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Coach’s Corner: 3 Tips to Catalyze Positive Interactions

Featuring key insights and powerful messages from “The Connection Coach,” Tara Brown

In her second video column, Tara Brown leverages her expertise in executive functioning to help inform educators on the science behind human reactions to stress. Referencing the amygdala and thalamus, two parts of the brain that are critical to our reaction system, Tara briefly explains how students can draw from negative past experiences while interpreting situations in real-time, and urges educators to be intentional in their daily interactions with students in efforts to promote a more positive and uplifting learning environment.

To help get you started, Tara recommends three tips for school leaders to begin fostering meaningful interactions: 1.) Pay attention to your body language, facial expression, and tone of voice, making sure they all align with your positive message, 2.) Take time to mentally prepare and get in a positive frame of mind before engaging with students, and 3.) Always lead with a smile.

The questions below are intended to get you thinking about your connections with students and strategizing ways to improve these interactions:

1.) Tara explains that it is not only the message being verbally communicated to students that matters, but the way in which it is delivered, including body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Are you conscious of your body language when talking to students on a daily basis? What are some triggers – both in body language and words – that could negatively affect your student interactions?

2.) As it turns out, the amygdala and thalamus are not characters on Game of Thrones! Rather, Tara explains how these two areas of the brain control our reaction to stressors. With this scientific understanding, how can you work to control your own reactions to help build a positive learning environment? How can educators identify negative triggers and work with students to redirect to a more positive frame of mind?

3.) Tara urges school leaders to take time to mentally prepare before interacting with students to ensure more positive relations. Do you agree? If so, as a school leader, how are you taking time to switch gears from completing administrator duties to interacting with the students in meaningful ways?

Keep up with the Coach’s Corner by checking out last month’s video column here.

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