As schools begin welcoming students back more widely, alongside the stories of resilience and fortitude there is also increased vulnerability and it is vital that teachers are equipped to recognise and support their vulnerable learners.
Children under stress will sometimes seek to run away from the busy, stressful environment of the classroom. This is known as part of the fight/flight/freeze response to stress. The child’s brain is responding to something it perceives as a stressful event and it goes into survival mode where adrenaline is surging through their body as the brain seeks a way to help them cope in that situation. However, within a school environment, those adaptations can be problematic as the child can overestimate threat and this can lead to distressed behaviour, such as seeking to flee the classroom.
Schools reopening: Student stress and the flight response
In this podcast sponsored by Thrive, we discuss what happens when this reaction is overactive within a classroom setting, what teachers can do to feel more prepared in this situation and the practical strategies they can employ to encourage children to stay in the classroom so that they can regulate their emotions and, eventually, re-engage with learning.
We speak to Sharon Gray, a former headteacher and an independent consultant for WholeHearted Learning. She is a trainer of the Thrive Approach and a member of the Youth Justice Board with strategic oversight for its first secure school and education in custody. Sharon is currently supporting a number of education settings and local authorities with their reconnection-to-resilience approach as schools begin to open more widely. And we also talk to Ginny Bootman, a Sendco of two primary schools in Northamptonshire and a former headteacher with over 25 years of teaching experience.
You can listen to their advice in this lively, wide-ranging discussion below.