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TAPP: Teachers Accessing Peak Performance
by Cindy Baker
I am a licensed school psychologist who has been inspired to spread the use of EFT in schools since I first experienced the effectiveness of the technique in reducing my own anxiety in 2006. In 32 years of practicing school psychology, I have become increasingly aware of the effects of stress upon teacher and student wellness and student performance. School schedules allow little down time for teachers and students as expectations for all increase annually. I continue to observe more added to teacher and student plates with seemingly nothing ever taken off! Increasingly emotionally needy students, limited economic resources, high expectations from stakeholders and teacher and school evaluations tied to student performance create a recipe for overwhelming stress. As I witness an increasing number of stress-related complaints from teachers and students, it is apparent to me that school communities are experiencing an epidemic of stress bred from a culture of fear emanating throughout the general population. Parents fear that their children won’t be safe, that they won’t be competitive enough to succeed, that they can’t know how to prepare them for a world that is ever-rapidly changing. School administrators, teachers and students receive the trickle-down effects of this fear-based energy. It shows up in the form of increased irritability, focus problems, stomach and head aches, absenteeism, lower immune function and energy levels.
Introducing EFT to Schools
I found my first opening to introduce EFT to my school through an open-minded administrator who sought ways to improve teacher and student experiences. In an introductory EFT presentation to teachers, one faculty member experienced quick relief from physical symptoms and immediately became an advocate for EFT use with her fifth and sixth grade students. In an effort to increase EFT’s credibility, I conducted an informal research project with students using EFT daily in class for 9 weeks followed by analysis of their grades, pre- and post- treatment. Although statistical significance was not achieved in this study, students and teacher continued to use EFT as they found it useful in alleviating symptoms of stress and anxiety. The school nurse learned EFT and offered it to students who came to the Health Center with stress-related complaints, often finding quick relief which allowed students to return to class without the use of medication for their physical symptoms. A high school chemistry teacher noted that several of the students in his accelerated class experienced high anxiety levels and he agreed to daily use of EFT with his students to assess its impact upon test scores. Although no statistical significance was found in test score changes, several students reported that the tapping was helpful in alleviating their anxiety. Eventually, all students in the school grades 3-12 were taught EFT and many testified to its effectiveness in reducing stress symptoms both in and out of school.
Tap Your Way into Schools!
Conducting research to increase credibility of EFT is essential to expanding its use within educational institutions. I consulted with John Freedom, chair of ACEP’s Research Committee, to gain invaluable advice about how to proceed to design a comprehensive study investigating the effects of EFT upon teacher and student stress levels and student achievement levels. I knew that I would need to partner with a university to complete a credible research study. I was introduced to a school principal who was willing to launch the research project at her school. From the moment that I met Deb O’Shea, Principal of St. Pius X School, Toledo, OH, I knew that divine intervention was at work. She enthusiastically embraced the premise of the research project and introduced me to Mojisola Tiamiyu, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology and Director, Center for Applied Psychology at the University of Toledo. Although Dr. Tiamiyu had never heard of EFT or energy psychology, she embraced the technique with great enthusiasm and adeptly led me through the maze of requirements of the Department for Human Research Protections & Institutional Review Boards. She worked tirelessly to seek approval of the project before the holiday break so we could launch the process at the start of second semester. Of course, approval was granted in time.
Thereafter, all flowed with grace and ease…parent and teacher consent forms and student assent forms were signed, stress inventories were completed by participants and the basic EFT recipe was taught to teachers and students in participating classrooms. Teachers then agreed to “tap” with students twice daily in class and always before tests. The study remains underway. The principal facilitates the process by providing tapping reminders to all classrooms at the end of daily announcements. I send weekly emails to teachers that include tapping scripts they may choose to use. Teachers are encouraged to choose their own issue to tap on in order to clear their energy systems before taking problem requests from students. Teachers are tapping with their classes at transitional times to help students settle down and regain focus. Students are tapping to achieve peak performance before athletic events, performances and even throughout rehearsals and before the recent school musical.
TAPP: Tap to Access Peak Performance
I remain passionate about heightening awareness of the adverse effects of stress upon teacher and student performance and overall well-being. I welcome companions on this journey.
Consider introducing one or more of the following EFT/ energy psychology routines at your local school:
- Stress management sessions for teachers
- Relaxation sessions for students
- Weekly tapping sessions with principal
- Tapping sessions for teachers upon request
- Daily tapping by teachers and students in classrooms
- Weekly email “Tapping Tips for Teachers”
- Individualized stress management routines for students with special needs
- Tapping sessions for students upon request
- Group tapping sessions upon request
- Parent and family tapping sessions upon request
Shift the focus of your school community to access an increased sense of wellness and empowerment. Daily stress management practices allow school community members to clear anxieties or other problems that may interfere with performing at their best. By focusing upon individual and class stress levels, the emotional underpinnings that affect teacher and student motivation, energy level, self-esteem, ability to concentrate and overall sense of well-being are addressed. Daily use of stress management tools allow teachers and students to manage their emotions and stress levels and empowers them to make choices about the way they want to feel and the outcomes they wish to create. They take responsibility for themselves and the emotional energy they bring to school each day. Consider joining me in creating a prevention model that addresses a range of school issues – from classroom management to test anxiety, academic performance, behavioral issues and bullying. The results are a sound investment in return for a few minutes of class time each day. Encourage your educators and students to try it. The shift in experience is its own reward.