By Aviva Dunsiger
I keep returning to a wonderful video by Stuart Shanker about Self-Reg in Summer Camps. This summer, I'm once again a Site Lead for Camp Power, and due to COVID, we're online for the second year in a row. While we've tried to put students together from the same school, due to registration numbers, there are mixtures of schools in each camp group. Having taught virtually a couple of times this past school year, I realize that you really need to modify your vocal tone and actions to engage kids, as it's harder to read non-verbal cues and softer voices through a screen. But I keep thinking about the Self-Reg component. As we look to engage students, do we always need to go over the top?
Engagement has somehow become synonymous with ...
- special days,
- loud songs,
- various dances,
- exciting experiments,
- tons of costumes,
- and a plethora of chants,
but sometimes I wonder if all of this becomes too much. When I then hear about those students that ...
- are not listening,
- are spinning around the room,
- are screaming out answers,
- and can't seem to wait their turn,
I begin to think that it might be our attempts at engagement that create dysregulation. I know that all of these creative and fun activities are done with the best of intentions and with the kids in mind, but what about Self-Reg? How do we engage kids without dysregulating them? My wonderings might have stemmed from an online summer camp, but I think that I'll be returning to these same wonderings as we return to school. Is it time to reframe "engagement?"