Students learn best in an environment that is structured, that limits stress, that acknowledges their emotional development, and that promotes focused attention. I consult with teachers to help them develop a comprehensive approach to their classroom plans that includes the physical classroom environment, the structure and flow of the year’s lessons, and the structure and flow of the daily schedule.

I begin by talking with the teacher about the relationship between stress, relaxation and learning. Then I discuss recent research about how the brain develops with age and the implications this has for age-appropriate classroom learning. Next I apply this information to a teacher’s particular situation and the classroom environment, looking at ways the teacher can use this information to reduce their stress and increase their effectiveness. Expected outcomes include better class cohesion, reduced time spent responding to conflict, and more engaged students. These consultations are particularly helpful for elementary school teachers. This work can be accomplished in roughly 2–3 hours with 1 or 2 follow up sessions of 15–30 minutes. Special reduced fees can be applied.

As a new teacher, Joel’s unique insight helped me understand the motivations behind some of the behavior in my classroom and gave me very helpful guidance and suggestions in attending to my students’ emotional needs. Once these specific needs were addressed, the students became much more responsive and happy in the classroom. He also introduced me to the idea of classroom meetings which helped the children by building a strong sense of community. Whole group lessons and cooperative learning groups became so much easier because of the bonding and sense of relationship we all had together. The positive results from our community meetings grew richer and richer over time.

Yolanda Roose,
3rd Grade Teacher, Richmond, CA

Working with Joel helped me to understand the setting of tone for the day in the classroom. …. the tone for productive learning is set, as children are grounded and centered within themselves and may then open to learning experiences surrounding them each day. Joel has been instrumental in providing me with dialogue and feedback, helping to guide and define my methods by sharing a rich base of knowledge and experiences from his own practices as teacher and therapist to children of diversity. As I reflect upon my work with him, I am reminded of, a quote gleaned one evening while enjoying a good fortune cookie: To teach is to learn twice.

Anne Halley,
Second Grade Teacher, West Marin School

Suggested Resources:

How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
Inspiration for Teachers