Barb Traxel April 19-20, 2016 Self- Regulation with Stuart Shanker

Brother Harley and I were privileged to attend the Self-Regulation Symposium held in Lethbridge, Alberta this April.
Our school started on the path of discovery with self regulation and we have used Dr. Shanker’s book “Calm, Alert and Learning” as a book club opportunity for the past two years. Having the opportunity to meet Dr. Shanker and ask questions was wonderful. We had ample time to talk with any of the staff who was there.
Each day started with a keynote address from Dr. Shanker. There were also breakout sessions where we met in smaller groups to listen, ask questions and discuss issues. These were facilitated by Self-Reg experts from the MEHRIT Centre. We were in the “C” stream which was set up for school based inquiry. We took part in session on: Creating a Culture of Safety in Gr. 7-12; Strategies for Self-Regulation and working with FNMI populations; Dealing with Trauma; Dealing with Anxiety and Depression; Self-Reg – Process vs. Program; and Self-Reg in Elementary Years.
We were amazed at how well Self-Regulation first win with and compliments Restitution and Restorative Practices we already use in our school. I learned that we should not eliminate stress as it is an important motivator. Students need to be under manageable stress in order to learn. Self-Regulation is a process to make learning happen by managing the stress. It refers to energy expended when we respond to stress and then the recovery of that energy. We can have a safe school when adults can self-regulate. The adults are then better able to support students with their issues and explicity teach students how to reduce their stress. We need to learn to look at students through “soft eyes.”
I would recommend anyone interested in being a better educator attend a workshop from Dr. Shanker and his colleagues.