If you've come here from our livestream with Twinkl, welcome to our website! Take a look around the blog for some perspectives on teaching from two counsellors, including some counselling theory and techniques which you may find useful.
Below are resources and links related to the exercises we've been through this evening. Please feel free to use them yourself, or to use them with others. If you want any advice, or would like to discuss accessing the services we provide for yourself or your school, message us through the contact form or on Facebook.
Reflecting on Me
In this exercise we invite you to consider the different roles you occupy throughout your life, and to reflect on how satisfied you are with this picture. We each act out a range of roles - some are relational (mother, friend, lover), some professional (teacher, manager), and some personal (baker, artist, runner). There is no 'right way' to balance these competing identities - you might break them into the three categories above (relational, professional and personal) to see what picture emerges, or use Maslow's hierarchy of needs to rank your roles. One other interesting way to explore your constellation of inner aspects which you may not be familiar with is through Positive Psychology's model of wellbeing: according to Martin Selligman, wellbeing consists of 5 parts:
- positive emotions
Once you've drawn your own identity map, why not check each aspect against these categories: to what extent does each role allow you to feel each of these? Which categories of wellbeing are underrepresented in your main roles? How might you be able to re-balance your roles so that you get more of these?
There are oodles of resources on the internet for mindfulness. Our own experience has been that once you find one that suits you, stick with it. For example, some people respond well to apps that help you structure regular time for mindfulness - here's a good place to start. Others prefer to watch a video or listen to audio scripts - you can find a huge number on Youtube, or can download various meditations from iTunes. If you are interested in digging deeper into the theory behind mindfulness, I'd recommend Jon Kabat-Zin's Full Catastrophe Living or anything by Mark Williams.
Something else we've discovered recently is a website called Mindful which has some really interesting articles about mindfulness, as well as emailing you a weekly digest of mindful ideas.
Nightmare - Reality - Ideal
A lot of the work on internal working models comes from attachment theory, which is well worth investigating (Why Love Matters is an excellent place to start). But for our purposes this goes too much into the history and not enough into the present day working models we carry with us. A better way to engage with our current internal working models might be to reflect on how the activity felt when you were filling the columns:
If you found it easier to fill in the nightmare scenario than the others, this might indicate that your negative internal working model is a bit too powerful, and may be taking up too much of your mental and emotional energy.
If you found it very difficult to fill in the present-tense column this could indicate that your internal working models are not sufficiently connected with the evidence of the world around you. We'll all be familiar with the experience of only being able to remember the negative part of feedback rather than the positives, and this kind of cognitive distortion stops us from making a rational assessment of our situation (how we're perceived, how well we're doing), which in turn stops us from feeling good about ourselves.
If you found it very difficult to fill in the 'ideal teacher' column, this might indicate that you feel you have little ownership over your professional life, and little hope of being able to change. Or it may be that you have difficulty expressing anything positive about yourself. In either case, perhaps that indicates that a change is needed?
Reflecting on relationships with children
In case you missed any of the reflective questions we asked, here are some which we have found useful:
Questions reflecting on children:
- Which child stands out to you? Which do you not really notice?
- Which child were you most like? Who would have been your friend in school?
- Which child do you worry most about?
- Which child needs you most?
- Which child(ren) would you be happy to transfer to a different class?
- Questions reflecting on the process:
- Which child popped into your mind first? Did this surprise you?
- Did the children emerge in any groupings? Are these 'official' groups (e.g. ability groups) or unofficial groups (e.g. friendships, children I like more)
- How did it feel to write out your class list and reflect on the process?
Hot Cross Buns
The hot cross bun model (actual name: 5 aspects) was created by a chap called Padesky. You can find his original article here, and get.gg have some useful resources for self-help. You can also find an article we wrote about how to use it here.
Life through the eyes of...
Here is a version of the visualisation we did today. Feel free to use this and share it with anyone you think may benefit from trying it out. We do ask, though, that you do not publish this (online or elsewhere) without our permission.
Reflecting on other relationships
There are lots of geneogram resources online, though these tend to focus more on constructing family trees than on understanding other relationships. They are also very concerned with getting the symbols right than they are on enhancing your understanding of yourself. That said, the Wikipedia entry on geneograms has some useful symbols and suggestions, and this video is excellent if you like Star Wars. If you're interested in the therapeutic power of geneograms, this article starts to scratch the surface of their use.
Me through the eyes of...
Although we rushed quite quickly through this exercise, it can be a really profound way to understand yourself. We often make mistakes by presuming the worse about how others perceive us, or hoping for the best despite evidence to the contrary. You can find a more in-depth visualisation here which helps you to get in touch with the presumptions you unconsciously make about how others see you.
School rules and culture
When we introduce ourselves in a new school we often do a sorting exercise where we ask groups of teachers to rank 9 statements about teaching into a diamond 9 (where the top statement is one you agree with strongly and the bottom is one you disagree with strongly). You can use this bank of statements to create your own sorting exercise - it's interesting to do by yourself, but it's even more intriguing to try to agree a ranking with others.
We've also included another activity we didn't have time to touch on today - this one invites you to locate your beliefs along a series of spectrums (e.g. between child-led and adult-led). As with all of our other resources, you are welcome to use these for yourself and within your school, but we ask that you do not publish or share them online without our permission.