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Blog by Miranda Murphy, a Foundations, Facilitator’s & Resilience Certificate Program Alumni

Assessment practices, as an ongoing part of any learning environment, are crucial in their role of guiding instruction and maximizing student growth. I’ve always been a believer in student-centred assessment practices, and as a special education teacher, I would often advocate for meeting students where they are. A recent personal experience further reinforced this view.

Last fall, I signed up for a five-year longitudinal study on dementia, and as part of the study I would be subjected to several physical, cognitive, and memory tests. On my very first session, I left the hospital research lab feeling great. Although it was a long day of testing, I felt that my performance, particularly in the cognitive and memory tests, were reflective of my ability. A couple of months later I would return for another battery of tests.

Fast forward to my next session. Things didn’t go as well. I hadn’t slept well at all the night before and ended up with very few hours of shut-eye. Although I felt that I could handle another testing day, I didn’t perform as well in the series of cognitive and memory tests, the same tests I had already taken in the previous session. What surprised me, however, was that the difference was startling!

On my way home, as I pondered my underperformance, I couldn’t help but think about all I had learned in my Self-Reg journey. The lack of sleep was a biological stressor that impacted my ability to focus and perform well, particularly in the timed activities that required logical reasoning and memory skills.

Graphic illustrating Reframing Behaviour

As a teacher, I immediately thought about all the learners who are stressed and cannot “do school” in the way that it is normally expected. Whether the student is stuck in a stress cycle and their learning is compromised, or maybe just didn’t sleep well the night before and can’t demonstrate their learning to the best of their ability, it is time to open the conversation to how best to support our school community using a Self-Reg lens. Compassionate understanding, genuine support through co-regulation, and opportunities for true restoration are some of the Self-Reg tools which the school community can adopt to turn schools into places of growth and wellbeing – a Self-Reg Haven for all!

See the full graphic HERE & learn more about Reframing Behaviour in any of The MEHRIT Centre’s Self-Reg Learning Offerings HERE.

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