Choosing a Wide Perspective
Students learn to pause, breathe, and notice their perspective.
Students practice choosing a wide perspective.
Emotion Regulation, Growth Mindset
When we experience stressful or unpleasant situations, our threat response system is activated. When this happens, our perspective narrows, our brains become velcro for the “negative”, and we focus our attention on thoughts and feelings that undermine our ability to learn and grow our minds. When we pause, breathe, and notice this response, we begin to soothe the threat response system (i.e., the sympathetic nervous system) and activate the “rest and digest” system (i.e., the parasympathetic nervous system). This engages the “thinking brain” (i.e., the prefrontal cortex), which empowers us to choose a wider perspective.
Students are empowered to choose a wider perspective by pausing, noticing, and naming their feelings and using kind and encouraging gestures and words. This approach acknowledges that we can have multiple perspectives at the same time.
Example: Yes, I am feeling disappointed that I did not make the soccer team AND I am going to keep practicing so I can try again next year.
Create Perspectacles with Kind and Encouraging Words for the Classroom
- Self-Reflect: Draw a picture or write about a time when you learned how to do something new.
- Brainstorm: Read several scenarios to students. Ask them to pause, breathe, and notice how they would feel in that situation. Brainstorm ideas about kind and encouraging words they could say.
- Engage in Service: Students can either cut out kind and encouraging gestures and words and paste onto perspectacles OR write/draw their own kind and encouraging gestures and words on perspectacles. Create a space in the classroom, for example on a wall, for kids to hang their perspectacles. When students are struggling, consider having them choose kind and encouraging gestures and/or words to try or say. This will help reinforce the practice of choosing a wide perspective.
- Reflect on Service: Draw or write about a time you used kind and encouraging words or gestures to help you choose a wide perspective. Or draw or write about a time when you said kind and encouraging words or gestures to help someone else choose a wide perspective.
Prompt for a class discussion:
When you used kind and encouraging gestures or words to help you or someone else choose a wide perspective, how did it make you feel?