EDU270 – Lesson 3: Attention, Emotions, & Learning

“Please pay attention…get on task…focus!  Do you hear me?”

As a mother of a teenager who struggled with attention deficit disorder (a label he hates even now), I thought I had the best information and tools in my arsenal.  I read many of the books and even became certified to coach parents of attention deficit disorder or hyperactive disorder ADD/ADHD children.

What I did not realize is the real root cause of inattentiveness; nor how to positively impact my son’s environment enough to support him in developing attention skills.  I also needed to view some of his behaviors as normal because his brain was doing something that would prove invaluable later on in his life.

The parent coaching certification program I completed never addressed infant or child brain development or research – it was simply so long ago.  Back then, the focus was on mainly behavior outcomes and educational reform advocacy.

Today, I know so much more!  Some of the behaviors infants and toddlers display is actually necessary for orientating, maintaining, and controlling or regulating their attention skills.  Patience and understanding is what is needed during the so-called terrible twos.  Although it looks like an unnecessary tantrum, the brain is busy at work in reconstructing that child’s neural patterns.  This is when the child is developing their patience, controlling emotions, and directing their focus.

As a middle school teacher with this understanding, I am grateful for the opportunity to positively impact my student’s environment by:

  • providing opportunities to make the best of their attention skills with curriculum and activities that consider their specific needs
  • passing on my knowledge and encouraging parents to reinforce healthier nutrition and  regular bedtimes (proper sleep is vital to brain cell development)
  • providing a safe environment in my classroom – free of the big 5 (fear, hunger, abuse, neglect, or depression)
This mean social/emotional learning is taking place in addition to academics.  In my opinion, this is the real ‘no child left behind’ initiative – because they all matter.  Not an easy undertaking but a necessary one.  I am responsible for teaching in a manner that raises the bar for them socially, emotionally, and intellectually.
As for my son who is now 18 years old, it isn’t too late to positively impact his growth and development.  All it takes is to continue to provide a structured nurturing environment, and encourage consistent open communication.  So far, it’s going well.

Photo Credit:  Quinn Dombrowski

A plan to keep up…

Rio-logo-reflectLast semester I cut it a bit close when it comes to delivering on my coursework.  I procrastinated and paid dearly for it in the end.  Sure, I can come up with many reasons why it happened, but none of those reasons matter in the end.  Just – get it done!

This is my 1st of the two remaining semesters and I will be finished!  Yay!!!

My goal is to stay on task and deliver assignments on time this semester.  Today is day one.  I have four different courses to maintain and a tremendous amount of work to complete to satisfy all the requirements of each.

I am blogging about this experience to hold myself accountable.  Even if no one else reads this – I will have to comply.

My courses are:

  • POS221 – Arizona Constitution
  • EDU256AE – Intern Certificate Student Teaching Lab – Secondary Education III
  • EDU270AB – Secondary Reading and Decoding Methods
  • EDU270 – Learning and the Brain

My plan is to read each syllabus tonight and review all of the assignments.  I will then calendar due dates and read text for this first week.  I am still waiting for a few textbooks.  This is going to be great!