How Positive Affirmations Can Help You Heal Your Emotions And Your Thoughts.

My dear friends, hello!

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stressed individuals’ colleagues, including inability to concentrate, overworking, irritability or aggression, becoming withdrawn or unsociable, or reluctance to accept constructive criticism and advice”.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

Negative thoughts ruin your life! When negative emotions like stress and anxiety fill your mind you are unable to battle the obstacles you encounter in your life. Psychologist Guy Winch notes that it is both possible and hugely beneficial to stop negative thoughts. “Studies tell us that even a two-minute distraction is sufficient to break the urge to ruminate in that moment,” he says. In this context, Winch uses the term “rumination” to describe the act of dwelling on negative experiences, circumstances, or worries. Though it’s easy to slip into rumination, you can just as easily change the channel in your mind. Every time you catch yourself beginning to worry, stop and intentionally think about something else. The mental distraction might be something completely unrelated, such as noticing the beauty around you or remembering someone’s act of kindness.

Affirmations are positive statements. The use of daily positive affirmations helps you counter the negative self-talk, with positive ideas. When properly formed, affirmations can counteract some of your negative thoughts and habits, resonating with the alpha brain waves and enabling you to achieve empowerment, to change your thinking. When you learn how to think positive, your self-image will naturally improve. As a result you will act differently and your circumstances will naturally change as well. This is a great start, as affirmations with words and valuable phrases can be quite powerful, imprinting positive messages in your subconscious mind.

How to create powerful affirmations:

  • Positive affirmations are always in the present tense.
  • Place your name in the affirmation
  • Positive affirmations only include positive words.
  • Add a feeling to strengthen the affirmation (I feel etc.).
  • Believe and repeat your affirmation with faith and attention. But they cannot be a parrot like repetition of a meaningless thought or sentence.
  • There’s no formula for how often or how many times you should repeat a positive affirmation.

Positive affirmations are words that help release the power within yourself. New strength and ability are released from your innermost being. Positive affirmations motivate you and inspire you. So remember to pick the right statements for your intentions, make it a daily habit to clear the clutter and reprogram your subconscious mind. Be aware that positive affirmations don’t magically manifest results—what they do instead is open your subconscious to new channels of information and opportunity, so you must take action on these in order for any major changes to happen to your life (Leena S. Guptha DO, Psychology Today).

But changes do not happen overnight. You need to repeating the positive affirmations again and again till they are firmly embedded in your subconscious mind.

All my mandala stones, wooden pebbles and bookmarks are stress relieving because they can be used as a focus for meditation. They always have a circular nature and offer balancing symmetrical elements and images symbolizing harmony and completion. These mandala stones, pebbles and bookmarks will help promote mindfulness, focus attention and emotional wellbeing. The Affirmation Stones and the Inspirational Stones can help you to challenge and overcome negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes. The Worry Stones, generally used by Ancient Greeks, can be used for meditation, relaxation or anxiety relief.

Remember that you are worthy of being happy, healthy and of being anxiety and stress free. I wish all of you a very happy life ahead in which you do not need to worry about anything.
If you enjoyed my blog post, please share it with a friend who you think might find it helpful too! I really appreciate your support.

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Love always,

Vassiliki

Rick Snyder’s Hope Theory and The Role Of Positive Psychology In Academic Achievement

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Hello my friends!

In 1991, the eminent positive psychologist Charles R. Snyder and his colleagues came up with Hope Theory. According to their theory, hope consists of agency and pathways. The common conception of hope is based on Snyder’s hope theory (1994, 2002) which describes hope as a positive motivated state and a cognitive process with three distinct, yet related elements (Snyder & Lopez, 2007):

1. goal-directed thinking – valuable but uncertain goals providing direction and end-point.

2. pathways thinking – the perceived capacity to find routes to desired goals.

3. agency thinking – the requisite motivations to use those routes.

According to hope theory, conceptualized by Snyder and colleagues, hope is a goal directed cognitive process. It is characterized as a human strength that involves a person capacity to (a) clearly conceptualize goals (goals thinking), (b) create ways or strategies to achieve those goals (pathways thinking), and (c) initiate and sustain motivation for using those strategies (agency thinking) to effectively obtain what a person is looking for. Any deficit in this cognitive theory (goals, agency, pathways) reflects low hope. Indeed, neither agency nor pathway thinking alone is sufficient to sustain hope. The  person who has hope has the will and determination that goals will be achieved, and a set of different strategies at their disposal to reach their goals. When high-hope people encounter obstacles in pursuit of a goal, they do not despair. Having identified multiple routes to reach objectives, they simply choose another route and go around the barrier. Low-hope people, in contrast, may give up when encountering barriers to goals because they cannot think of other pathways to surmount the obstacles. This often results in frustration, a loss of confidence, and lowered self-esteem. In order to sustain movement toward one’s goals, both a sense of agency and a sense of pathways must be operative (Snyder, 2000).

Hope involves the will to get there, and different ways to get there. Psychological well being in society is improved if people are allowed to pursue goal directed activity and achieve rewards. A considerable body of research suggests high-hope individuals are more resilient, experience lower levels of anxiety and depression and experience better outcomes in the workplace and at home (Lopez et al. 2004; Snyder & Lopez, 2007). They are less like to abandon their goals and more likely to stay the course in pursuing their aims. The experience of hope has a positive influence on individual health and well-being (Gallagher & Lopez, 2009; Shorey, Little, Snyder, Kluck, & Robitschek, 2007; Snyder et al., 1996). Optimism as a trait is also studied in positive psychology, and appears as the VIA Strength of Hope and Optimism. Hope and optimism are both part of cognitive, emotional, and motivational stances toward the future, indicating a belief that future good events will outweigh bad events (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). Individuals with high hope experience better overall physical, psychological, and social well-being. Hopeful people have also been found to be less reactive to stressful situations (Chang & DeSimone, 2001; Snyder, 2002). Scheier and Carver (1985) emphasize generalized outcome expectancies in their theory and assume that optimism is a goal-based approach that occurs when an outcome has substantial value. In this optimism model, people perceive themselves as being able to move toward desirable goals and away from undesirable goals (antigoals; Carver & Scheier, 2000a). Although pathways-like thoughts and agency-involved thoughts are implicit in their model, the outcome expectancies (similar to agency) are seen as the prime elicitors of goal-directed behaviors (Scheier & Carver, 1985, 1987). High-hope people embrace self-talk agentic phrases as “I can do this” and “I am not going to be stopped” (Snyder et al., 1998).

The acquisition of goal-directed hopeful thought is absolutely crucial for the child’s survival and thriving. Children with higher levels of hope are more creative, have better academic results, better social skills, higher self-esteem, self-realization, better perceptions of being able to solve problems and face obstacles ( Snyder et al., 1997). These children are guided by successful experiences rather than frustrations and are more apt to set challenging (and achievable) goals and develop more satisfactory life goals ( Snyder et al., 2003). On the other hand, children with lower levels of hope are more prone to frustration, anxiety, depression, and aggression ( Snyder et al., 2003). Teachers who perceive the plight of low-hope students in the classroom, however, should resist the impulse to “give them a break” and not demand as much from them as from other students in the classroom. Rather, a caring adult who has high expectations and who demands high levels of performance can instill hope in a young person  (McDermott & Snyder, 2000). It is important to emphasize that in order to give hope to others, you must first have hope yourself (Snyder et al., 1997).

http://www.udemy.com/teacher-emotional-wellbeing/?src=sac&kw=57%20helpful%20ways%20to%20benefit

I love Vicki’s Zakrzewski article How to Help Students Develop Hope in Greater Good Magazine published by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

1.Identify and prioritize their top goals, from macro to micro. Start by having students create a “big picture” list of what’s important to them—such as their academics, friends, family, sports, or career—and then have them reflect on which areas are most important to them and how satisfied they are with each. Keep in mind that the goals must be what the students want, not what their parents or schools want. Otherwise, as studies suggest, they will quickly lose their interest and/or motivation, especially as they come up against obstacles. Finally, students should rank their goals in order of importance.

2. Breakdown the goals—especially long-term ones—into steps. Research has suggested that students with low hope frequently think goals have to be accomplished all-at-once, possibly because they haven’t had the parental guidance on how to achieve goals in steps. Teaching them how to see their goals as a series of steps will also give students reasons to celebrate their successes along the way—a great way to keep motivation high!

3.Teach students that there’s more than one way to reach a goal. Teaching them to visualize different paths to their goals will help them get beyond insurmountable barriers. Perhaps most importantly, teachers need to make sure that students don’t equate those barriers with a lack of talent; instead, they need to be reminded that everyone faces obstacles. Success usually requires creative ways to overcome these obstacles, not avoiding them altogether.

4.Tell stories of success. Scientists have found that hopeful students draw on memories of other successes when they face an obstacle; however, students with low hope often don’t have these kinds of memories. That’s why it’s vital for teachers to read books or share stories of other people—especially kids—who have overcome adversity to reach their goals.

5.Keep it light and positive. Research has found that students who use positive self-talk, rather than beating themselves up for mistakes, are more likely to reach their goals.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

 

Teacher Character Strengths: Which are the nine characteristics of a great teacher?

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Hello my friends!

Positive psychology is said to be an umbrella term for the study of positive emotions, positive character traits, and enabling institutions (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). It can be described as the study of what people do right, and how they do it, and involves aiming towards helping people to develop those qualities that will help them lead more fulfilling lives. Within the field of positive psychology the terms subjective well-being and life satisfaction is often used interchangeably with happiness, which are more scientifically solid terms for what people usually associate with happiness (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). A premise of positive psychology is that it is possible to improve mental health, and make development and growth feasible, by focusing on and elaborate on strengths of character and positive personality traits. To be able to put a name to what one does well, to gain knowledge about and cultivate ones strengths is thought to promote well-being. Happiness is in theory and research often substituted with the term wellbeing, in particular referring to individual, or subjective, well-being (SWB). It can be defined in terms of the individual’s cognitive and affective evaluations of his or her life as a whole (Diener, Oishi, & Lucas, 2009). As such, these judgements will consist of both cognitive evaluations of life satisfaction, as well as emotional responses to events.
Thus, subjective well-being is an individual experience that implies high levels of pleasant moods and emotions (not just the absence of negative ones) and high life satisfaction, resulting from a global judgement of all aspects of a person’s life.

This blog post provides the basics for what has become known as the six core virtues of psychological strength; courage meaning emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to reach goals in the face of difficulties, justice, denoting civic strengths that underlie healthy community life, humanity, which implies interpersonal strengths that enhance meaningful social relationships, temperance, implying strengths which protect against excess, wisdom, denoting cognitive strengths that imply the gaining and using of knowledge, and finally, transcendence, which means strengths that are thought to lie at the basis for being able to connect to the larger universe and provide meaning (Peterson & Seligman, 2004).

Character strengths are defined as the subset of personality traits, on which we place moral value and are psychological processes or mechanisms that constitute positive traits reflected in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (Park, Peterson, & Seligman, 2004). For instance, introversion or extroversion might be seen as neutral concepts, but gratitude and fairness have a moral value, and can as such be called character strengths. Virtue and character are thus different from personality and temperament in that they have moral relevance. But like other personality traits, they presumably exist in degrees rather than either-or categories (Peterson, Park, & Seligman, 2005a).

Virtues and Character Strengths

1.Wisdom and knowledge
– creativity: thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things
– curiosity: taking an interest in all of ongoing experience for its own sake, exploring and discovering
– judgment: being open-minded and thinking things through and examining them from all sides
– love of learning: mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, to add systematically to what one knows
– perspective: being able to provide wise counsel to others

2. Courage
– honesty: speaking the truth and presenting oneself in a genuine way, being sincere and without pretense
– bravery: not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain, speaking up for what is right and act on conviction in the face of opposition
– persistence: finishing what one starts, persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles
– zest: approaching life with excitement and energy, feeling alive and activated.

3. Humanity
– kindness: doing favors and good deeds for others, helping and taking care of others
– love: valuing close relations with others, sharing, caring and being close to other people
– social intelligence: being aware of the motives and feelings of oneself and others, knowing how to fit into different social situations.

4. Justice
– fairness: treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice, giving everyone a fair chance
– leadership: organizing group activities and seeing that they happen and at the same time maintain good relations within the group
– teamwork: working well as a member of a group or team, being loyal to the group and doing one’s share.

5. Temperance
– forgiveness: forgiving those that have done wrong, giving people a second chance and accept their shortcomings
– modesty: letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves, avoiding the spotlight
– prudence: being careful about one’s choices; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted
– self-regulation: regulating what one feels and does, appetites and emotions, being disciplined.

6. Transcendence
– appreciation of beauty and excellence: noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life
– gratitude: being aware of and thankful of the good things that happen, also expressing them
– hope: believing in a good future, expecting the best and working to achieve it
– humor: seeing the light side, liking to laugh and joke; bringing smiles to other people
– religiousness: having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of life, also beliefs that shape conduct and provide comfort.

Studies that examine happiness, life satisfaction, and related concepts of well-being are some of the more popular areas of inquiry in positive psychology. Since the onset of positive psychology, researchers have been interested in those character strengths that correlate highest with happiness. Zest, hope, gratitude, love, and curiosity frequently emerge with the highest correlations with life satisfaction.

Teacher character is referring to the teacher’s personal distinctive qualities, which are significant of his/her, complex mental and ethical traits. Orlando (2013) listed nine characteristics of a great teacher:

A. A great teacher respects students. In a great teacher’s classroom, each person’s ideas and opinions are valued. Students feel safe to express their feelings and learn to respect and listen to others. This teacher creates a welcoming learning environment for all students.
B. A great teacher creates a sense of community and belonging in the classroom. The mutual respect in this teacher’s classroom provides a supportive, collaborative environment. In this small community, there are rules to follow and jobs to be done and each student is aware that he or she is an important, integral part of the group. A great teacher lets students know that they can depend not only on her but also on the entire class.
C. A great teacher is warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring. This person is approachable, not only to students, but to everyone at school or on campus. This is the teacher to whom students know they can go with any problems or concerns or even to share a funny story. Great teachers possess good listening skills and take time out of their way-too-busy schedules for anyone who needs them. If this teacher is having a bad day, no one ever knows—the teacher leaves personal baggage outside the school doors.
D. A great teacher sets high expectations for all students. This teacher realizes that the expectations she has for her students greatly affect their achievement; she knows that students generally give to teachers as much or as little as is expected of them.
E. A great teacher has his own love of learning and inspires students with his passion for education and for the course material. He constantly renews himself as a professional on his quest to provide students with the highest quality of education possible. This teacher has no fear of learning new teaching strategies or incorporating new technologies into lessons, and always seems to be the one who is willing to share what he has learned with colleagues.
F. A great teacher is a skilled leader. Different from administrative leaders, effective teachers focus on shared decision-making and teamwork, as well as on community building. This great teacher conveys this sense of leadership to students by providing opportunities for each of them to assume leadership roles.
G. A great teacher can “shift-gears” and is flexible when a lesson is not working. This teacher assesses his teaching throughout the lessons and finds new ways to present material to make sure that every student understands the key concepts.
H. A great teacher collaborates with colleagues on an ongoing basis. Rather than thinking of herself as weak because she asks for suggestions or help, this teacher views collaboration as a way to learn from a fellow professional. A great teacher uses constructive criticism and advice as an opportunity to grow as an educator.
I. A great teacher maintains professionalism in all areas—from personal appearance to organizational skills and preparedness for each day. Her communication skills are exemplary, whether she is speaking with an administrator, one of her students or a colleague. The respect that the great teacher receives because of her professional manner is obvious to those around her.

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and my online course 57 Helpful Ways to Benefit Your Emotional Wellbeing (Teacher Emotional Wellbeing)

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For You From Me: 60% Off Coupon Code HAPPY1234

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

The Theory of Wellbeing and Perma: Martin Seligman

 

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Hello my friends!

The literature offers several reasons for adopting a positive education approach. Positive education provides an antidote to youth depression, serves as a pathway to increased life satisfaction, promotes learning and creativity, enhances social cohesion, and promotes civic citizenship (Seligman et al., 2009; Waters, 2011). Positive education introduces and normalizes self-inquiry and self-management of one’s mental health from a young age, which may lead to long-term benefits as youth move into adulthood with greater self-awareness and emotional intelligence (Waters, 2014). On the theoretical side, well-being is an abstract construct that includes both feeling good and functioning well (Huppert, 2014). “Teachers and researchers in positive psychology are natural allies. At its core, education is about nurturing strengths, about growth and learning. Furthermore, psychological and social well-being are key concerns for teachers and other educators and for people working in the field of positive psychology” (Shankland & Rosset, 2017). Seligman and other positive psychologists are also not alone in the belief that schools should aim for student well-being. Teachers themselves believe that teaching is “inevitably linked” with the emotional health and well-being of the students being taught (Kidger et al., 2010).

Being happy and finding life meaningful overlap, but there are important differences.  Satisfying one’s needs and wants increased happiness but was largely irrelevant to meaningfulness. Happiness was largely present oriented, whereas meaningfulness involves integrating past, present, and future. For example, thinking about future and past was associated with high meaningfulness but low happiness. Happiness was linked to being a taker rather than a giver, whereas meaningfulness went with being a giver rather than a taker. Higher levels of worry, stress, and anxiety were linked to higher meaningfulness but lower happiness (Baumeister, Vohs, Aaker & Garbinsky, 2013).

Authentic Happiness Theory
Seligman’s beginning theory discussed authentic happiness. He described that people can feel happiness from different types of experiences.
The pleasant life: This refers to feeling positive emotions in the most intuitive way, of feeling pleasant sensations. Gaining happiness at this level necessitates relatively little effort.
The engaged life: Engagement is characterized by flow. Flow refers to the experience of completely loosing oneself in an activity. Individuals become totally absorbed in what they are doing and lose track of time. They are not thinking, but in essence unified with what they are doing.
In order for flow to occur, the person has to be using their signature character strengths, and usually there has to be some sort of challenge, but not too big of a challenge. Usually, activities with clear goals and feedback will cause more flow. Flow causes an inner motivation and intrinsic reward. As opposed to the pleasant life, this form of happiness necessitates more effort. Being in flow invigorates the person, filling one with positive energy.
The meaningful life: However engaging flow activities may be, they can be utterly meaningless and fill a person with a void after some time. In order to feel meaning, people have to be engaged in something that serves a goal beyond themselves, such as in religion, politics, or family.

Seligman contends that the five PERMA domains fall on the positive side of the mental health spectrum; well-being is not simply the lack of negative psychological states, but is something more (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Seligman (2011) hypothesized that PERMA (Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment) are the elements of well-being.

Here is a brief definition of each of the five building blocks:

1. Positive Emotion (P)
For us to experience well-being, we need positive emotion in our lives. Any positive emotion such as peace, gratitude, satisfaction, pleasure, inspiration, hope, curiosity, or love falls into this category – and the message is that it’s really important to enjoy yourself in the here and now, just as long as the other elements of PERMA are in place.
2. Engagement (E)
When we’re truly engaged in a situation, task, or project, we experience a state of flow : time seems to stop, we lose our sense of self, and we concentrate intensely on the present.
This feels really good! The more we experience this type of engagement, the more likely we are to experience well-being.
3. Positive Relationships (R)
As humans, we are “social beings,” and good relationships are core to our well-being. Time and again, we see that people who have meaningful, positive relationships with others are happier than those who do not. Relationships really do matter.

4. Meaning (M)
Meaning comes from serving a cause bigger than ourselves. Whether this is a specific deity or religion, or a cause that helps humanity in some way, we all need meaning in our lives to have a sense of well-being.
5. Accomplishment/Achievement (A)
Many of us strive to better ourselves in some way, whether we’re seeking to master a skill, achieve a valuable goal, or win in some competitive event. As such, accomplishment is another important thing that contributes to our ability to flourish.

I wish all of you a very happy life ahead in which you do not need to worry about anything.

If you enjoyed my blog post, please share it with a friend who you think might find it helpful too! I really appreciate your support. You can also follow the posts I publish on Medium:

https://medium.com/@plomvasso 

and my online course:

www.udemy.com/teacher-emotional-wellbeing/?src=sac&kw=57%20helpful%20ways

Thanks for reading!

Best wishes,

Love always,

Vassiliki

 

View at Medium.com

The Best Technique To Help You De-Stress

 

Pouli

 

Hello my friends!

Stress is one of the world’s largest health problems, leading to exhaustion, burnout, anxiety, a weak immune system, or even organ damage. Studies show that art therapy, coloring mandalas  and drawing in general, can minimize anxiety and combat negative mood. Art therapy is a form of therapy that encourages creativity and self-expression as vehicles to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, increase awareness and help remedy trauma. Psychologist Carl Jung recommended coloring mandalas (circular designs that can contain intricate patterns or symbols) as a therapeutic intervention to promote psychological health, as he perceived that drawing mandalas had a calming effect on his patients while facilitating their processing of thoughts and emotions.

Today, art therapy is recognized for its many therapeutic effects on aspects of mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being. As described by art-therapist Myra Levick, these include:

To provide a means to strengthening the ego.

To provide a cathartic experience.

To provide a means to uncover anger.

To offer an avenue to reduce guilt.

To facilitate impulse-control.

To help patients/clients use art as a new outlet during incapacitating illness.

In 1971 a radiation oncologist named Carl Simonton formulated a concept for cancer patients involving among other things the integration of art therapy. Simonton and his wife designed a strategic approach to attack cancer from all sides, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually with a host of progressive and relaxation techniques. In perhaps the most significant plank to bridge the fields of alternative and modern medicine, mental imagery and art therapy were employed as complementary tools to fight cancer cells and help rejuvenate the body.

Try the following theme:

Draw yourself.

Draw a picture of a part of your body you feel needs a special attention. Draw an area that you feel is perhaps a target organ of stress, for example a headache, sore back etc.

On another sheet of paper, draw an image of this same body region fully healed.

Use your imagination to restore this image to health through metaphor.

OR

Draw a peaceful image

OR

Draw how you feel right now. What emotions are you feeling right now? What does your anger look like to you? Try to visualize your emotions  on paper.

Art therapy is a portable form of therapy, and one that can be practiced alone without the support of a therapist.The beauty of art therapy is that it can be practiced for as long or little as you wish, depending on the amount of time you have. Just ten minutes of self-directed art therapy, every day, can make improvements to the quality of your day and to the levels of stress you experience.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

 

It’s never too late!

Hello my friends!

I wanted to share this truly inspirational video with all of you!

Always remember that, it’s never too late to make your dreams come true!Never give up!!!!

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

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

16 Practical Ideas for students with ADD

Hello my friends!

Thank you very much for your kind emails!!! After twenty years in education (with students who experience dyslexia, reading, spelling, handwriting difficulties, ADD) and counselling, I know that teachers and other educators are VERY BUSY people with many responsibilities. Many teachers emphasized the need for practical ideas easy to implement in the classroom and not overly time consuming.

These practical ideas are for students who have attention disorder difficulties that interfere with their ability to learn:

Discuss the issues involved with your colleagues and ensure that in general you have got their support for the approach to ADD that you are adopting.

Seat the student away from windows and put the student right in front of your desk.

Develop an two-way agreement in the form of a Contract. A two-way agreement specifies precisely how a student will behave or what task the student will accomplish. It also specifies what support a teacher or administrator will provide in order to assist the student in meeting his/her goals. Ask the student to select a reinforcer that he or she would like to earn if the criterion of the agreement is met. Once the student meets the criterion immediately provide the reinforcer. Each week this Contract need to be reviewed. It may be necessary to modify the requirements made in the Contract.

Some students with ADD may need school accommodations. Some accommodations include extended time on tests, shortened assignments, note taking. Provide worksheets with fewer questions and problems. Break long assignments into smaller chunks and do not grade for neatness.

Use timers or verbal cues to show how much time the student has remaining for an activity.

Students with ADD can learn better by listening. You can provide help for students by reading aloud to them or letting them work with partners or in a group.

Keep your instructions simple.

Do everything possible to avoid background noise while working on language activities. Do everything possible to avoid interrupting. Listen intently and show that you have heard and understood. Encourage your student to complete the task and give lots of praise.

Allow student frequent physical breaks to move around, to hand out or collect materials, run errands to the office, erase the board, etc.

Always begin the question with a student’s name. This focuses the student’s attention before you ask the question and keeps him or her “with you”.

Ask both open-ended and specific types of questions.

When a student makes a correct statement students say “Good job.” If the answer is incorrect, someone says “Good try! or Nice try! or You can do it!”

Use a token system to make sure everyone takes a turn answering your questions and no one monopolizes the conversation.

Students with ADD often have poor short-term memories. Strategies can be taught to improve short-term memory and increase concentration span for example, self-discovery techniques or memory aid systems for remembering specific items.

Teach students to organize their materials. Have students color code by choosing one color per subject. Or suggest that students buy Post It flags in each subject color. Graphic organizers can help all students take a step-by-step approach to solving problems and memorizing information. These organizers can be used to solve math problems, arrange historical events in chronological order or complete any sequence of important facts.

It is very helpful if you can give the attention deficit student some responsibilities which that student will manage to achieve. It helps the child improve self-esteem and gain greater understanding of the sequences of cause and effect.

ADD is unrelated to intelligence.

When these strategies are applied more regularly in the classroom, they will benefit not only students with ADD but the entire learning environment.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx