reduce teacher stress?

School leaders can help reduce teacher stress by cultivating working conditions that support teachers. The working conditions that lead to the most job satisfaction involve administrative and collegial support. Schools can also help reduce teacher stress by promoting effective teacher-student interactions. One way to accomplish this is by using strategies that reward positive student behaviours. Teachers in schools with that utilize positive strategies on a schoolwide basis to support behavior experience significantly lower levels of burnout. A comprehensive self-care plan may help teachers identify signs of stress and improve their stress management skills (The Conversation).

Are you stressed out? Do you feel trapped by your schedule? Do you feel exhausted? Are you constantly involved in power struggles with some students? Is there a lack of encouragement or practical support from colleagues?
This complete teacher emotional resilience course will show you exactly:
●How to enhance your self-awareness.
●How to dissolve negative emotions and irrational thinking patterns.
●How does self -talk affect your emotions.
●How to better manage stress and avoid burn out.
●How to manage your anger so you can relieve inner stress and experience more peace, better relationships and better health.

●How to manage your time.

Teacher Emotional Resilience Course includes:
– 6 videos
– 31 power point presentations with powerful relaxation techniques that teach you step by step how to relax in 5 or 10 minutes
– self-awareness questions
– emotional resilience and mindfulness exercises, worksheets
– certificate of completion.
Who is the Target Audience?
Anyone feeling stressed and overwhelmed at school or at home. Teacher Emotional Resilience Course is suitable for all school staff, teachers, teaching assistants, special needs teachers, school volunteers.
Live more peacefully by enrolling today!

Enroll in Course

https://teacher-emotional-resilience.thinkific.com

Best wishes,

Vassiliki Plomaritou

MA(Ed), BA (Hons), Adv.D.Sp.Ed., PGCert.Sp.Ed., Adv.D.C.S., CertCBT, S.A.C.Cert.