Results of Our Scanning - Themes

In June of 2019 (see Blog post June 20, 2019), our staff identifed four questions that we wanted to know the answers to, based on what we were seeing in class and on the playground.  The four questions were:

1. Why are our children unable to independently solve problem (inter-personal) with their peers?  We notice this most often during unstructured times (recess and lunch).

2. Why are our children relying so heavily on adults to solve problems for them?

3. What do students need to be able to solve problems independently?

4. Why is there such an over-reaction to situations / problems - not being able to recognize the size of the problem and the appropriate response required for a large number of our students K - 7?

On our Professional Development Day (Friday, October 25th) we pondered these questions as a staff and the following themes emerged:

 

1. Why are our children unable to independently solve problem (inter-personal) with their peers?

- children do not get the opportunity to play with others outside of school time (undersocialized)

- children are enrolled in classes and activities where the focus is on the individual, not a team or group, therefore requiring litlle need to interact (interpersonal skill development)

- maturation / development - childen at this age tend to be ego-centric

- children unable to identify a problem or recognize the difference between a problem they can solve and a serious problem (personal autonomy)

- over-reliance on adults for everything, not just to solve problems for them (helicopter parents / helicopter teachers, etc.)

- parents much more involved in all aspects of their children's lives

- time constraints - in today's busy life, it takes time to model problem solving skills and to work through problems.  It is easier to just solve them.

 

  2. Why are our children relying so heavily on adults to solve problems for them?

- at school, we tell children to seek out an adult when they have a problem.  Adults are too helpful.

- learned behaviour - an adult will slove a problem for a child much quicker - reinforces going to an adult

- student inability to solve a problem - they just do not know how / little to no experience / little practice

- a general misunderstanding of "what is bullying" and an overwillingness to classify any, and all issues as bullying

- students not speaking up for themselves / lack of confidence in these situations

 

3. What do students need to be able to solve problems independently?

- to identify and understand their own feelings / emotions and how to regulate

- opportunity / practice - adults to take step back and be facilitators / coaches, rather than problem solvers

- skills - directly modeled for them when kids are calm

- teaching "no means no, stop means stop"

- participation in activities that involve a team / group.  Problem solving is inherent in the activity.

- learning to compromise

- learning to identify whether a problem is minor or major

 

4. Why is there such an over-reaction to situations / problems?

- not being able to recognize the size of the problem

- habit - having a large reaction brings about action from an adult

- life is more stressful; not enough down time for our students

- self-regulation - impact that devices are having on our students

- maturity / resiliency

 

Based on these themes, it appears that a concerted effort is going to need to be made by educators at the school and parents at home.  As we embark on this important work, it will be imperative that we determine as a staff, the best way forward.  Once some of these structures are in place, we will be able to welcome the parents into the discussion and provide them with some strategies that they can use at home.

Updated: Tuesday, November 30, 2021