Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Building Secure Relationships

Difficulty: 0

Many teachers this year are feeling anxiety about building relationships with new students

in an entirely transformed environment. Adapting your teaching practice to a wide range of

developmental, cultural, and linguistic needs in the midst of all of the changes that COVID-19

has created is a heavy lift. No one set of strategies can meet all of your needs, and

there are no easy answers for the challenges you are facing. Thats why, instead of prescribing

a list of strategies, we want to support you with space to reflect on and address your

unique concerns, while continuing to apply a trauma-sensitive framework. Todays video

will give you some suggestions, but we also hope well spark new ideas, and that rather

than being overwhelmed, youll feel equipped with a framework that you can revisit time

and time again.

Welcome, my name is Avery and Im so glad youve joined me today as we continue our

learning journey.

If youre joining us for the first time, please take a moment before you dive in to

view the brief introductory video and the first three videos of our series on our home

page, which will give you tools for understanding trauma and its impact, and identifying and

addressing stress in yourselves and your students.

Now, lets go over our objectives. In todays video we will

Identify strategies to build healthy, purposeful, and trusting relationships with all students,

with a focus on trauma-informed practices and COVID-19 realities

Develop a trauma-sensitive framework for supporting and managing transitions between learning

models, and Develop a trauma-sensitive framework for de-escalating

students who are stressed.

As a reminder, whenever you see this symbol, this is your invitation to grab your pen and

paper. Throughout this series, if you need extra reflection time, just push pause and

take all the time you need. Lastly, to best engage, we invite you to turn off other distractions

and bring your full attention to the learning.

Lets get started!

Lets warm up with some reflection. Think back to school in the spring and the transition

to virtual instruction; then answer the following questions:

What helped me feel closest to my students? What was hardest for me about connecting with

my students virtually?

Take all the time you need to reflect. Simply pause and restart the video when you are ready.

Now that youve spent a little time reflecting on your own experience, lets meet Mr. Baldwin.

Mr. Baldwin is a veteran high school physics teacher from Houston. Mr. Badlwin is an extrovert,

and his students know him for his ability to play six different instruments. He is teaching

remotely this year, and despite challenges, has continued to build strong relationships

with students. To help stay consistent with this, he has developed a personal reflection

that he does at the end of each dayalmost like a ritual.

Today, youre going to hear from Mr. Baldwin as we walk you through his reflective practice,

which includes questions that are important to Mr. Baldwins particular experience as

an educator. Some of these questions may resonate with you, and others may not, but the important

thing to remember is that Mr. Baldwins reflection is focused on relationship-building.

As you watch, have a pen and paper handy, and answer Mr. Baldwins questions but with

your own teaching practice in mind. Keep in mind throughout this video that you will need

to map out a strategy and schedule time for implementing your relationship-driven approach

to teaching, which may include reflective questions unique to your life as a teacher.

You are likely already doing this; but as you listen and watch, take note of what kind

of time you need to set aside to translate these strategies into your teaching practice.

We know that you have a huge job to do as an educator, so we encourage you to take a

flexible and personalized approach to developing your relationship-building practices.

First, Mr. Baldwin asks himself, "Did my students and I begin and end the day together?"

When it comes to building relationships, beginnings and ends are so important! Intentionally starting

and closing the class or school day can help your students feel connected with you and

one another. Think about how you can meaningfully book end each day or class with something

relational. For example, you could provide texts, polls, written reflections or verbal

check-ins that allow students to share how they are doing. Another idea: send a warm

video message each morning to the group that communicates Im so glad were together

today. Ill be here for you if you need me. Or, consider reading stories or inspirational

articles out loud to your students, listening to an uplifting song, or watching a cool video

together. Simple check-out methods like having students share an emotion in the video

chat or leaving students with a joke of the day will, over time, build a sense

of connection.

This morning, I did my usual thing playing my welcome song on the ukulele. A lot of kids

laughed and smiled. I can tell they look forward to it and expect it. It slipped my mind yesterday,

but today I remembered to make the time for a check out reflection at the end of

the day. It was so great to hear more about my students feelings and needs and such

a good reminder of all thats going on in their lives.

Then, Mr. Baldwin asks himself, "How did my one-on-one connections go today?"

For optimal learning and development, every student needs at least one secure relationshipand

hopefully more than one. Research has demonstrated that consistent one-on-one contact with an

educator can significantly impact a students trajectory, especially for students who are

struggling with academic or mental health concerns. And because all students are currently

navigating a variety of challenges, even light daily contact can fortify relationships and

create a safety net for students.

To help make one-on-one connection feel more manageable, consider taking a tiered approach

to address diverse needs.

Your promotion or Tier 1 approach is what youll use with all students. Here are some

examples of Tier 1 relationship strategies: schedule regular messaging through free apps

like Remind or consider hosting daily office hours to give students multiple points

of access to you. This approach is a worthwhile investment of time, but also may be overwhelming.

Set aside some time each day for outreach, and use that time to do what you canthis

will be enough to start building the foundation for rich relationships.

I sent out my Monday morning messages to my students. Today I just said, Mr. Baldwin

here. How are you feeling about the week? I noticed, turned-in assignments are lower

this week and I wanted to do a temperature check. Feeling overwhelmed, content not clear?

Your feedback helps me help you. I am also doing get-to-know-you meetings with a different

student each day. I dont have time for more than 1-2 daily, but I can see that its

helping me feel more connected. I had a blast playing music with Samad during our one-on-one

yesterday and want to really affirm his talent.

You may notice that some students need more support, here is where your Tier 2, or prevention,

strategies come in. With these students, you notice some indicators of stress that fall

into the red or blue zonea concept we explored in our video on understanding

students experiences. As a result, they may need a more targeted approach for relationship-building.

Consider setting up additional short daily meetings or other interactions to both build

a relationship and to collaborate as you build a plan to address specific needs. For example,

you might plan a daily 5 minute check-in to ask about any needs with a plan to connect

your student to other resources such as a school counselor when needed.

After a temperature check last week, I decided to connect with Carissa to see how

she is. She let me know shes struggling and I bumped up my frequency of contact. After

this, I noticed her work started coming in and she seems more engaged.

Finally, the top of the pyramid focuses on intervention, or Tier 3 supports. For students

who are unresponsive or not attending class, consider getting more district or network

support in addition to setting up home visits according to the Center for Disease Control

and your districts safety guidelines. When home visits are not possible, consider sending

a card through the mail, dropping off a care package, or other creative ways of connecting.

You can also consult TEAs guide for engaging highly mobile and at-risk students for more


I also scheduled a socially distanced home visit with Kelly this week. Ms. Brown is going

to join me. We need to see whats going on with her. I can feel her slipping away

a little.

Next Mr. Baldwin asks himself, "Did I communicate empathy?"

As educators who care about our students, it is easy to feel like you need to fix all

of their problems or cheer them up when they are sad. But research shows that people feel

more seen and supported when their experiences or feelings are simply reflected, or mirrored,

back. So, when a student comes to you and starts talking about an argument with a friend,

responding with empathy might sound like It seems like youre feeling overwhelmed

or Yeah, you feel misunderstood, and thats frustrating.

I caught myself trying to put a silver lining on a concern one of my students is

facing right now. She was sad and I wanted to cheer her up, so I found myself pointing

out all the positives in her life right now. She seemed to clam up, and get quieter when

I did this, which helped me quickly catch myself and switch into using empathy to just

reflect back my understanding of what shes going through rather than having to immediately

fix the situation. I am finding that one-on-one meetings are essential spaces for me just

to show up, listen, and be that safe person for students. I think Ill always struggle

with a tendency to want to fix problems, but I also notice that its less pressure

for me and more soothing for students if I am mirroring them when they are sharing.

Then, Mr. Baldwin asks, "Did I have the opportunity to have fun with my students?"

Bringing fun or play to class will help guide many students into a calm, relaxed state.

For younger students, incorporating games, puppets, simple jokes, and pretend play or

skits into remote or in-person class will set the stage for strong relationships. For

older students, incorporating humor, games, and interactive online tools such as polls

and synchronous meetups will create space for you to laugh and play with students. This

kind of fun and play is foundational to building strong bonds.

I NAILED this today. I set up a lab where students created songs using glasses of water

and different frequencies. Playing our songs together on video was so cool, and the kids

were into it. Its nice to see all the smiles after having a lot of flat days lately. Ive

also been using polls to ask and answer goofy questions. My students are hilarious.

Next, Mr. Baldwin asks, "Did I show my students who I am?"

Bringing your personality, gifts, passion, and life to class helps students feel connected

to the genuine you. For example, if you are a dancer, host a virtual party with your students;

if you have pets, bring them to class! Consider creating an all about me video for your

students to watch that includes a short biography with information about what makes you you.

I feel like I really showed up as me today. I brought my usual over-the-top energy in

class, but I was also vulnerable when I shared that I missed being together in our in-person

lab. Theres definitely a part of me thats just sad about some of these changes. I want

students to know that its okay and safe to be open and honest about everything happening

in the world.

Finally, Mr. Baldwin asks, How am I doing?

As we learned in our video about educator resilience, caring for yourself will help

you connect well with others. When you yourself are in the green zone, its easier

to use warmth, bright eyes, playfulness, and other nonverbals to signal safety to students.

I am feeling drained at the end of today. My energy output was high, on top of all the

things going on in my life. I think I just need to review my lessons for tomorrow and

create the welcome video for the class, then turn my laptop off, throw on some music, and

cook a delicious dinner so that I can refuel before tomorrow.

What does this exercise spark for you?

Think about which reflective questions, whether Mr. Baldwins or your own, will help you

to be the kind of educator you aspire to be. Then, spend time mapping out which strategies

you would like to try to implement. Take all the time you need. Simply pause and restart

the video when you are ready.

Welcome back. Before we transition to our next chapter, lets review what weve

learned here. In this chapter we learned about: reflective practices for relationship building,

and identified relationship strategies that can

be adapted across remote and in-person teaching environments.

By now, we know that youve likely started back to school, and may be facing ongoing

changes in your learning modelperhaps pivoting from remote to in-person or hybrid models

throughout this school year.

Lets begin with a quick reflection on what this experience might be like for your students.

What challenges do you anticipate for students when transitioning between learning environments?

What might be some of your students needs and feelings, as these transitions take place?

Take all the time you need. Simply push pause and restart the video when you are ready.

As we consider the challenges of transitions, lets bring back Mr. Baldwin. Two months

into the year, his school transitioned from fully remote to a hybrid learning model. This,

of course, introduced new procedures and routines. In order to address these routines, Mr. Baldwin

added one more bonus question to his daily reflection.

He asked, As transitions are taking place, am I translating relationship practices, routines,

and structures from one learning environment to another?

Educators are often experts in routine and structure and understand that consistency

builds trust between teachers and students. But in our current educational environment,

this practice requires even more intentionality. As an educator, you will have to not only

set expectations for what students can expect throughout the year, but also creatively translate

these routines into the remote classroomand perhaps, back again! This process shows students

that their teacher has prepared for the unexpected while also communicating, we will get through

this together." Consider the following strategies for establishing structure during transitions:

Early on, discuss openly the possibility of transitions during the school year, setting

clear expectations for how transitions will be handled.

Adapt and maintain as many rituals and routines as possible across learning delivery models.

For example, if you provide a morning meeting remotely, keep it in place when you move to

in-person. If you check in with certain students daily, continue to do so throughout transitions.

Continue to bookend your day or classes with connection. For example, begin with reflection

about the recent changes and end with a temperature check poll.

Provide infographics or visuals for each week. Use free websites such as Canva to provide

visual resources about schedule or routine changes. Post these on landing pages or hand

out hard copies when in person. Be clear about what is happening, in advance

if possible. For example, when possible, if youre transitioning to remote learning,

make time to share honestly and openly about the change and hear student reactions and

feelings. For example, hold a meeting in class where you ask students how they are feeling

about changes. As always, hold space and provide empathy for student experiences.

Provide choices when possible. For example, use polls to get student opinion on decisions

where you have flexibility. Or, give students a choice between two projects or classroom

seating arrangements.

When we found out we were transitioning to a hybrid model, Im so glad I took the

time to process change with my classes. I asked them, How are you feeling about the

changes? and Anything I can do to make the transition smoother? This led to a

lot of rich discussion and seemed to soothe some of my students. I did continue with my

morning music videos even in person because its been such a cool way to interact, and

I kept as many of our routines in placedown to how I grade, how I provide feedback, and

our usual class songs.

When encountering big changes, Mr. Baldwin did his best to remain consistent, connected,

clear, and structured. This helped his students to trust him as a kind and strong leader!

Lets review what weve learned. In this chapter we:

learned a reflective practice to help you and your students manage transitions, and

we identified strategies for maintaining structure

during transitions.

Next, well explore strategies for calming students who are stressed.

So far, weve talked about ways to build strong relationships and lead students through

transitions. In this chapter, well explore more about what we can do when a student becomes

stressed or dysregulated. Because students will struggle to learn whenever they are activated,

focusing on regulation first is essential. Lets begin by reflecting on school closures

that happened in the spring with the following questions:

When was it most difficult for me to help a stressed student?

When was it easiest?

Take all the time you need answering these questions. Simply pause and restart the video

when you are ready.

Welcome back. Lets jump in with a quick lesson from developmental psychology. Over

the course of our development, humans go on a journey from being almost completely regulated

by others, as is the case with a hungry, crying infant who needs the constant care of an adult,

to being co-regulated, where we get help from another as we attempt to regulate ourselves,

to becoming primarily self-regulated.

Developmental challenges or toxic stress can create extra challenges in this journey to

developing self-regulation. And, there are times when all of us need co-regulation, even

after weve developed self-regulation skills, for instance, during a pandemic. As a result,

some students are going to need co-regulation. Building strong relationships with students

when they are not stressed will build trust so that you can be that source of co-regulation

when they most need it.

First things first: building a positive classroom climate requires collaboration on how students

would like to practice regulation. Collaborate with students prior to dysregulationwhich

is when students dont feel calm, safe, and socialby creating a plan with strategies

that students can use. For younger students, create visuals or infographics with regulation

options. For older students, create a written plan that answers the question: When Im

stressed, what helps me regulate? You can create these plans as a group while also customizing

plans for individuals who need more support with regulation. You can also use stress inventories

with all of your students to get a clearer picture of where students are.

So, once youve done this pre-work of getting to know how students would like to regulate

and you notice that a student seems to need help regulating, what next?

Lets meet one of Mr. Baldwins students, 15-year-old Ella. Mr. Baldwin has noticed

that Ella has been zoned out, with a glazed stare and a frown, for most of his virtual

class. Mr. Bs antenna goes up. He thinks, Something seems off; maybe shes in the

blue zone.

Once Mr. Baldwin has noticed Ellas state of dysregulation, what kinds of strategies

may help students like Ella regulate? Lets look at a list of 9 strategies that you can

choose from when helping any student to regulate.

Remember our first strategy, which is to plan for stress.

Strategy #2 is to try to Attune to your student. Spend some time attuning to, or trying to

tune into verbal and nonverbal signals from your student. If all behavior is a form of

communication, then: what is your students behavior telling you about his or her needs?

The message might be something like: I am feeling low and slow, and I need help getting

going today.or I need help and space to calm down. I feel overwhelmed.

Strategy #3 is to directly ask about needs. Ask students, Hey I noticed you might need

help. What do you need right now? Remember, though, if a student is deeply dysregulated,

they may not be able to articulate or process verbal interactions. In this case, keep words

at a minimum. Strategy #4 is One-on-one attention or play.

Attention and play are both energizing and calming. Supervision from a caring adult is

often the best answer for the not-yet-regulated brain! This can be as simple as providing

warm eye contact and a soothing voice, or in the remote classroom may also include setting

up small groups to play games, color, or just talk.

Strategy #5 is movement. Facilitating movement is another way to co-regulate. In the remote

classroom, walking and talking with a student over the phone, dancing, doing yoga,

or playing silly movement-based games can be good co-regulation strategies.

Strategy #6 is rest. Rest can help restore regulation. Examples of this in the remote

classroom include taking time for guided breathwork or meditation, listening to music, or taking

breaks for students to close eyes or even nap. If these kinds of breaks arent possible

due to a students home environment, consider bringing in other support such as a counselor

to help meet specific student needs. Strategy #7 is mirroring. Mirroring is an

empathy practice in which you simply notice and verbally reflect back what you see or

hear a student feeling or needing. Mirroring does not involve analyzing or solving problemsinstead,

focus only on what the student is telling you both verbally and nonverbally, and then

reflect those messages back with a simple statement. The following phrases are examples

of mirroring: I hear that youre feeling sad.

It sounds like you miss your friends. It seems like you need more talk time.

Strategy #8 is choices. Providing choices and flexibility communicates safety. When

a student is exhibiting stress behavior, provide two healthy choices to help make the situation

feel more manageable. For example, Would you like to take a breathing break or close

your eyes here with me? You can also help them feel more safe by providing flexibility.

For example, if a student is dysregulated about academic work, explore together how

an assignment can be adapted to meet their needs.

Finally, strategy #9 is to use sensory-based and creative activities to help regulate.

This includes activities such as wall push-ups, playing with clay, coloring, painting, journaling,

or listening to music.

As a reminder, ask for support from your district or networks mental health team when you

notice a student who is stuck in chronic stress patterns and cannot seem to recover from stress

or moves from 0 to 100 quickly and/or frequently. Getting help from an interdisciplinary

team will provide students with the support they need, as well as the support you need,

to focus on teaching and relationships.

Each of these strategies require adaptation to different settings and different developmental

ages, and can be used not just as one-on-one strategies but also in group and peer formats.

Well talk more about whole classroom approaches in our next video.

As you get started applying these ideas, get creative and involve students when possible.

Theres no such thing as doing this perfectly or getting it right, but combining warmth,

acceptance, and collaboration will communicate to students that you are a reliable source

of care, and research demonstrates that educators often have lifelong impacts on students when

they simply show up again and again for their students. In the words of Megan Marcus, a

leader in the field of educator well-being, "Effective teaching is less about calculus

or chemistry than it is about connection."

Now, lets apply these strategies to Mr. Baldwin and Ella. Using our list of 9 strategies,

how would you support Ella? Which strategies would you use, and which strategies would

you add? Take all the time you need answering these questions. Simply pause and restart

the video when you are ready.

Great work! By now, hopefully you are feeling much more equipped with a growing toolkit

to help students return to regulation. But how will you know you are successful when

implementing these strategies?

Lets revisit Ella for some clues. When Mr. Baldwin was able to dig deeper with her

in a breakout room during break, he found out that she hadnt slept well in weeks

and was struggling with loneliness because she hadnt seen her friends in person for

a few months. Mr. Baldwin mirrored Ellas experience with empathic statements like Wow...sounds

like youve had a really hard time and I can see that youre sad. This helped

Ella immediately feel more regulated, because she felt less alone. Mr. Baldwins mirroring

responses helped her feel like her experiences were normal, valid, and understandableand

this made her feel seen, safe, and soothed.

Then, Mr. Baldwin and Ella took a few minutes to play a funny online game that Mr. Baldwin

had already introduced to his class. By the end of their check-in, Ella was a little more

engaged and even had a plan to turn off her phone before 10:30 to improve sleep. Most

importantly, though, she had developed a stronger connection with Mr. Baldwina connection

that Ella could depend on throughout the year.

The next week, Mr. Baldwin was concerned about Sam. Sam showed up late to class and seemed

agitated. During small group time, Sam became increasingly frustrated and angry and began

to shout through the screen. Mr. Baldwin quickly responded with two choices from the classs

regulation list. Using a calm, firm voice to guide Sam, he verbally gave Sam two choices.

Knowing that Sam had previously chosen music as a calming activity, Mr. Baldwin said, You

can listen to music while you complete this activity or we can finish it together. Which

do you choose? He also offered for Sam to join him in office hours after class to

share more about what is going on in Sams life. Although Sam was resistant at first,

Mr. Baldwin was able to stay calm rather than becoming reactive to Sams stress behavior.

Mr. Baldwin replaced reactivity with co-regulation. This isnt always easy, and requires Mr.

Baldwin to be reflective and to use his own resources and relationships to stay regulated


When we successfully self-regulate and then co-regulate a dysregulated student, we will

see two outcomes: A more regulated student AND a more connected student.

Take some time to create a list of strategies that you want to implement in your remote

or in-person classroom. Before you jump into that, lets acknowledge that weve presented

a lot of strategies in this videoit would be impossible to use them all. You are the

expert on your teaching, so feel free to pick and choose, and to use what serves you best.

The regulating strategies we reviewed today plus your connection with students are key

to helping students develop self-regulation and build resilience.

Lets review. In this chapter we Defined the concept of co-regulation,

We learned how to develop plans to prevent dysregulation, and

We learned strategies for regulating stressed students.

As we move to close out, lets review key concepts from this video.

We explored the power of self-reflection to create and maintain a relationship-driven

teaching practice. We learned that play, authenticity, and empathy

can enhance teacher-student relationships. We brainstormed relationship-building and

regulation strategies to use in your class. Lastly, we learned that co-regulation with

an educator is one important pathway to developing student self-regulation.

Our next video will give you the opportunity to reflect on how to continue building strong

classroom cultures.

To close out, your action step is simple:

Send a text to a fellow educator about the strategies you selected today. This could

be something like: Hi Clara, working through a video series about stressIm thinking

about using guided breathing in my classroom this yearhave you ever tried?

Finally, before you leave us, go ahead and complete this check-for-understanding to solidify

your learning today! Well see you next time!

The Description of Building Secure Relationships