Our students’ lives can be very stressful, and many of you have seen how that stress can affect your tutoring sessions. We have developed our new Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Program to give you tools that you can use to help your students combat stress by teaching them to pause, breathe, and gauge their feelings before responding to an emotional situation. The program also integrates lessons on valuable character traits that will help students in school and their daily lives.
The DNA Method
To help students pause and breath before responding to an emotional situation, we use the DNA method (Describe, Notice, Acknowledge).
When students are misbehaving and you can’t redirect them, first, describe and mirror what they’re doing calmly and without judgment. Try to make eye contact with your student and ask them to take deep breaths with you. This is something that you should practice with your student(s) when they are not emotional, so they are comfortable doing it when they are triggered.
Model empathy by noticing how they are feeling. You can say, “You seem angry” or “I would be sad too.” Finally, acknowledge what they wanted and then problem solve. An example of how you could acknowledge would be, “You wanted to play a game before we did the worksheets, but I said we have to do the worksheets first.” When problem-solving, give two choices you can live with: “We can either do both worksheets first and then have more time afterward to play a game or do one worksheet, take a break and play a game, and then do the second worksheet. Your choice.”
Here is an example of how it is done:
SEL Lesson Integrations
There are ten lesson integrations that reinforce the DNA technique and teach various positive character traits. They are designed to provide a structure for your sessions with mini SEL lessons, but we encourage you to bring your own activities as well. SEL concepts can be taught and reinforced during almost any activity.
The integrations themselves are cumulative, so try to move through them in order. The first and second sessions establish tutoring sessions as safe spaces, introduce gratitude, and lay the foundation of what will be the structure of your sessions moving forward. Integrations 3 through 10 incorporate other important character traits while reinforcing the techniques and concepts learned in 1 and 2.
The ten lesson integrations are all available online via below links both as web pages and PDFs for easy printing.