Saturday, 23 June 2012

Sams Progress – It Ain’t So Awful Sam!

Sam’s teacher has introduced the Emotional Thermometer to the class and the students know now that irrational thinking is hurtful, its makes strong unhealthy emotions and poor behavioural choices. They know its Brain Bully (BB) trying to trick them. BB is saying: ‘I can’t do this! It’s unfair. I’m dumb.’

Teacher: ‘These are not true! Are they children?’
Children: ‘NO THEY’RE NOT!
Teacher: ‘We won’t let Brain Bully win will we?
Children: ‘NO WE WON’T!’

They also know that Brain Friend tells the truth and makes healthy, manageable negative emotions. BF says, ‘this is hard but I can try.’ ‘I’m not dumb if I make a mistake.’ ‘I’m always OK.’

Teacher: ‘These are true! What do you think children?’
Children: Yes they are. We want BF to win! GET LOST BRAIN BULLY!’

This kind of learning is reinforced across all teaching/learning curriculum areas or if you are a parent the same applies at home at every opportunity. The idea is to reinforce the idea that what you think, how you feel and how you act are all related. When our children understand this they will learn to take responsibility for how they feel and behave (young children pick this up very well)
The next item to introduce to children is the idea that when we think something is ‘bad’ and we tell ourselves that it is the worst thing ever we don’t feel so good. We may feel highly anxious or angry or sad (Check the Emotional Thermometer). We may tell ourselves that ‘its so awful that we can’t stand it!’ This is called ‘Icantstandititis!’ a debilitating condition that can be treated by understanding and using the Catastrophe Scale (CS). The CS is a list of possible/actual concerns which are organised according to how ‘bad’ they are. Children will then be able to see at a glance that an itchy nose is not as bad as the earth being blown to bits!

Teacher: ‘I lost my pencil. This is so awful I cant stand it!’
Children: ‘Watch out Brain Bully will make you mad and sad. Don’t let him win!’
Teacher: ‘But I need my pencil. This is terrible!’
Children: ‘Oh oh! Brain Bully is tricking you. This is not a big problem. It isn’t as bad a sore throat. It is a small problem.’
Teacher: ‘You’re right kids I won’t let BB win. Can you help me?’
Children: ‘BF says this is a pain but not a huge problem. Let BF win and get rid of BB!’

Children respond well to this kind of learning and is a preventative mental health measure, teaching them that unhealthy negative emotions are made by irrational thinking (BB). If they know this they can help themselves to regulate how they feel and behave by themselves. This is what Rational Emotive Behaviour Education is all about.
Sam will learn that when she believes small problems are not so bad after all she will be less inclined to anger and will be a happier little person.
Brain Friend and Brain Bully are characters introduced in my program for young learners ‘Have a Go Spaghettio!’


Big ones, little ones,
In between ones too
Problems, problems
Whatever can I do?

I can’t find my hat
Wherever can it be
This is so awful
It’s a catastrophe!

It’s not fair
I'm sick in my tummy
I want my hat
It’s not funny!

My friend is sick
And she is sad
Losing my hat
Isn’t so bad

I can handle this
I can change how I feel
I think ‘this isn’t so awful
It isn’t a big deal’

Big ones, little ones
In between ones too
Problems, problems
I know what I can do!

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