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Blog by Kaleb Perry, an Enhancing Resilience in Children & Youth Self-Reg Learner

The MEHRIT Centre’s Enhancing Resilience in Children and Youth program, begins with a question: “Do you think resilience in young people today is about the same, worse, or better than in the past?” As I reflected on this question, I ​thought about “JB,” a student I had been working with in a senior high ​school​ history ​class. 

JB showed all of the traditional signs of lacking resilience. He was quick to disconnect from classwork, was frequently absent, had often sat alone, and became preoccupied with his cell phone or in distracting others.

Initially I connected with JB by identifying his strengths and challenges. I discovered that many of his past teachers sent him to the office for demonstrating non-compliance. As a result, his stressors associated with school made him feel that the classroom environment was unsafe, leading to chronic absenteeism. 

My first “Aha” moment came when I realized JB disconnected from classwork because he had trouble reading. He preoccupied himself with his cell phone to arrange parts for building a dirt bike – a strength and passion for him. My second “Aha” moment revealed that hands-on work served as his coping mechanism and also the method through which I could keep him in class.

Through my growing work to become a “Self-Reg® teacher,” I focused my efforts on  the science of self-regulation to benefit both my colleagues and students like JB. Understanding that resilience is a “state, not a trait,” I found that educators can reframe how we view resilience in our students in order to support their wellbeing and learning success.

One helpful tool I learned from the course was how to begin assessing the students’ stressors.   Below are my deductions of how we can use this method to benefit our students through Self-Reg:

  • By assessing student’s stressors, we can identify which activities, assessments, and practices best ensure they remain in an optimal state for learning.
  • We can assess a student’s stressors through simple “Check-ins,” whether formal or informal, which can be conducted as a group or individually through a survey or “Google Form.”
  • Using this data, we may address the root cause(s) of students’ stressors and work to reduce their stress load by providing opportunities to restore energy through brain breaks, independent work periods, or targeted support.

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