SGU’s Department of Bioethics Delivers Crash Course in Conscious Discipline

SGU’s Department of Bioethics Delivers Crash Course in Conscious Discipline

Can a family and the community be trained to create a positive environment within which children can reach their potential?  Dr. Barbara Landon, among a growing group of psychologists and behaviorists, thinks so – and is offering free, intense, training to a diverse audience of parents, teachers, caregivers and others

Beginning Tuesday, February 25, Dr. Barbara Landon will present her crash course in Conscious Discipline condensing an eight-month-long training into eight weekly sessions. Free to the SGU community and wider public, the training is booked solid for this semester with 60 participants to attend in the morning at the Youth Centre in Grand Anse, and another 45 to attend in the evening at St. George’s University.

A neuropsychologist, licensed psychologist and professor within the School of Medicine, Dr. Landon introduced Conscious Discipline at SGU in 2009 and the program has grown immensely since then through support from the Departments of Bioethics and Educational Services, Reach Grenada, the GAP, and local educators and government officials. Conscious Discipline is an approach developed by psychologist and teacher Dr. Becky Bailey, whom Dr. Landon has worked with and considers a mentor. The program aims to promote social and emotional intelligence in children, positive atmospheres in families, and school environments that encourage learning rather than fear and bullying. It is brain-based and offers adults practical, evidence-based techniques for teaching children self control, conflict resolution, character development, and social skills.

“Our objective is to teach adults that discipline is not something we do to children but something we develop within them,” said Dr. Landon. “We have to help shape the brains of our children so they can grow into adults who can solve problems. Disciplining through fear not only doesn’t work, but also, negatively affects the way the brain develops. There are now several neuroimaging studies demonstrating that harsh parenting reduces gray matter in key areas of the brain; there are also hundreds of studies demonstrating the correlation of harsh parenting with poor social skills, reduced achievement, and criminal behavior. If we want children to learn and solve problems, we cannot govern them through fear and guilt.”

In the past, Dr. Landon has taught Conscious Discipline to persons at SGU’s Grand Anse Playgroup and Grenada Montessori and Preparatory School, as well as to teachers, guidance counselors, SGU staff, and faculty and caregivers at several Grenadian homes for children, and the program has definitely made some fans.

“Conscious Discipline is one of the most powerful, relevant and effective skills that everyone should seek to acquire and master,” said Nakazi Cornwall, an Executive Secretary at St. George’s University.

Teachers have also found immense value. Catherine Lalgie, a teacher of 2½- to 4-year-olds at Gateway Academy, gave Conscious Discipline a try after her principal recommended it.

“I was having some serious problems dealing with disciplining my students; I did not think I would continue after the first term,” she said. “I was skeptical at first, but when I tried Conscious Discipline for the first time in class, I was surprised to see how the children responded. At the end of my term, I no longer felt burnt out because of trying to discipline and I saw great changes in the behavior of the children. Conscious Discipline really works, and I know it can work for any child no matter which culture they are from.”

Dr. Landon hopes to begin offering Conscious Discipline training twice yearly. “We are trying to build the idea that adults can be mindful, and if adults are mindful, then they can teach their children to be mindful, which means they will be able to self-regulate, think logically and connect. If we could have this, we could have a completely different world.”

For more information on Conscious Discipline training or to indicate interest in upcoming trainings, please contact Dr. Landon at blandon@sgu.edu.

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