Emotional regulation requires the ability to identify emotions and properly manage them. Children and young adults will need to develop and practice these skills over and over throughout their school-aged years. As such, it’s important that educators prepare the environment to support the development of emotional regulation.
In their book All Learning Is Social And Emotional: Helping Students Develop Essential Skills for the Classroom And Beyond, authors Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, and Dominique Smith identify several areas in which teachers can support students and provide suggestions for how to do so (pp. 46-65)
- Identifying emotions – Use word walls to teach students the language of feelings and emotions.
- Emotional self-perception – Use visuals such as Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions or Kuypers Zones of Regulation to help students recognize their emotional states.
- Impulse control – Help students identify triggers that cause them to act out and create action plans for managing the desire to lash out (i.e. count to 10, take a deep breath, talk it out, escape).
- Delayed gratification – Set classroom goals that result in rewards.
- Stress management – Supports may include positive talk (both from the teacher and from the student), breathing techniques, espousing an open posture, using practice activities before graded activities, and programs that increase student understanding of stress and its impact on academic functioning.
- Coping – Employing healthy distractors such as positive talk, a walk or other physical activity, can help students cope with the stressors in the school setting.
As you prepare for next week, be intentional in planning for student emotions and the supports you build for them. You and your students will be glad you took the time to do so!