The impact that social media has on kids is undeniable. A recent article in the New York Times highlights some of the more concerning issues.
I don’t think we need much convincing that social media has had an impact on all our lives and it is not going away anytime soon. I am a neophyte when it comes to social media, but in my work with children and their families over the past 30 years has allowed me a first hand insight into the world of children and their families.
What can we do as parents, counsellors and educators to mitigate the impact that social media is having on our young people? As in any situation where we are trying to teach children, we ourselves need to be the role model. We need to examine the message we send our kids when we are engaged in use of our own devices. What parameters do we have for ourselves when it comes to use of devices? Do we actually have discussions with our kids about amount of usage, times and places that are no go zones for adults and kids? Do we understand the safety issues and if not do we educate ourselves about these issues and discuss them with our children? Yes, with any privilege comes responsibility, both for us as the adult and for our children whom we must guide to be ethical digital citizens. Don’t let their media skills fool you! Although they appear to be very savvy in the area of technology, they do not have the life experience or a fully developed brain that allows them to project the outcome of what they may see as just having a little fun or wanting to fit in.
With the new emphasis on digital leadership , I strongly believe we as parents and educators need to learn how to develop our own digital identity. How can we truly help guide students to learn concepts of digital citizenship , becoming a digital agent, a digital interactor, etc?
How can we help young people learn how to create change in their community or how to make the world a better place online if we don’t fully understand how to do so ourselves?
Learning how to be digital leaders starts the day children are born and is a never-ending lesson. How do we celebrate all the good that our youth do while teaching them about privacy, collaboration and how to vet online sources? How do we become the models they need?
Let it begin with me I say … and yes it is never too late. I started learning how to become a good digital citizen almost five years ago after joining #etmooc. I am still learning today and take every opportunity I can to learn. I have made many mistakes along the way just as I did in my own parenting, teaching and counselling , but I really try to learn from those mistakes and model for others what I am learning daily.
I think we need to give educators the time during their days to learn along with their students. Being proactive means we need to learn alongside the students trying to master these skills we want them to have. They can teach us and we can teach them. If we want to drive change through technology we need to face the fear ourselves and take positive risks online. You may wish to join communities like #immooc, where you will find educators learning every day.
Digital citizenship is essential to what educators do. Join me as I learn along the way. You may find a few tips here .
Digital Citizenship Lessons are vital. Empowering proactive digital learners is a process. If we know how to do it , they will too . What do you think?
I am inspired yet again thanks to fellow Canadian and educator extraordinaire George Couros@gcouros to write a blog post about the fact that School Counsellorsdo indeed have hashtags and use them on a regular basis.
Does anyone have a hashtag that is used for guidance counsellors? #edchat
American School Counsellors are on the web in droves as you can see if you follow the #scchat hashtag. I am fortunate to connect with other School Counsellors who are from all over the world especially through #SCCrowd and you can join us . I am proud to call myself a School Counsellor because it is so much more than what a Guidance Counsellor used to be. Read more here. School Counsellor Chat #scchat was the leader of the way and we can join in as caring Canadians who are passionate about School Counselling and want to make a difference.
I am a School Counsellor
I was a School Counsellor the moment I realized students needed help and I could make a difference
Throughout the day I can be called upon to assist, encourage, intervene, give support, make serious decisions and more
I am privileged to see the potential in each and every student
Honoured that students and their families allow me to help them
Thankful that I have chosen a profession I can be proud of and one that allows me to leave a legacy
You, the parents allow me to enter your world and help the most precious gift you have been given in life your child
Students matter to me and I will counsel your children from my heart, always maintaining a professional response
I am a School Counsellor and I will never take that responsibility lightly
I will have the courage , strength and hope to do what is necessary
I will provide a place and a space where you can trust what I do
Knowing that you have allowed me to spend my precious days with the future
I am a School Counsellor and for that I am filled with gratitude each and every day
Susan Spellman Cann
It isn’t as easy to connect with other School Counsellors from across Canada. There are a few of us that connect on a regular basis often using the hashtags #SCCrowd and #scchat :
I know there are so many more of you like @Michelle0102197 @BriseboisJoanne @brie_jen @JodieHeywood1 @helenMacKinnon2 @JenMTrigger @mikesmacneil @BoskertheSC @kimtremblay13 @MacISSuey @MzMoynihan that can and want to connect on a regular basis, but you may just need to be aware of the basics of how twitter and a PLN can change how you practice. For some of you, you may even need to know that there is a hashtag and how to use it. We are here to help you anytime. Just ask and we will support you in any way we can. Join in by adding your name to this doc. You can find it by clicking School Counsellors Collaborating here.
There are so many more School Counsellors that I have added to my PLN since I wrote this blog post.” There are so many amazing School Counsellors doing so many fabulous things”, in July of 2013. We really are trying to get more Canadian School Counsellors Connected on twitter so if you do know of any please send them our way and we will definitely start using the #CSCchat Canadian School Counsellorchat that Erin and I created long ago hoping more would come on board.
I am so grateful to be a School Counsellor in a time when we can connect and learn and grow from and with each other due to the internet. So please join us as we make a difference and learn together. Check out SCOPE one of the best resources for School Counsellors you will find on the net.
Our next International School Counsellor chat is on Tuesday , October 28th at 6:30 MDT . Join @rawolfon and I . It is our one year #SCCrowd anniversary. We look forward to meeting, connecting and collaborating with you.
Thanks to @hatcherelli I saw this post today and it got me to thinking about the many times I have seen this kind of post! There has been hashtags for school counsellors for a very long time, but many are not aware of them.
The longest standing hashtag for school counsellors is #scchat, a great place for school counsellors to gather. Thanks to @ecmmason and @sch_counselor this is a great place to share and learn.
After our time in ETMOOC@EHordyskiLuong and I tried to get Canadian School Counsellors to join in using the hashtag #CSCchat. We know you are out there school counsellors and we still want you to join in using all the school counsellor hashtags. It is the best PD ever . Don’t miss out!
So yes George , administrators, school counsellors, educators and anyone who wants to connect with school counsellors from across the world there are hashtags and we welcome you to use them anytime. Collaborating with administrators is so important and that is why I often use the hashtag #edchat . Using the hashtag #cdnedchat is another great way I connect with educators from Canada. So please join in and use the school counsellor hashtags listed here.
#SCChat School Counsellor Chat
#CSCCHAT Canadian School Counsellor Chat
#SCCROWD A Worldwide international School Counsellor Chat
#ESCCHAT Elementary School Counsellor Chat
#HSCCHAT High School Counsellor Chat
#IntlSC for International School Counsellors thanks to Scott Langston
Everyone please feel free to join us anytime in a chat. We’d love to see you there. Thanks Derek Hatch and George Couros for giving me something to blog about today . Would love to see you jump in anytime using the #SCCrowd or other school counsellor hashtags . Seeing as you are Canadians why not use #CSCchat? This way we can demonstrate positive digital leadership and citizenship by working together . Thanks to #ETMOOC and now #DCMOOC for making me constantly think about digital citizenship and how it relates to school counselling.
There is always great information on twitter for school counsellors. One of the things I like best is that the information is relevant and usually makes you think about what was posted. I really like this article by Gary G Abud Jr posted on twitter by Alec Couros @courosa who often posts extremely resourceful information that school counsellors can use. Enjoy and share what you think!
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
How many of the students you have worked with with would you describe as bent , but not broken? Even under the most horrific of circumstances they remain resilient.Why is that?
According to Steven M Southwick and Denis Charney in Resilience The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges there are 10 resilience factors that people use as coping strategies that make them more resilient.
People who are resilient :
Are active problem solvers who look for meaning and opportunity in adversity
Accept social support and seek it out
Accept the things thay cannot change as well as confront their fears
Attended to their health and well being
Have an optimistic, but realistic outlook
Imitate strong role models
Rely on their own inner moral compass
Use humour even in their darkness
Take personal responsibilty for their own emotional well being
Utilize religious or spiritual practices
People who are resilient will often look to their experiences as ways to find a platform for growth. I have seen this with students who have lived through physical, emotional and sexual abuse as well as other traumas. Students will find a means and a way to ask for help, but do more than that by using their inner strengths to push forward and make a difference in themselves and their world. They show themselves and the world what they are made of.
One of my all time favorite authors Viktor Frankl , who wrote Mans Search for Meaning, describes in this rare seen footage how we can help students by promoting them to what they really can be. We need to see students as they should be and help them to see what they are capable of becoming. We can help them in becoming more resilient by being that role model for them.
Over the years, I have seen many examples of students who are amazingly resilient as well as those that need to be taught how to be. I know I want to model resiliency for the students I serve. What about you?
Here is a great video on teen stress and how to cope:
Today prejudice, stigmatization and discrimination are deeply embedded in our language, in our beliefs and in the way we interact with one another. Though a mental illness is one aspect of an individual’s life, all too often the label alone bars that one person from achieving a self-directed life with meaningful connections to his or her community.
When it comes to mental health we want students to:
With someone they trust like their teacher advisor , teacher, coach or other significant adult in the school who can then assist them in connecting …
With their school counsellor who can assist them in connecting with their doctor, health care provider and or parents to assist them with their mental health concerns
About mental health and wellness and the impact it can have on themselves or their friends or familes
We want students to be concerned about their fellow human beings and show COMPASSION when it comes to mental health
We want educators to collaborate with us to make a difference when it comes to mental health and wellness
and lastly we want to …
CHALLENGE you to take action and integrate mental health into your curriculums. We challenge you to make a difference when it comes to mental health. Our mental health/wellness committee is working on several ways to make a difference , but one idea started by Peter Damen ( fellow Counsellor) was to have an alternative activity that students could get credit for in every discipline Math, English, Science, Social Studies, Phys. Ed, Music. Art, Drama, CTS etc. What is one activity that you could get students to do that would increase their mental health literacy and reduce stigma?
We CHALLENGE you to become literate yourself when it comes to mental health.
If you get the opportunity go to a training with Dr. Stan Kutcher or a Go to Educator training in your area.
One of important things that Dr. Stan Kutcher discussed during a mental health literacy training that I attended was the difference between:
Mental Health Distress (one example lose your keys)
Mental Health Problem (one example a parent dies)
Mental Health Disorder/Illness (one example clinical depression)
We need to teach our young people the difference between distress, problem and disorder and the Mental Health Curriculum Guide does just that. It teaches students and educators the Mental Health Literacy that they need in today’s world based on present day research on the brain. You may get some ideas here to start to integrate this into the subjects you teach.
Are you ready to take the CHALLENGE? If you come up with some ideas please add it to our community doc. We will be creating a google doc that will be ready in June that we will be sharing with you about all our ideas around mental health and wellness in High School.
We are excited about the many possibilities and hope you will join us in CREATING several resources that will be beneficial to all. You can open this doc to start collaborating. School Counsellors and educators can make a difference when it comes to the mental health / wellness of our students and ourselves. We can work together all across the world to make this happen. Won’t YOU join in ?