Sometimes we can get so focused on helping children become more resilient and capable in their life that we forget that by helping children we can help others around them. James Ryan found this out recently with one the kids that he taught the Mind in a Bottle techniques to.
For those who are not familiar with Mind in a Bottle (also called Mind Jar) it uses a bottle or jar filled with water, glue (to make the water thicker) and glitter. If you shake the bottle the water looks like it is completely filled with the glitter floating around. The glitter represents our thoughts when we are agitated, anxious or angry. However if you we put the bottle down, wait and watch, then the glitter will settle down to the bottom of the bottle leaving the water clear, just like our mind when we relax.
The core technique taught with Mind in a Bottle are four relaxation steps.
- Watching the bottle
- Shifting attention to other things
One of the kids James taught this technique loved it because she took her bottle home and when her father became upset and agitated, she would said “Dad, look at the bottle, it is your mind. Watch the bottle until the water is clear”.
This blog provides more information on how to make a mind in a jar or bottle http://www.herewearetogether.com/2011/06/27/another-mind-jar/
Pathways to Resilience Trust relies on the help of a range of volunteers and students doing work experience placements to help our already hard working staff. Currently we have a student – Lisa Gazan from Griffith University – undertaking her practical placement with us. She is currently studying a double degree in Education and Child and Family Studies. I asked Lisa about what she has learnt from her time here.
While she has learnt classroom management techniques from her studies and through practical placements in schools, she was impressed by the different approach used by Pathways to Resilience Trust to achieve better outcomes through social and emotional learning. Lisa appreciated the way these programs looked deeper into “Why” children act-out, as opposed to just the simplistic controlling and managing approaches that make children appear like robots.
One thing she has taken from the Pathways to Resilience Trust is that the goal of teachers and schools is not just education, but the students’ general wellbeing. While teacher education in universities supports this ideal, she felt her studies have lacked practical methods and strategies to achieve student welfare. Lisa felt academics dominated Australian school curriculum and left little time or mind-space for important life skills. She felt that she will take away a lot of useful and valuable knowledge and skills from the evidence based programs used at Pathways to Resilience Trust that she can apply in her career to assist learners become resilient individuals.
Lisa feels the most important lesson she has learnt is leading through the power of mirror neurons. She advised “If we want students to display certain skills, we must model those traits to the children by re-examining ourselves first. We must take part in life-long learning with the children”.