The starting of a new school year indicated a fresh start and an opportunity to develop new professional skills. We wanted to provide teachers with a powerful toolbox to manage students’ disruptive behaviors, while increasing positive and purposeful teacher-child interactions. We also believe that it is of high importance for teachers to have knowledge on mental health, especially on ADHD and other common diagnoses related to behavioral challenges, in order to be fully equipped to appropriately address these.
Research has shown that positive teacher-child relationships can decrease behavior problems and increase academic performance. Implementing appropriate research-based behavior management strategies in the classroom will help increase children’s sense of control over their behavior and strengthen children’s sense of trust with teachers.
On August 2nd and 3rd, DSA elementary teachers had the opportunity to work with Dr. Paulo Graziano. Dr. Graziano is the program director at the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University, director of the Summer Treatment Program-PreK and director of the S.E.L.F regulation lab. Dr. Graziano’s research focuses on the role of children’s self-regulation as it pertains to school readiness, early intervention, learning and fitness. All elementary teachers participated in a 4-hour workshop that covered the following topics:
- Background on ADHD and other disruptive behavior problems
- Introduction to Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) adapted to a school setting (TCIT)
- Classroom Behavior Management Strategies
All teachers received an introductory training on Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), an evidence-based treatment for children with disruptive behaviors, initially designed to address parent-children relationships. PCIT has documented success across a wide variety of emotional and behavioral challenges. An adaptation of PCIT is used in the classroom called Teacher-Child Interaction Therapy (TCIT). This intervention has also been shown to increase teacher efficacy and job satisfaction for early childhood educators. With Dr. Graziano’s support, teachers practiced various positive behavior management strategies in a series of role plays while receiving direct coaching and feedback from him.
Ms. Camila Quintero, DSA’s school counselor, is also a trained PCIT therapist and will be providing support and coaching to elementary teachers throughout the school year. One of the goals of the counseling program is to provide professional development opportunities for all teachers and staff members to honor DSA’S rich tradition of academic excellence for students by having qualified teachers.
Written By: Camila Quintero, Elementary School Counselor, Divine Savior Academy – Doral