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As a means of supporting and advocating for inclusive public education, SKILD organized a workshop for educators and the newly appointed special educators in public schools in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. The training was held by Dr. Gregory Benner, a professor at the University of Alabama, for 73 attendees. Dr. Benner gave the educators different strategies on keeping the classroom engaged and self-disciplined. One of the strategies shared at the training was the warm welcomes strategy by which four adults greet learners, by name, every morning. Showing children care when they arrive makes them happier, healthier, and more engaged. Another tip was the 2 by 10 strategy. This strategy entails a 2-minute conversation with a child for at least 10 consecutive days. The short conversation should start with asking the child how he/she is feeling, precedes to asking them to describe the feeling, and then ending with an optimistic closure in the form of a compliment such as I believe in you.

Because focusing is an asset for learners in class, Dr. Benner advised educators to use the SLANT technique: Sit up, Listen, Ask Questions, Nod your Head, Track your educator. The five elements can be represented by a raise of hands and showing the educator “a five”. Class self-management is also essential so that the educator won’t have to interrupt teaching to silence or give a child a notice. For this reason, it is best to use non-verbal communication such as eye contact or a posture that would grab the child’s attention to go back to abiding by the SLANT. For this to succeed, the educator must practice these non-verbal signals with the class ahead of time so that they get used to them. Another non-verbal strategy is for the educator to stand by the child’s side, while teaching, to prompt him/her to think “how can I manage myself right now?”. When non-verbal gestures fail to work, the educator can use the three knocks strategy to grab the attention of the children without interrupting the class. Teaching children in class to manage themselves by paying attention to the educator’s gestures decreases stress and increases engagement.

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