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 project will show teachers how to help young students control their behavioral outbursts, get along with their classmates, and concentrate on their studies.
Building Your Own Bridge seminar will initially focus on working with K-3 teachers in Hall County GA elementary schools. These teachers are primarily white women, aged 22~45 years old. On average, they have taught the public school system for 10~15 years. There are some male teachers, as well as Latino & African-Americans.
These teachers work with young students that come from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. The students are predominantly from Latino families that have migrated to the area to work in chicken processing plants. There are also white and African-American students, but there is a significant gap between the wealthy and underprivileged.
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.
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 has 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 strongly encouraged)
- K~3rdgrade 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 learners will be able to help their young students cope with stress, manage relationships with classmates, and resolve conflicts, thereby creating a more positive learning environment in their classrooms.
- The learners will receive tools and knowledge to help them ensure a safe learning environment for their students, help their students build relationships and connectedness with classmates, and knowledge about how to support and teach emotional self-regulation.
- The learners will be held accountable to themselves and will measure their success based on a self-evaluation of their classroom environment. They will find support through Center Point staff, as well as other teachers that go through the training.
- Some learners may have misconceptions based on their prior teaching experience. If a teacher has extensive experience in the classroom, they may think they already know the best tools to help their students.
- The first training seminar will be scheduled in the weeks leading up to the beginning of the school year. It will be offered during a teacher’s workday and during their regular working hours.
- The lighting will vary, as the training seminar room will be subject to change. Generally, speaking, the classroom will be lit by overhead fluorescent bulbs, as well as windows with blinds that can opened or close.
- Noise will vary, as the training seminar room will be subject to change.
- The temperature may vary, but most classrooms Hall County Schools have their own thermostat. Ideally, the temperature will be set at 68 degrees. This will ensure the room is not too warm so as to induce naps, but not too chilly to be uncomfortable.
- Regular sized chairs will need to be brought into the K~3 classroom to accommodate adult learners. The chairs should be mobile, so pairs and group activities can be accommodated.
- No accommodations will be necessary. The training seminar will be held at the teachers’ regular school of employment.
- Equipment to be used:
- Whiteboard w/ colored dry erase markers
- Screen & projector for PPT
- Butcher paper w/ permanent colored markers
- Photocopied handouts
- Blank paper for note taking
- No transportation will be necessary. The training seminar will be held at the teachers’ regular school of employment.
- The learners will have access to the following technologies:
- Personal smartphones
- Personal laptops
- The skills and tools covered in the Building Your Own Bridge seminar will be transferable into personal relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. These skills can be used every day while interacting with others, or while trying to self-regulate one’s own emotions & feelings.
- There will be immediate opportunities to use the tools & skills covered in the Building Your Own Bridge seminar. These tools can be used every day inside the teachers’ classroom with students, as well as at home with family, or in public with friends.
- Center Point staff will be available year-round to provide support to the teachers who attend the Building Your Own Bridge seminar. Staff members will occasionally check-in and offer further support if needed.
Instructional Impact Based Upon Learner Characteristics
Application of Learning Theory
The Building Your Own Bridge training seminar will cater to various learning styles centered on the theory of multiple intelligences.
- Intrapersonal: trainees will have time to reflect individually on the seminars learning
- Spatial: groups of trainees will create & design posters on butcher paper to capture and summarize their ideas
- Musical: music will occasionally play in the background during group & individual work
- Logical-mathematical: trainees will occasionally hypothesize various classroom scenarios
- Interpersonal: trainees will occasionally form pairs and groups to discuss ideas
- Bodily-kinesthetic: trainees will occasionally be asked to stand and move around the classroom
- Linguistic: trainees will be asked to report their ideas to the rest of the class and occasionally write their ideas & learning down
The Building Your Own Bridge training seminar will also draw from the experiential learning cycle.
- Trainees will have a concrete experience pertaining to the learning objectives
- Trainees will have time to reflect on the concrete experience
- Trainees will draw conclusions from their reflective observation
- Trainees will try out their conclusions in pairs or small groups
Application of Motivational Theories
The theory of Andragogy will be used to motivate the K-3 teachers that attend the initial 3-hour training session. The seminar will largely be used to provide the teachers with relevant tools they can use in their classrooms to immediately help students that show signs of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Because the first training will be voluntary, it will naturally draw on the attendee’s readiness to learn.
- Teachers will have the opportunity to share their experiences working with students that need self-regulation techniques
- Teachers will form groups to brainstorm possible solutions to each other’s problems
- Groups will role-play scenarios
Impact of a Diverse Audience on Instruction
There will be very little cultural and social diversity among the K-3 teachers that attend the first 3-hour training seminar. However, it must be kept in mind that the training should accessible to all, regardless of physical or technical capabilities.
For this reason, most of the seminar’s instruction will be done in a “low tech” way. There will be a white board, an overhead projector, and butcher paper.
Goal and Task Analysis
- How to name one’s emotions
- How to be able to find solutions
- How to empathize with others
- How to be responsible for one’s own actions
- How to clearly communicate feelings
- How to send messages
- How to use “I” language
- How to actively listen
- How to summarize after listening
- How to validate the speaker’s feelings
- How to read other’s body language
- How to be aware of one’s own body language
To help Hall Country elementary school teachers make a more positive classroom environment by helping their students cope with stress, manage relationships with classmates, and resolve conflicts.
Task Analysis Method
This is instruction is based on a topic analysis.
The task analysis was done by I interviewing David Smith, the executive director of Center Point in Gainesville GA. He spoke about the challenges he hears from teachers working in elementary schools these days, and he’s very interested in helping them.
David spoke about the various skills and techniques teachers need to pass onto their students to help the students cope with stress, manage relationships with classmates, and resolve a conflict.
David named several concepts that were organized into categories. For example, David said, ”Students need to know how to identify their emotions and empathize with other students.” Those two concepts were put into the category of Reflection because the students will need to do some internal excavations to do those tasks.
There is also a heavy need for interpersonal skills. The training will focus on student behaviors, body language, and listening skills.
Terminal Objectives & Enabling Objectives
Teachers will use reflective techniques to correctly identify emotions in themselves and others – (Affective Domain)
- Be able to write a reflective paragraph that states one’s emotions
- Be able to use “I” language that expresses feelings and emotions
- Be able to use an emotion chart to identify (point to) emotions in oneself and others
- Be able to rank the intensity of feelings & emotions on a scale of 1~10
Teachers will give short presentations to clearly model verbal skills with their students – (Cognitive Domain)
- Be able to recite a short presentation using “I” language that identifies one’s feelings and emotions
- After reading a short passage, be able to present a summary of your findings to a small group
Teachers will use various listening techniques to demonstrate the accuracy of their listening skills – (Cognitive Domain)
- After listening to a partner tell a short story, be able to recite back to the speaker the main ideas that were communicated
- While listening to a partner tell a short story, be able to write keywords or phrases that capture the story’s main idea
- After listening to a partner tell a short story, be able to recite a short summary of the story
Teachers will identify the meaning of various types of body language – (Affective & Cognitive Domains)
- Be able to identify body language meaning
- Given a handout depicting various facial expressions and emotions, be able to match the expression to a corresponding emotion