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Bank View Case Study: The Importance of Positive Meet and Greets in Creating Psychological Safety 

Here at Future Action, we advocate for positive meets and greets at the start of each lesson to build psychological safety for our young people and to create better outcomes for them and for us as educators.

A study involving 203 students across 10 classrooms validates previous claims that such greetings set a positive tone, increase engagement, and reduce disruptive behaviour. By spending a few moments welcoming students, teachers foster a sense of belonging, providing social and emotional support that enhances student investment in learning.

In the study, when teachers started class by welcoming students at the door, academic engagement increased by 20 percentage points and disruptive behaviour decreased by 9 percentage points—potentially adding “an additional hour of engagement over the course of a five-hour instructional day,” according to the researchers.

Our founder, Neil Moggan, found similar benefits when he implemented the same approach at his school as part of the ‘Connecting before Correcting’ approach which saw a 95% reduction in send outs in one term.

Proactive techniques like greeting students at the door help build a positive classroom culture, reducing disruptive behaviour and increasing academic engagement. Teachers who greeted students experienced a significant increase in academic engagement and decrease in disruptive behavior. These strategies not only improve classroom dynamics but also save time by minimising the need to react to problem behaviour.

Positive greetings create a welcoming classroom climate, fostering a sense of connection and belonging among students, which, in turn, enhances motivation and learning. Nonverbal gestures like handshakes or thumbs-up contribute to the authenticity of greetings, building trust between students and teachers. 

Furthermore, focusing on students' positive conduct and avoiding overreaction to minor disruptions leads to better behaviour and improved mental health and concentration among students.

The benefits extend to teachers as well, as a welcoming classroom environment can reduce stress and prevent burnout. By prioritising positive interactions and creating a supportive learning environment, teachers can enhance student engagement, reduce disruptive behaviour, and improve overall wellbeing for both students and themselves.

What are Zones of Regulation?

Zones of Regulation is a framework developed to help individuals, particularly children and adolescents, learn self-regulation skills and emotional control. It was created by Leah Kuypers, an occupational therapist, and is often used in educational settings, therapy sessions, and at home.

The Zones of Regulation categorises emotions and states of alertness into four colour-coded zones:

  • Blue Zone: This zone represents feelings of low energy, sadness, or tiredness. When in the blue zone, individuals might feel sad, tired, or even sick.

  • Green Zone: This zone represents a calm and focused state. When in the green zone, individuals feel happy, focused, and ready to learn.

  • Yellow Zone: This zone represents a heightened state of alertness and arousal, but not to the extent of being out of control. When in the yellow zone, individuals might feel frustrated, anxious, excited, or worried.

  • Red Zone: This zone represents an extremely heightened state of alertness and intense emotions. When in the red zone, individuals might feel angry, furious, or out of control.

The Zones of Regulation framework helps individuals identify and recognise their current emotional state, understand the triggers that lead them to different zones, and learn appropriate strategies to regulate their emotions and behaviours. 

By teaching individuals to recognise their feelings and understand how to manage them effectively, the Zones of Regulation can promote self-awareness, emotional regulation, and improved social interactions.

Brilliant Bank View Best Practice

We have seen some brilliant practice in special schools over the last 18 months and there is lots we can learn from Special Schools in mainstream settings as we deal with more challenging situations in our schools in a post lockdown education world.  

Bank View School is one of these outstanding special schools.  Based in Liverpool, the school serves students with complex learning difficulties, from age 4 to 19. They are committed to personalising their curriculum and therapeutic offer to meet all their students’ needs.  We are delighted to partner with them as part of the ‘Liverpool RISE Up’ programme.

On a recent visit to the school we witnessed some fantastic relationship building by brilliant educators where they combined a positive meet and greet with identifying students’ zones of regulation which we wanted to share to empower our community, especially in special schools.

Their fantastic deputy head Andy Wrigg, Head of PE Dan Burns, and Learning Mentor Alexandra Bennett, explain their strategy here: 

At the beginning of each day and lesson the staff will check in with our pupils as part of our positive meet and greet. We check in again at the end/end of the day. This can be done verbally, electronically or visually by using our posters/visuals. 

We have created a whole school electronic system which will help staff know what zone each child is in on that particular day. This is particularly helpful if you are a teacher who might see multiple classes throughout the day. 

Each of our children has a toolbox containing strategies to help them move between the zones. We have an excel sheet with every pupil and their personalised strategies for each zone. 

We run sensory circuits in school where our pupils can access to help regulate themselves. In addition, children who have been identified as having sensory needs have an individual sensory diet. Our children are encouraged to have sensory breaks during the day. 

The whole school took part in a weekly learning programme about the zones. Each lesson focused on a particular zone and the emotions associated with it. 

Activities included circle time, strategy discussions and an 'emotion of the week' this encouraged pupils to choose an emotion and the whole school would discuss this. 

Staff have regular training about the zones and have incorporated it in to the curriculum. For example, in English after reading a story, what zone do you think the character was in during this scene? 

If we were to give 3 top tips for colleagues if they want to implement a similar  approach, they would be:

  1. Make it personalised for your children- let them discuss the strategies with you, allow them to help design some posters.

  2. Make it relevant- use celebrities for posters, emojis... 

  3. Keep it interesting- switch it up, keep updating strategies and exercises. Change posters often to keep up with the times.’ 

Moving forward

By combining positive meet and greets with identifying their students' zones of regulation, the hero educators at Bank View are creating fantastic psychological safety for their young people and reaping the benefits.

Take The First Step

We have created the ‘Enhancing Engagement Scorecard’ to help you track your progress in implementing Trauma Informed PE practice within 2 minutes. 

This scorecard acts as a valuable tool for self-reflection and continuous improvement.  Click on the link to take the first step and get your score.

Taster Course For You

Once completed we will send you a login to our ‘Taster Trauma Informed PE Course’ so you can develop your understanding of what a trauma-informed approach is, what Adverse Childhood Experiences are, and how this affects children in the classroom at the moment and their life chances, based on the ACEs studies.

Take the first step today to creating a better future for you and your young people here.

Join Our Waiting List

We offer a range of services from courses, keynote speaking, consultancy and our upcoming book 'Time to RISE Up'. 

You can join our waiting list here and we will reach out to you:

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Have a brilliant week.

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