December 2018

Consider This…
Things to Consider in December 2018 from RTSC

News and information about education, research, and support for SESPs; adoptive, foster, and kinship caregivers; and child welfare and education professionals helping children with trauma and other special needs get the most from their education.

By Mary-Beth Landy
Training and Support Specialist, RTSC

Tuesday, November 27, 2018, proved to be a remarkable day, as over 190 SESPs, Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Caregivers, Professionals, and Educators braved their way through the early morning traffic to attend the 7th Annual “Making a Difference” Conference held at the Best Western in Marlborough, MA. Exhibitors began arriving as early as 6:30am, with attendees following at 7:00am!  Read More 

Things to Consider…

Helping Students Develop Executive Function Skills

Often it is hard to know what to offer a student in the ways of developing stronger skills in Executive Functioning when there are deficits. Where is the balance of offering support and scaffolding, while also developing independence? “Executive function is an umbrella term in neuroscience to describe the neurological processes involving mental control and self-regulation.” Everyone has some Executive Function challenges, which is believed to be located in the prefrontal portion of the brain. As we know many children with Developmental Childhood Trauma don’t develop this portion of the brain and the same rate as typical students, so of course, they will be some level of struggles with Executive Functioning. For years it was believed that these skills were not trainable deficits, but as this article illustrates they are in fact trainable, as this article discusses.

How Restorative Justice Helps Students Learn

“While traditional rules-and-consequences discipline is sometimes effective in stopping detrimental behaviors, it may have negative effects on the long-term resilience and connection within the community…Restorative Justice practices help all community members involved to calm or regulate their nervous systems by focusing on authentic reconnection after a rupture occurs. When we’re connected, we naturally feel safer and our nervous systems have a better chance of returning to the parasympathetic “rest and digest” mode that is optimal for learning.” You may have heard me talk about Restorative Justice as an alternative to suspension, which is true, this article, however, takes a look into the effects that it has on the student and the community’s ability to learn.

How a Traumatic Childhood Manifests in Social Anxiety

“The examples we are exposed to as children creates blueprints for our future relationships.” says Darius Cikanavicius, Author, Certified Coach. Early hurt and pain can program us to feel and believe that, generally, people are dangerous. If we view people as dangerous, then situations where there are other people would be viewed as dangerous, leading to social anxiety disorders.

How the brain decides what to learn

Ever wonder how it is that you or your student have a preference about what to learn or be interested in? A study published in Science Daily reports how the brain cells of mice are activated when given a good outcome or bad outcome. Take a look at how science is beginning to understand how our brains chose “what we chose to learn.”

Useful Tools and Resources

Dos and Don’ts of Classroom Decorations

Ever wonder why some students do well in certain classroom environments while others don’t? Maybe it is the classroom itself. “many classrooms end up being “sensory-rich” in a way that “could hamper children’s learning gains rather than help,” according to psychologists Pedro Rodrigues and Josefa Pandeirada, who coauthored the study.” According to their research, some decorations are beneficial, depending on what is being displayed. For example, showing the students work can add to a sense of pride and help the students remember the material. But avoid posting their grades, as that can affect them emotionally.

Boston Public Schools Discipline Settlement

How often have we heard or questioned the suspension of a kindergartener from school for a disciplinary action? Well Boston Public School District (BPS) has just settled a case regarding just such matters. Although this is a district agreement, it contains some good guidelines on the subject, such as, no student in Kindergartener, first grader, or second grader can be suspended. Instead BPS will follow measures listed in their Code of Conduct. When working with students that may present as behavioral, it is worth the read.

The Secret of Happiness

With the stress of the holidays upon us, I thought that it might be a good time to talk about Happiness. One way to address and grow happiness is through laughter. And what better way to bring a little happiness to your day, than to watch the funny and informative Shawn Achor’s TEDtalk about his study of happiness. Whether we view the world through a lens of happiness or not, will determine whether we are happy. Why is this important? “Dopamine, which floods into your system when you’re positive, turns on learning centers in your brain, allowing you to adapt to the world in a different way.” says Shawn Achor