George Lucas Educational Foundation

Ray Mathis

In order to teach health education better, I became certified in a form of CBT called Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. I used what I learned from that training to develop a whole new approach to health education called the ABC Approach to Cognitive, Emotional and Behavioral Self-Management and Self-Improvement. So much of what we do in health education is like an offensive game plan in team sports. However, we neglect to give young people a defensive game plan against all the automatic irrational beliefs that pop into their heads at crucial times that cause them to generate a dysfunctional amount of emotion and negatively impact their behavioral and lifestyle choices. This approach is the missing defensive game plan that's always been missing from health education.

Since I retired from the classroom in 2007, I've been speaking at conventions when and wherever I can, to teachers and students, and teaching grad classes about what I now call "A Mental and Emotional Tool Kit for Life" for teachers, students and parents. It involves teaching teachers, students and parents 10 "tools" to help them get into the best cognitive and emotional place to make the best behavioral and lifestyle choices for themselves and others. The "tool kit" approach can help mentally and emotionally vaccinate young people against all those things that go wrong in and outside the classroom, now and later in their lives. It can serve as a form of mental and emotional self-defense against bullying and others such problems. It can give any young person the mental and emotional fitness to function at levels they are capable of now and later in life. The "tools" should be part of teacher preparation for their sake and their students. I teach one grad class called "A Tool Kit for Teachers" and another called "Troubleshooting with Troubled and Troublesome Students" based on the "tools" to help them make less mistakes with young people (we make plenty, especially with the most troubled and troublesome), to be more effective, to reduce their personal and professional stress, and improve their mental, emotional and physical health. I believe we should be taking the same approach to teaching these "tools" as we do with reading and writing across the curriculum; every teacher, in every class, with every student, at every opportunity. The beauty is that it wouldn't require any new teachers, classes or funds to start doing so at a time when budgets and staffing are an issue.

Areas of Interest: 
Health Education,
Social and Emotional Learning,
Life Skills