Mental Health

When Students Say “I Can’t Do This”

When classroom tasks get a little too difficult, it’s common for teachers to hear “I can’t do this” from their students. Most at-risk kids have some self-defeating behaviors, including those that result in personal failure, and even students who don’t face extra challenges in the classroom get frustrated. Helping students push past their self-perceived limitations results in the beginnings of success. This leads into a success building upon success behavioral cycle. In order to get…

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The Many Benefits of Creativity

Creativity is an incredibly valuable skill. All too often, we outgrow our imagination with age due to an encroaching sense of self doubt, an ingrained belief that it’s an impractical pursuit, or firm guidance from more experienced grown-ups advising engineering over art school. Although almost everyone would agree that creativity is important, budget cuts to areas of education like art and music programs demonstrate differently. Creativity should be encouraged along with technical knowledge, since the…

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Challenging Self-Doubt

According to social scientists, a mindset based on self-doubt leads to two common coping mechanisms among children and young adults. The first is called “self-handicapping,” which is when students underperform as a way to shield themselves from the psychic consequence of working hard yet doing poorly. The other is “subjective overachievement,” which is taking heroic measures to guarantee a successful outcome, and attributing that success solely to effort. The overachieving variant of self-doubt is common…

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Promoting Gender Equality in the Classroom

As young children begin to take notice of gender equality and the differences in social expectations for gender roles, the ways in which their teachers interact with them become more weighted. These interactions also create long-lasting effects in other areas of their lives, at times limiting their self-image and their perception of the opportunities that are available or appropriate for them. This trend is especially apparent in the shortage of women who pursue education and…

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Teens and Tech Addiction

Look up from this screen right now. Take a look around. On a bus. In a cafe. Even at a stoplight. Chances are, most of the other people in your line of sight are staring at their phones or other devices. And if they don’t happen to have one out, it is certainly tucked away in a pocket or bag. But do we truly have a technology addiction? And what about our kids? It’s a scary…

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Starting School Later Can Improve Student Health

It’s safe to assume that high school students would probably cherish a little extra sleep in the morning, but did you know that studies show that starting school later for teens is actually healthier for them? Sleep experts have determined a shift in sleep cycles (circadian rhythms) in recent studies. This shift begins in adolescence and makes it more difficult for most adolescents to fall asleep as early as younger children or older adults. Typical…

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How to Broach Tough Topics With Kids

With school shootings and other tough topics now commonplace in our country’s nightly news, we not only have to worry about how the students of those schools are affected, but also about the tens of millions of other children in schools across the country who have since heard about what happened and now likely struggle with their own feelings of fear, confusion, and uncertainty. Parents and teachers alike may find the following guide helpful in…

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Meditating Before Starting Class

According to a new experimental study by George Mason University professor Robert Youmans and University of Illinois doctoral student Jared Ramsburg, meditating before class can lead to better grades. The pair of researchers conducted three classroom experiments at a California university to see if meditation might help students focus and better retain information in class. A random selection of students followed basic meditation instructions before a lecture, and the students who meditated before the lecture scored better…

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Exaggerated Thoughts That Can Cause Teens to Misperceive Reality

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is currently the premier evidence‐based psychotherapeutic treatment for anxiety and depression in both adolescents and adults. CBT focuses on the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems and changing unhelpful patterns in our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes, including exaggerated thoughts. It also teaches behavioral and emotional regulation according to the design of the cognitive triangle, as shown in the diagram below.  At the center of the cognitive triangle…

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Making Art Can Help Teens Understand Their Mental Health

The benefits of art in a child’s education are widespread. Art can help kids express themselves and understand the world around them, and it is usually a fun, hands-on experience. For low-income students, studies show that kids who have more arts education in school see long-term benefits by both academic and social standards. Additionally, art can help students with their mental health. Tori Wardrip, an art teacher at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Billings,…

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