The Reflection Rings
Social interaction is a source of tension.
Think of the first time children sit in a classroom. They need to be able to cope with a plethora of signals surrounding them. The teacher is calling for attention. Their chairs may seem harder than the sofa at home. The other children may be captivating in one way or the other. The playground may be calling to them, enticingly, through the windows. Their personal items/food in their bags may be on hold, waiting to be enjoyed. They may be ruminating over parental expectations. You as a teacher can easily notice that you too are under a barrage of expectations, coming from a classroom of children, parents, administrators, and so on. Not to mention, the majority of teachers that I have worked with had high expectations of themselves. These varying sources of tension can be quite overwhelming and many teachers become frustrated over time. Unfortunately, not everyone can understand this and may react aggressively towards teachers.
How reflection exercises can help teachers.
When it comes to social tension, it takes two to tango. We react to people that we interact with and they react to us. These interactions are tempered by previous personal experiences. How quick to anger are we when calling any customer service? By utilizing self reflection you can be more aware of the social dynamic you have with others. You can notice your own "knee-jerk" reactions as well as those of others around you. In other words, you can be the voice of reason without getting sucked into unhealthy dynamics. Just by reflecting on how you have made others feel, how they have made you feel, and how the two integrated into a social dynamic, you raise your social awareness.
How reflection exercises can help children.
Children learn from modeling. In other words, just by being a person to emulate you are teaching. If you yourself practice social reflection, you become a role model for healthy social interaction. You can even take it one step further and educate children to reflect on their own emotional reactions to the environment as well as how they illicit an emotional reaction from others. Remember, this is a learned skill crucial for a healthy social environment that many adults have yet to master.
For This Tool You Will Need:
- a stopwatch
- three different rings
Preparing your Reflection Rings
Make all three Reflection Rings and designate a purpose for each one: a Self Reflection Ring, a Social Reflection Ring, and an Integration Ring.
Put your Self Reflection Ring on and spend ten minutes (ensure to use the timer) thinking about how you make people feel. Be fair and do not focus only on the negative. This is your self reflection exercise. You will notice that it is harder than it sounds, something that may take practice.
Put your Social Reflection Ring on and spend ten minutes (ensure to use the timer) thinking about how other people make you feel. Be fair and do not focus only on the negative. This is your social reflection exercise.You will notice that it is harder than it sounds, something that may take practice.
Put your Integration Ring on and spend ten minutes (ensure to use the timer) thinking about the interaction between Self and Social. Does the way you make other's feel affect how they act towards you? Does the way other's make you feel affect how you act towards them? Be fair and do not focus only on the negative. This is your integration exercise. You will notice that it is harder than it sounds, something that may take practice.
Using your Reflection Rings
During the first day of using your rings put on your Self Reflection Ring and wear it during the day for at least 2 hours. At the end of the day spend ten minutes on the self reflection exercise. Then choose what ring you will be using the following day.
Each day utilize only one Reflection Ring and do the corresponding exercise in the evening. Ensure to use each Reflection Ring at least once a week.
On the 16th week of using your Reflection Rings, use only your Integration Ring.
After 16 weeks have passed, stop using this tool. If you feel that you still need it then take a two-month break and start again.