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You ’ re the boss of you!. Helping students use self-talk to become more responsible for their own behaviours Larry Antrim Coordinator for Counselling and Social Responsibility District #38, Richmond Making Connections 2012. the Area Counsellor Team. ACT was formed in spring of 2002

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You ’ re the boss of you!


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    1. You’re the boss of you! Helping students use self-talk to become more responsible for their own behaviours Larry Antrim Coordinator for Counselling and Social Responsibility District #38, Richmond Making Connections 2012

    2. the Area Counsellor Team • ACT was formed in spring of 2002 • Mandate was to provide proactive support to schools • Ministry of Education’s Social Responsibility Performance Standards • Traffic Light metaphor for behaviour • Positive Behaviour Support

    3. Area Counsellor Team Lessons • The Traffic Light becomes part of a school’s common language to describe any student behavour • Using the metaphor of the Traffic Light, students come to recognize the 4 Levels of the Performance Standards as they pertain to their own behaviour

    4. Area Counsellor Team Lessons • As a Universal or Tier 1 Intervention, Level 3/Green behaviour becomes a School-Wide Expectation • “Show me Green listening behaviour” • “Walk down the hall at Level 3” • “Meeting Expectations would be to put that in the garbage”

    5. Area Counsellor Team Lessons • This school has used a variation on the Matrix • Rather than create an acronym, they used the Traffic Light’s Green Light as their value statement • Selecting specific locations, they’ve highlighted a number of school-wide expectations for those areas

    6. Area Counsellor Team Lessons • Level 2/Yellow Behaviour is normal. We all do it: • Letting our attention wander • Whispering to the person beside us • Checking our email when we pretend we’re taking notes • Making a funny remake

    7. Area Counsellor Team Lessons • It is our job to move from Level 2 back to Level 3 (from Yellow to Green) • Often, a gentle prompt is all that is needed to accomplish this is • For others, it may need to take the form of a Tier 2 or Targeted Intervention

    8. Area Counsellor Team Lessons • If the change from Level 2 to Level 3 doesn’t occur, for some students it’s because the behaviour is purposeful • Level 1/Red Behaviour • In these cases, and for those who simply cannot control their impulses, an Individual Intervention needs to be put in place (Tier 3)

    9. Area Counsellor Team Lessons • Instructional Corrections provide an opportunity for students to develop self awareness when asked: • “What Colour (Level) do you think that (behaviour) is?” followed by… • “How could you make it Green (Level 3)?”

    10. Area Counsellor Team Lessons • This is where self awareness can start to be developed • “What Level do you think that (behaviour) is?” • Students begin to be able to assess their own behaviour • This often includes some Self Talk

    11. Area Counsellor Team Lessons • Develop a staff commitment to interacting with any student in any setting • Reinforce positive behaviours • “He notices when I’m doing the right thing.”

    12. Area Counsellor Team Lessons • Use Instructional Corrections when students aren’t meeting expectations • Either it’s a chance to teach the correct behaviour or trigger some self talk • “Uh oh, here he comes. I know he’s going to ask me what I should be doing right now.”

    13. Peaceful Problem Solving is a major component of the ACT Lessons

    14. Students develop the skills and resiliency necessary to deal with someone who is not being ‘socially responsible’

    15. Area Counsellor Team Lessons • An “Ah-ahh” moment was when it became clear that Self Talk was the starting point for each of the Problem Solving Skills we taught • How can a student calm down if she cannot self regulate? • How can she self regulate if she doesn’t use self talk?

    16. Area Counsellor Team Lessons • During staff Pro-D, when these concepts are presented, there is always a similar reaction: • “I need to know how to do this in my own life.” • We always train the staff how to use these skills themselves in order to: • Learn that they aren’t as easy as they first appear • To be able to more effectively teach them

    17. Self Talk and Anger • First area of focus when teaching Problem Solving Skills - Anger • Anger is a secondary emotion • It is also normal and natural to get angry • The problem is when Angry Feelings turn into Angry Behaviour • Anger Mountain is the metaphor used

    18. Self Talk and Angera personal example • I live in North Delta • I commute over the Alex Fraser Bridge • Significant traffic every morning down Nordel Way onto the bridge • Two lanes onto the bridge, inside lane continues on to River Road • Buses and Van Pool vehicles may take inside lane down and turn into bridge traffic using dedicated turn-off at bottom of hill

    19. THE AROUSAL CYCLE Anger Mountain I’m driving down Nordell Way ANGRY BEHAVIOUR I roll down my window and give him the finger ANGER TRIGGERS X“Oh, now you’ll politely let me merge” INTENSITY It takes me some time to calm down X“I guess the rules don’t apply to him” X“What a jerk!” X Someone cuts in from the Bus Lane TIME

    20. I Can’t Control My Emotions… can I ? • Traditionally, we’ve believed that our emotions occur all on their own, depending on the events that occur • We don’t decide to be angry, it just happens as a result of circumstances • It brings out the caveman in some people

    21. I Can’t Control My Emotions… can I ? • The Limbic System controls emotions • The Amygdala filters incoming information to our conscious brain in the Prefrontal Cortex • However, when stressed, frightened or angry incoming information is blocked, resulting in the Fight, Flight or Freeze response

    22. I Can’t Control My Emotions… can I ? • Look at how many triggers happened to me on my drive down Nordel Way • Four triggers in rapid sequence • No wonder I got mad • It’s not my fault

    23. THE AROUSAL CYCLE How was I feeling? I’m driving down Nordell Way ANGRY BEHAVIOUR Of course I reacted, HE MADE ME MAD! ANGER TRIGGERS X I’m still upset about it when I get to work INTENSITY X Each of these Anger Triggers makes me more and more mad X X I’m fairly calm TIME

    24. I Can’t Control My Emotions… can I ? Let’s review Trigger 1: He cut in through the bus lane Trigger 2: He said, “Yes, I’m a jerk” Trigger 3: He said, “The rules don’t apply to me” Trigger 4: He said, “Let me wave you in like I did nothing wrong”

    25. THE AROUSAL CYCLE ME X Behaviour HE MADE ME MAD! My My Emotion My Thoughts X INTENSITY X Event X X TIME

    26. How can I control an automatic reflexive response? • We’ve all had arguments • It usually starts off calmly • Gradually it reaches a point where we recognize that we are getting upset • Sometimes we get to a point where we just don’t care any more and let loose • Later, we may say, “I don’t know why I said/did that.” • Let’s call it temporary insanity

    27. THE AROUSAL CYCLE What if the (almost) exact thing happened?…. I notice it is not some man, it’s the Superintendent, Monica Pamer I’m driving down Nordell Way I calm down right away ANGER TRIGGERS X“Oh, now you’ll politely let me merge” INTENSITY X“I guess the rules don’t apply to you” X“What a jerk!” X Someone cuts in from the Bus Lane TIME

    28. Positive Self Talk • This time the Angry BEHAVIOUR did not happen • The Intensity of my EMOTION did not continue to escalate • My THINKING changed as I used Positive Self Talk instead

    29. THE AROUSAL CYCLE What was I thinking this time? I’ll just wave a, “Thank you,” and look straight ahead Wait a minute, I know that person. She’s my boss! I’m driving down Nordell Way The INTENSITY of my Emotion drops rapidly SAMEANGER TRIGGERS X INTENSITY X I think about how stupid I almost was the rest of the drive to work I’m still getting worked up as the events unfold X X TIME

    30. THE AROUSAL CYCLE What most people are able to do I’m driving down Nordell Way “Uh, oh. I’m getting mad” ANGER TRIGGERS INTENSITY “I need to calm down” X X X “I can handle this” X“What a jerk!” X “It’s no big deal” X Someone cuts in from the Bus Lane TIME

    31. Self Talk • We can speak at approx 125 words per minute • We can think at approx 450 words per minute • The statements we make to ourselves come BEFORE what we FEEL • Self Talk occurs so rapidly that it can lead us to a feeling/emotion before we know it - Stacey Holloway “Managing Difficult People and Situations”

    32. Helpful Thoughts/Positive Self Talk • Students need to learn what their body cues are that tell them they are starting to get upset • Then they need to learn to replace Unhelpful Thoughts or Negative Self Talk with Positive Self Talk

    33. Self Talk in Anger Management • Students are taught that it is absolutely their responsibility to catch themselves before they get too far up Anger Mountain • Nobody controls my thinking, and therefore what I decide to do • I choose to get angry • “I’m the boss of me”

    34. Self Talk in Anger Management • A Tier II intervention for some kids will include exploring what their body cues are: • clenching your jaw • making a fist • frowning • getting fidgety • crossing your arms • Recognizing what your cues are allows you to change your thinking

    35. Self Talk in Anger Management • We need to remember that all behaviour is purposeful and there can be a huge payoff for getting angry • Finding replacement behaviours is important • Creating the awareness that they are in control of their anger is equally important

    36. Self Talk in Anger Management • Not everyone comes to school at the base of Anger Mountain • When a student arrives already “primed” it can appear that the anger came out of nowhere • An awareness of one’s own anger cues and self talk is even more important in this case

    37. Helpful Thoughts/Positive Self Talk • Once a student has learned to keep from thinking himself up Anger Mountain (remember, nobody can make you mad) … • THEN he can use a calming strategy such as one of these

    38. The rest of the Problem Solving Strategies are all predicated on being able to “Be The Boss of You” by using Positive Self Talk

    39. Taking Turns • Conflicts over not enough stuff, time or attention can degenerate to, “I don’t care what you want, I want what I want!” • Using Self Talk allows a student to avoid a conflict by stopping to think of the other person as well

    40. Taking TurnsWhat’s the problem from the other’s point of view? • If we just think of ourselves, there is really only one solution … the one we want • Not getting what we want can lead to frustration and … well, you know • Thinking of both points of view forces us to use our self talk and gives us a better chance to be successful

    41. Taking TurnsWhat is the common problem we both share? • Most of the time the problem is described from only the POV of the reporter • “He took the ball” • “She grabbed the book” • When the problem is broken down, it is usually something like, they both wanted the same item • A person can’t come up with this if angry

    42. Taking TurnsWhat are the common solutions? • Almost every problem can be resolved by using one of the following: • Take Turns • Do It Together • Choose Something Else • Again, a person can’t come up with these if he is angry • Self Talk gives a person a chance to be successful

    43. Taking Turns • Students for whom this type of conflict is chronic need a more targeted intervention • Looking at a conflict from the other’s point of view is an important step in developing empathy • It needs practice

    44. Taking Turns • Helping these students to learn different ways to take turns is one part of the intervention: • pick a number • rock/paper/scissors • day of the week • Kids who have a Green Zone approach will need coaching as well, those who need a Tier II strategy can be taxing

    45. “I’m Going To Bug You” game • Sometimes when someone bothers me it’s like a game to see if I’ll get upset • Every time I react, it’s like the other person scores a point • It’s a game that is unlikely that I will win

    46. “I’m Going To Bug You” game • The game is like tennis, where the ball is the insult or teasing that the other person throws at me • I can try to throw it back but he’s probably better at it than I am • The harder I try, and the less successful I am, the more upset I get

    47. “I’m Going To Bug You” game • Who says I have to play? • How much fun would a tennis game be if the other person never had the ball returned to him? • However, Ignoring doesn’t mean doing nothing • Our brains can’t not pay attention to him

    48. “I’m Going To Bug You” game • We have to give our brains something to do • What would that be? • Self Talk: • “He’s just trying to bug me” • “He wants me to get upset” • “I don’t have to play that game” • “I’m the boss of me”