Social Skills for Life: Managing Strong Emotions
Running Time: 20 Minutes
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Using a fast-paced, entertaining blend of short dramatic situations and animated cartoons, the program helps students deal with strong emotions. Students see how the brain goes into "reptilian" mode when emotions run high. They learn to identify their own emotional triggers and recognize their unique patterns of responding to those triggers, both physically and emotionally. An ensemble of engaging teens models three distinct styles of reacting in emotionally charged situations: aggressive, passive, and assertive. They demonstrate strategies that can help young people keep their cool when they are in danger of losing it or when someone is losing it with them. Scenario topics include romantic jealousy, a conflict with a co-worker, and peers' reactions to a learning disability.
video, plus teacher’s resource book, student handouts and pre/post tests in digital format
Chris Awards: Honorable Mention
Freddie Awards: Finalist
A diverse group of teen actors role-play emotionally-charged scenarios and model strategies for assertively dealing with strong emotions. The actors explain that the reptilian brain controls the fight or flight response. They encourage viewers to identify their own unique triggers that arouse powerful reactions. Physical cues such as blushing and shaking are discussed. The audience is advised to take control and respond from the thinking brain instead of the reptilian. The calming techniques of deep breathing, pleasant mental imagery, and positive self-talk are promoted. Three reaction styles are modeled in each situation: aggressive (“lash-out”), passive (“self-doubt”), and assertive (“chill-out”).
The actors are dynamic and the scenarios believable. Editing is snappy; live action is interspersed with animated clips. The video is supplemented with a teacher’s resource book containing student activities and fact sheets. The program, while designed with special needs students in mind, is appropriate for all students. The film could be useful in both therapeutic and classroom settings. It would support curricula in health, counseling, and psychology.
- Wendy Highby, University of Northern Colorado
Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)