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Coach’s Corner: The Power of Positive Connections

The debut video column from “The Connection Coach,” Tara Brown

In her debut video column, Tara Brown – also known as “The Connection Coach” – leverages her experiences as a classroom teacher and coach and draws on her knowledge of cognitive science to discuss the effects of stress on all students and the power of fostering a positive learning environment.

Before students can succeed academically, they must be able to mentally overcome any external stressors that may detract from a focus on their studies. Tara urges school leaders to reflect on their current learning environment and challenges them to develop a whole school approach to developing safe and positive interactions with students, which includes every adult on campus.

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

1. Tara explains, “You can’t read a book and run from a lion at the same time” to illustrate how external stressors negatively affect learning inside the classroom. What are the “lions” your kids are dealing with outside of school? How can you create a supportive learning environment to help students tame those lions so they’re set up for success?

2. The whole school approach to setting a positive tone starts with buy-in from every adult on campus. Reflecting on your school’s environment, what are the typical interactions students have while entering the school, walking the halls, or interacting with staff? How can teachers begin putting students before content?

3. Tara argues that positive connections with caring adults are one of the biggest needs for students to thrive. As a school leader, how can you make sure all students feel seen, heard, and validated on a day-to-day basis?

Follow along as Tara continues to share her expertise and insights to help school leaders reach the youth through the power of positive connections via the Coach’s Corner written columns and videos.