Mrs Bissonnet’s Attachment Awareness Training
During our ’15 Minute Forum’, a small section on the week where staff take it in turns to share training and techniques with other staff members, we had some excellent information from Mrs Bissonnet on attachment awareness.
Mrs Bissonnet recently completed a MA in Sequential Design and Illustration at The University of Brighton producing an illustrated book ‘Attachment and Me’ which aims to reassure new parents by sharing her own reflections on becoming a mother alongside her own explanation of attachment theory.
What is attachment awareness?
Psychologist John Bowlby describes attachment as the “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings” (Bowlby 1969). The quality of the earliest and most fundamental relationship – between the baby and their caregiver – creates connections in the brain which affect the way that we view ourselves, and the world, in later years. The understanding is that if humans do not have their emotions regulated, or soothed, when they are young, then they might find it more challenging to control their own feelings and actions in later life. During the training, Mrs Bissonnet explained that to be attachment aware, you need to have an understanding of the impact of significant relational traumas and losses upon children.
Why do teachers need to understand attachment theory?
Attachment affects brain development and the way children are able to learn.Mrs Bissonnet explains ‘not all students we teach have a secure attachment and not all have a secure base. Some students might have these things sometimes, or they are able to have it from someone who isn’t their main caregiver.’ By understanding attachment theory, we can firstly empathise with affected pupils in school. Furthermore, we can work to create strategies to support these students and build healthy relationships.
Mrs Bissonnet continues, ‘A child who has a secure attachment with their care givers will more naturally be confident and resilient learners, their experiences mean their brains have developed to expect positive relationships with adults. When a student has a secure relationship with a teacher they have the motivation, confident and resilience to attempt tasks.’
What can we do to help
- “Felt security” in school can help children’s brains to build ‘mental models’ – maps in their brains to have positive expectations, resilience and increase their ability to learn.
- Reliability – routines, showing up for students by being interested, supporting them, and showing we care about them.
- Consistent in our expectations – these might differ for different students depending on their attachment needs.
- Understanding – having and showing empathy
- Being calm
- Modelling how our connected brains work – naming emotions and feelings, explaining and showing how we manage them.