Guided imagery : a practical solution for the classroom teacher

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Traber, Mark W
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 1999
Working with students to better help them understand and appropriately respond to their emotions, ADHD status and Learning disabilities are primary goals of the Learning Assistance Program in Medicine Hat. Literature suggests that students who are emotionally well have a far greater chance of succeeding academically than those students who are not emotionally well. Through further investigation of guided imagery, I discovered that many of the chronic problems experienced by SLD students are often the areas of which guided imagery contributes many positive implications. For example, SLD students suffer from disorganized thinking and written work. Congruent implications of guided imagery are often an increase in one's focus, organization, written precision, as well as an increased motivation and/or desire to write. In addition, inattention, distractibility and short attention spans also characterize and plague the SLD student. Guided imagery is noted for its ability to dramatically relax individuals, positively resulting in an increase of one's focus and attention. Finally, SLD students are characterized by having difficulty in social relations, lowered self-esteem, depression, truancy, inappropriate behaviours and a lack of confidence. Likewise, guided imagery promotes the acceptance of others, overall wellness, creative and/or serious emotional expression and a positive self-concept; all of which help students achieve more positive work outcomes. Therefore, my question was: will my grade seven and eight SLD students consider guided imagery a positive, safe, and confidential method or medium for the promotion ofthe following Learning Assistance Program goals: positive behavior, positive work outcome, positive self concept, positive means for creative and/or serious emotional expression, overall wellness in students, the acceptance of others, increased focus and attention and increased motivation and/or desire to write? In order to answer my research question, I carefully prepared pre and post interview questions that focussed on the various implications that guided imagery could promote. Following the pre-interview sessions, I subjected the students to one guided imagery activity a week over a five week period. Throughout the five weeks, I made detailed notes with regard to what I observed of the students' behaviour and their written responses. In addition, I developed a class period into what became known as Wel1ness Time. Every Monday morning during Wellness Time I would read the students' guided imagery responses from the previous week to the class. This experience not only revealed to the students the various differences in personalities that existed in our classroom, but also the emotional commonalities that were shared amongst them. Following the five weeks of guided imagery sessions, I interviewed the students asking the same questions that I had asked in the pre-interviews. A culminating discussion was written using the information gathered from the interviews, the guided imagery sessions, and the responses heard during Wellness Time. From the various forms of in:6ormation gathered, four major themes became apparent. The themes were motivation to write, wellness, creative expression and positive behavior. I believed the students received from this whole guided imagery experience, a feeling of positive power. Since these students had so few means of attaining power in a productive manner, much of their life was spent attaining negative power through drug use, crime and sex. Guided imagery provided my students the opportunity to attain positive power; consequently, I was thankful that I had the tool of guided imagery in my teaching bag of tricks. There is nothing more heart warming than giving a child the gift of positive power.
vii, 104 leaves ; 29 cm. --
Imagery (Psychology) in children , Imagery (Psychology) -- Study and teaching (Secondary) , Learning disabled children -- Education -- Alberta -- Medicine Hat