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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL skills. Children can benefit from classmates and teachers who model solid self-regulation skills. Teachers can help students practice self-control by practicing it them- selves. Current research indicates students with minimal self-regulation can strengthen their skills when influenced by a teacher who consistently practices self-control. Students who trust their teacher’s ability to main- tain self-regulation can better maintain continuous self-control them- selves (Bailey 2011). This does not mesh with the old idea teachers may have heard in preservice trainings that outward clues of strength—such as being stern and formal the first six weeks—are what teachers should strive for. Today educators have a choice: Is the goal to build self-regulation skills in students or to focus on children who are subdued because of fear? Students who sense emotional security will achieve greater heights. Since test scores are becoming a significant portion of teacher evaluation, maintaining emotional security has taken on more significance. Here are some suggestions for strengthening self-regulation: When students are not able to function at a high level and their brains are oper- ating on high-alert mode, they may present physical actions of aggres- sion or engage in blistering verbal outbursts. Or they may not be able to hear their teacher when functioning at this level (Perry 2004). Teachers who understand this know to comment on what they are seeing instead of a student’s words. For example, the teacher says, “I see you looking at the ceiling,” instead of “Don’t use that language here.” Such statements of observations—I see you are looking at the ceiling—are best made in a nonjudgmental and relaxed manner. When said in this manner, the child’s shoulders are likely to drop as she takes a deep breath and relaxes. She may not have actually heard the teacher’s words, but she has been assured by the teacher’s own self-regulation and calmness (Bailey 2011). Seeing this calmness take over, the teacher says, “I’m guessing something has upset you. What do you need to have happen so you can feel safer? In my room everyone has a right to feel safe!” This exchange will convince the student that the teacher is primarily interested in building a resolution, not disciplining the child. Discipline rarely builds resolutions or strength- ens self-regulation skills. The more a child is able to stay self-regulated, the greater will be his ability to remain calm and learn. The best disci- pline is respect and caring (Grille 2005). Responding with a calm reaction can help return trust and calmness and reinstate the learning process (Levine and Kline 2007). The more time distressed children remain calm, Implementing the Trauma-Informed Classroom COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 33