Tricky to say what I have tried as I am an experimenter and have taught many subjects with all elem levels. Listening to fears is a biggie. I read body language a lot, and when I see wilted posture, or stillness, I will ask What’s up buttercup? Often I will ask questions to help them find a point of interest, a point of entry. Sometimes I will share my own experiences with similar struggles and strategies or perspectives that helped me to get past my impasses, or things I have seen others do. Sometimes I will get them to move, a water break, can you help me by bringing me… Calming breathes like bunny ears (yoga kids), the breathing box… a little sit in a low lit corner in the beanbag chair. One of my kids who has asd was overwhelmed and after a little break, was back and bright as a button, with ideas for his work. I also like eft, tapping. My scientific dad pshaws it, and my spiritual mom embraces it. It works for me so I am happy to offer it as a possibility for my kids.
One really key idea is that I can have conversations over time, that things don’t always need to be resolved on the spot. This came out of a tapping session with Gene Montrestelli (tapping Qand A) and it is so simple and so obvious, but not to me at the time and it released so much pressure and frustration on my part.
I also work on focus, of turning a student’s attention to past struggles they have overcome to remind them of their resilience and ability to grow, or of bridging, looking past a downfall to actions, behaviors or attitudes within their means that will help them succeed.
And sometimes I organize a time outside of class to work one to one or with a small group so they have a calmer environment and more support.
I am trying to work from guided to self-directedwhen the final tasks are complex… a break it down to build it up.
Yesterday, many of my pre-k’s were calling out for help after I had done a connecting arms to paper puppet body with brads through hole-punched holes and I didn’t run around like a crazy person doing it for them, but told them to ask at their table. Some still, I did re-demonstrate, take it appart and have them do it. With my older class, I have done skills demo videos they can access on an ipad and replay. Very helpful. I am free from re-demonstrating to work on other aspects of class management and teaching/learning.
I have been thinking about this about transmition of technique/expertise compared to letting people develop their own way and I think it is a spectrum with different points appropriate in different contexts. My PE reacher did not offer me any instruction on running technique that I can recall and I am an awful runner. When I became a PE teacher, I addressed technique in terms of physics, demo and experimentation… the lettuce choppers, hands moving up and down from elbow with no forward back movement from shoulder, or arms swinging from left to right across body instead of at the sides forward and back. I do appreciate that I will tackle unknown subjects through books, and subsequent iterations and build my abilities that way, but I also love great teaching with observation and feedback that hits the spot to move my learning forward quickly.