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Working with learners who have mental ill-health

Mental Ill-Health
There's a lot of stigma attached to mental ill-health, even though it's not as uncommon as you might think.  As a teacher or LSA working with teenagers you could possibly be working with students who have a number of different mental illnesses, such as

  • Depression
  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders

...... to name a few!  I work closely with a mental health expert, and there are some things which she has shared with me, are good to know.

The term ‘mental illness’ is generally used when someone experiences significant changes in their thinking, feelings or behaviour.  The changes need to be bad enough to affect how the person functions or to cause distress to them or to other people.

The terms ‘mental health problem’ and ‘mental disorder’ have a similar meaning.

If a person has always had a problem in their thinking, feeling or behaviour, then this is not usually called mental illness.  It may then be called a...

You’re Not My Teacher!

The plight of the LSA

Recently it has really hit home to me about LSAs, and their role in the classroom, during experiences when I've been working in classrooms with teachers as their behaviour guide/coach.

In a recent class, while ostensibly acting as the Number 2, I asked some of the students to listen to what the teacher was saying.  In response, they looked at me with a snarl and one exclaimed

I’m not listening to you, you’re not my teacher!”

On that day and in that lesson, the teacher had really started well, with a strong on-line activity which was highly interactive.  He selected one of the challenging students to manage the activity – in charge of the mouse – and the student jumped at the chance to assume that responsibility.    We got off to a good start.

So far so good…..

The problems began when the lesson began ‘proper’.  I requested that...

3 of my positive classroom management secrets

What are the secrets to behaviour management?

Well the answer to that depends who you speak to.  But I prefer prevention rather than cure, so here are 3 of mine:

 

#1  Avoid negative chatter

I manage to avoid the negative chatter in the staff room, because a) I'm not at college every day and b) I don't think it's productive.  I've seen the knowing looks exchanged between staff, with the rolled eyes and shakes of the head.  "Oh yes, I know him....." they might say "I've heard he's a nightmare."   Trial by staff isn't fair and can be quite damaging to your relationships with students.

 

Your opinions of students need to be yours, not those of your colleagues.   My remedy to this problem is to surround myself with positive people, I don't make comparisons, and it's changed my outlook considerably.

 

#2  Start strong

Start lessons on time and with an engager/activity - don't wait for...

Are You The Sun or the North Wind?

Do you behave like the North Wind?

Working with young people in education can be so rewarding.  There’s nothing better than the satisfaction of knowing that your students are engaged and learning.  But I know, only too well, the feeling when things aren’t going well and you ricochet your way to the end of the lesson.  Perhaps your emotions feel raw and you wish things were different.

I’m reminded of the story I was told as a little girl, while sitting on the carpet in the corner of the classroom at reading time.  It was all about the North Wind, how he was fierce, angry and competitive, and he showed it.  He displayed his anger particularly towards The Sun, as he was very jealous of The Sun’s popularity. 

One day the North Wind saw a man walking across the fields wearing a large coat, and he roared at The Sun “I’ll...

Ritalin and Cocaine Addiction

Seen in The Daily Mail on 28 June 2013:

Could ADHD medication Ritalin cure cocaine addiction? New research shows it might help self-control

By Emma Innes

PUBLISHED in The Daily Mail: 28 June 2013 | UPDATED: 2 July 2013

  • A single dose of Ritalin can modify the brain circuits that cause      cravings
  • Decreases connectivity between areas of brain linked to formation      of habits
  • Strengthens links between brain regions involved in regulating      emotions and controlling behaviour

Ritalin, a drug commonly used to treat ADHD, could provide a novel way of treating cocaine addiction.

A single dose of the drug can modify the connectivity in certain brain circuits that underlie self-control and cravings in cocaine addicts, new research has found.

Previous research has shown that Ritalin improves brain function in cocaine users, making them better able to perform some cognitive tasks.

A single dose of Ritalin can modify the connectivity in certain brain circuits that underlie self-control and cravings...

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