You most likely know that Hanna Bogen, co-author of the “Brain Talk” curriculum, came to talk to parents on Thursday. You’ve probably also heard that it was fascinating and extremely helpful.
What you may not know is that Hanna has been hired by St Anne to work with ALL staff about this important subject and to help them integrate it, in every classroom, for all students.
Hanna’s hiring for this academic year was made possible by parents wonderful donations to last year’s Fund-It campaign. Our goal was to raise funds to hire an academic coach to provide further support for our Diverse Learners – a need identified in the 5 Year Strategic Plan.
Hanna opened her talk with the statement that “knowing how brains work and how we can help kids self regulate is for EVERY kid, not just for those at either end of the learning spectrum”.
To that end, the 10 days of onsite teacher training she will be spending at St Anne, along with the countless off-site hours, will not only benefit our Diverse Learners but every St Anne student (now and in the future).
An outcome of her work that you will see immediately, are the goals that every student is setting with their teacher. These – one academic goal and one “self regulation” or “brain talk”goal – will be shared at the upcoming Parent-Teacher conferences.
There was so much great information shared on Thursday that can’t be expressed by either Hanna’s presentation slides or by me. But, if you are interested in one parents’ key take aways keep reading…
#1 Talk openly about how the brain works with your kids.
The basics of the brain are that there are two fundamentally different parts of the brain….
The “feeling brain” is the ancient “fight or flight” part of the brain that keeps us safe from mortal danger. The frontal lobe is the “thinking” part of the brain that enables us to rationalize, plan and execute.
When our “feeling brain” is in charge we are “highly triggered” and REACT (read shouting, pouting, slamming). When our “thinking brain” is in charge we can come up with more rational options and can RESPOND.
To be effective, we need to talk to the brain from the bottom up. First acknowledge the “highly triggered feeling brain”, ask for a PAUSE (aka a “brain break”), then let the “thinking brain” come online.
#2 Don’t rent out your frontal lobe to your kid.
When you do all the thinking for your kids, you are renting them your brain which doesn’t enable them to build their own.
For example if they have soccer after school, you may be tempted to give them a list of instructions, “you won’t have much time after school so make sure you pack your water bottle, cleats, jersey, snack, blah, blah…” – this is renting out your brain.
Instead, try “so if you have soccer tonight, then what will you need?”. This will be helping them build their own brain!
#3 Remember IQ is only one of 3 Quotients of self-regulated behavior.
Hanna has a new “quotient”, which I loved. She added SQ – spiritual quotient – to the two I already knew – IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient). Spiritual Quotient encompasses things like kindness, gratitude, etc.
Written by Sasha Muir