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1. Ready

What are Permission Slips?

Permission slips fundamentally allow you to do something that might otherwise be “off-limits”. Unfortunately, in this day and age, talking about or expressing emotions has started to become one of these “off-limit” activities.
Brené Brown, Brown, B. (2017). Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Random House.
the researcher who pioneered the idea of writing personal permission slips, argues that giving yourself permission to experience and engage with emotions allows you to be your most authentic self. For example, when Brené was invited to record an episode of Super Soul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey, she gave herself the
“permission to be excited, have fun, and be goofy” Brown, B. (2010). The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Hazelden Publishing.
despite the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure (i.e. vulnerability) associated with being perceived as ‘uncool’ or not ‘in control’. As a teacher, it might be necessary to give yourself permission to make mistakes.

Alternatively, a student may give themselves the permission to ask questions or to tell others when they are feeling nervous about an activity or event. It is important to note that permission slips should only be used as a tool to move us
toward engagement and connection. Brown, B. (2019, August). Permission Slips. Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.
For example, it would not be acceptable for a student to give themselves permission to sleep through a class or to not participate in a discussion.

Why is it helpful to write yourself a permission slip?

In her #daringclassrooms hub,
Brown suggests Brown, B. (2019, August). Permission Slips. Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.
that the primary function of permission slips is to set explicit intentions and argues that permission slips “... can be useful tools for teaching us to give thought to what we might need from ourselves and others in terms of support”. Not only this but, similar to how
writing down your goals Matthews, G. (2013). Goals research summary. Dominican University.
significantly increases goal achievement, writing down your intentions increases your awareness of and commitment to following through with the intended behaviours. In this way, permission slips help increase your sense of self-accountability. Although this activity is personal and students should not be forced to share, there is also
evidence Brown, B. (2019, August). Permission Slips. Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.
to suggest that the sharing process can build trust and connection and that making a
public commitment Matthews, G. (2013). Goals research summary. Dominican University.
is more effective than a personal commitment. However, the sharing process can only be beneficial when the classroom environment is safe, supportive, accepting, and respectful of differentiating needs. Make sure that you give students the option to pass if they do not feel comfortable sharing their intentions.

Where can I Learn More?

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

#daringclassrooms Integration Idea: Permission Slips

University of Minessota: Daring to be Vulnerable with Brené Brown

The Teaching Experiment: Improving Meetings with Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Julieboll Consulting: COVID-19 Permission Slips

Dr. Gail Matthews: Harvard Goals Research Summary

What will students learn?

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to…

  • Set intentions for how they choose to show up at school and in the greater community
  • Develop a sense of self-accountability and recognize their ability to influence behaviour
  • Cultivate greater awareness and empathy for other students’ needs as well as how they might be able to support those needs
References
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Brown, B. (2010). The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Hazelden Publishing.

Brown, B. (2017). Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Random House.

Brown, B. (2019, August). Permission Slips. Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.

Matthews, G. (2013). Goals research summary. Dominican University.

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