EDUC 766, Instructional Strategies & Assessment Methods, is the second course in my Graduate Certificate program. Use the links below to view parts of the work completed for this course:
Building Your Own Bridge Seminar
Center Point is a non-profit organization in Hall County, Georgia that enhances, strengthens, and changes lives by promoting the success of students and families through teaching and personal development.
Currently, in Hall County GA public elementary schools, young students are exhibiting signs of depression; they are showing signs of stress and anxiety, and they are acting out in their classrooms. These students need help to learn coping skills for stress and anxiety, how to define their personal boundaries, and how to resolve conflicts. These “soft skills” are not being covered in the Hall County curriculum, so Center Point wants to aid K-3 teachers in their efforts to help students.
Building Your Own Bridge training seminar aims to make a more positive classroom environment that will help teachers and students focus on their classroom instruction and learning. By working with Hall County elementary school teachers, Center Point will instruct the teachers on how to help their students cope with stress, manage relationships with classmates, and resolve conflicts. This seminar will cover four key areas:
- Reflective skills to identify emotions and intensity of emotions
- Listening skills to validate someone’s feelings
- Verbal skills to clearly communicate feelings
- Body language skills to read other’s body language and awareness of one’s own body language
Through these four key areas, the Building Your Own Bridge Seminar will show teachers how to help young students control their behavioral outbursts, get along with their classmates, and concentrate on their studies.
Currently, elementary school teachers in Hall County GA receive basic training around working with students that suffer from depression and anxiety. These basic skills are not enough to help students cope with challenging times.
A counselor for 16 years at the Youth Elementary School, in nearby Walton County, reports there has been a shift in student population over the last two years. She says it’s not economic or ethic; it’s a social and emotional shift. She’s been seeing more students diagnosed with mental health issues. She saw 8 suicide teams formed in the first 2 months of the school year, which was more than the entire previous year. After attending a system-wide counselors’ meeting, she learned that other counselors were experiencing the same trend. The counselor says students are exhibiting anger, depression, and stress, and the students do not have the coping skills handle their feelings.
A previous Gainesville City School System superintendent reports similar findings. She now works as an implementation consultant to help teachers incorporate classroom-based support systems in their classes. She hosts a workshop series on mental health supports in schools that explore ways for schools to use strategies to teach students self-regulation throughout the school day. She is in talks to deliver her workshop in several areas of Georgia, and she hopes the Hall County area will be able to sign on.
David Smith, the Executive Director of Center Point in Hall County, also sees the need to help teachers address the changing mental health issues he sees in young students. He claims that since the 2008 financial collapse, the students’ mentalities have changed. He attributes the change to financial hardships the families are going through. He reported getting a call from a 2nd-grade teacher whose student was threatening suicide in class.
The goal of the Building Your Own Bridge seminar is to give K-3 teachers the tools they need to help their students manage their emotions, cope with stress, and resolve conflicts. These teachers need to learn how to ensure safe environments, how to build relationships & connectedness among their students, and support & teach emotional regulation.
Primary Audience (training will be voluntary but strongly encouraged)
- K~3rd Hall County elementary school teachers
- Hall County school administrators
- Hall County school counselors
Secondary Audience (training will be voluntary)
- Hall County school police officers
- Hall County students’ parents
- Hall County school bus drivers & janitors
General Learner Characteristics
- Age: 22~45
- Gender: 77% female, 33% male (primary audience: 84% female, 16% male)
- Education: college educated (all read at a university level)
- Work experience: average 10~15 years teaching experience
- Ethnicity: 72% White, 21% African-American, 6% Latino
- Most are familiar with Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences & Learning Styles
- All have received basic training in working with young learners with emotional difficulties
- Most have a basic understanding of Group Dynamics
The delivery for the Building Your Own Bridge seminar will be a face-to-face class. A Center Point staff member will deliver a 3-hour interactive training seminar at the beginning of the 2019 school year. At the beginning of the following semester, there will be a 1-hour, in-person reflective session for the teachers to share their experiences.