Lesson One consultants train teachers through various methods to assure that they can communicate with their students and effectively manage a classroom. One of Lesson One’s unique components is the introduction of Self-Control Time, a breakthrough approach developed by Lesson One, which is a tool that gives children the opportunity reduce stress. Self-Control Time is a simple breathing exercise that lasts three minutes, allowing children to calm themselves and refocus before starting the next classroom activity. Teachers use Self-Control Time three times a day (e.g. the start of school, after recess, and following lunch) to help children retain their self-control, get rid of stress, and refocus their energy. It is also used as a strategy that individual children may employ if they happen to lose their self-control. By teaching students to use self-control, Lesson One’s teachers are able to create stress-free atmospheres that provide a sense of academic safety and support a positive school climate (Schwartz, 2000).
According to Stephens (1998), a calm classroom environment “alleviates fears that provoke bad behavior, and promotes good behavior by all.” When students experience high levels of stress within the classroom, they become distracted and unable to concentrate. While a state of agitation and distraction impairs students’ cognitive learning and memory processes, scientists have found the opposite to also be true; calm, stress-free classroom environments improve cognitive function and allow students greater ability for rational thoughts, creativity, and self-control (McCraty, 2005). In addition to deleterious effects on classroom concentration and learning, student stress has been linked to the prevalence of anger and violent behavior in youth (Barnes, Bauza, & Treiber, 2003; Johnson, et al., 2009; & McCraty, 2005). In response to the literature, Barnes, Bauza, and Treiber (2003) have recommended implementing interventions similar to that of Lesson One that teach skills in stress reduction.