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Can We Connect Everywhere?

Over the winter holidays, I read a wonderful Ministry resource called Think, Feel, Act to help with some planning for some recent professional development. While I had many takeaways from this resource, one part that I've returned to often was an article by Dr. Jean Clinton. In this article, Clinton speaks a lot about the power of connections, but also about our interactions with kids. How much time do we spend correcting and directing instead of connecting? I know that Stuart Shanker also highlights the link between connections and Self-Reg. I've thought about this link a lot from a classroom perspective, but what about outside of the classroom?

On duty today, I kept replaying Clinton's words in my head: an excerpt from page 7 of this resource.

Today, with the wet weather and a ton of muddy grass space, it was a walk and talk, no equipment recess. I was outside supervising for 40 minutes, and as you can imagine, there were many opportunities to tell kids, "No." After telling a group of students playing tag to "stop running" for what felt like the millionth time, I stopped myself. I felt like all I was doing was correcting and directing students, and I was spending almost no time connecting with them. Now I realized that for safety sake, I had to try and reduce the running outside, but I decided to do so using a different tactic.

- I went up to talk to the students.

- I tried to find out more about what they were doing.

- I began to chat with them about their day, and even some of the highlights from the morning assemblies.

Yes, in many ways, I was just redirecting them and attempting to prolong the inevitable running, but strangely, these conversations felt better to me than my never-ending chorus of, "No, no, no." I wonder if this led to all of us heading inside a little bit calmer than before. How do you find opportunities to connect, even during these non-instructional times? What might be the value in doing so? I'm not suggesting that we never correct and direct students, but through some recent experiences, I'm wondering when there might be a different option.


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