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Summer 2010


Personal and Professional Tools for Fostering Stress Resiliency

for Teachers and Others
Credits: 3 credits (45 contact hours)
Instructor: Emina Ibragic-Burak
Course Dates : 4 weeks, June 21-July 17
Delivery Model: Live on-campus combined with online

 meeting dates for one week of on campus classes:

o June 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 = 3 hours each day. Total of 15 hours
o Meeting Time: 5:00-8:00 pm
o Location: University of Vermont
 Online course (Blackboard): 30 hours between June 26-July 17, 2010 (3 weeks)
o 10 lessons, each 3 hours. Total of 30 hours of online work

Course Description:

This course is offered in combination of a one-week on-campus class and 3 weeks on-line (Blackboard).
The online course includes 10 lessons, each lesson requires 3 hours for completion.

This highly interactive course offers teachers and others practical guidelines for creating stress-resiliency
at work and at home. In-depth study of the components of stress management for thriving during these
pioneering times of change will be coupled with experiential learning. Students will receive guiding
principles and strategies for a whole person approach to managing stress, creating life balance, and
maximizing health and vitality which are applicable to their personal and professional lives as well as in
the classroom setting. The focus of this course will be on building a strong personal foundation with
emphasis on how it fits into the overall process of personal growth and development. Students will
select either specific classroom strategies for all grade levels, or specific personal and professional
strategies for life balance.


Students will understand the value of adopting specific stress management strategies in order to gain a
new freedom to build a life of rewards and lasting fulfillment. Tools and techniques will include how to
build stress resiliency in the following areas:
Work/home balance, job stress, social stress, stress related to personality, and financial stress. Many of
these theories and strategies can be adopted to classroom teaching.
This course will answer questions such as:
 How can I increase my performance and productivity, and improve my mental, emotional and
physical health?
 How can I help my students be more persistent and resilient fighters in life’s struggles?
 What can schools do to toughen children for tomorrow’s more demanding world?
 How do aspects of my personality contribute to stress? What skills do I need to acquire to
become more optimistic, self confident, and effective in my communications?
 How can I achieve new levels of physical, mental, and emotional flexibility?

Learning Outcomes:

 Define wellness and lifestyle diseases

 Describe the health belief model, transtheoretical model, and theory of reasoned action of
planned behavior.
 Describe how the mind and body communicate biologically.
 Define psychosomatic illness and disease
 Describe how faith, religion, and spirituality affect health.
 Describe meditation and image visualization and how they impact health.
 Define the terms stress, stressor, eustress and distress
 Define the mental and emotional components of stress
 Describe problem-focused and emotional focused coping strategies
 Explain the role of positive emotions in mental health
 Describe strategies for coping with stress
 Describe how certain personality traits contributes to stress.


Attendance Expectations:
Students are expected to come to every class the first week and cannot miss one day. The first week of
class attendance is mandatory. Students are also expected to participate fully in the online classroom

Contribution in Class:
Students are graded according to class participation, participation in on-line blogs and wikis and
participation in online student projects.

Required and/or recommended readings:

Textboo (Required): Seaward, Brian Luke. Managing Stress. Jones and Bartlett Publishers 5 . Ed. 2006

Choose one of the following books for a book report:

 Janis, I.L. Stress, Attitudes, and Decisions. Praeger, New York, 1982
 Kleinke, C. Coping with Life Challenges. Waveland Press, Prospect Heights, IL 2003
 Kobasa, S., Maddi, S., and Kahn, S. Hardiness and Health: A Prospective Study, Journal of Personality and
School Psychology 42(1): 168-177, 1982.
 Lazarus, R. Stress and Emotions. Springer, New York, 1999
 Ornstein, R., and Sobel, D. Healthy Pleasures. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1989
 Peale, N.V. The Power of Positive Thinking. Prentice-Hall, New York, 1987
 Seligman, M. Authentic Happiness. Free Press, New York, 2002
Description of Class Assignments

 One book report (see listings)

 Behavior Change Paper: 30 pages.
 Synthesis of personal foundation work,
 Observations and reflection from in-class discussions and postings from online wiki, blogs and
discussion board.
 Readings from text and supplemental readings
 2 research articles with integration of readings and coursework.
 Worksheets: Completion of assigned worksheets and self assessments
 Assigned readings for each class from textbook, articles, and book of choice for book report.
 Class participation: 12 posts (4 each week) for online blogs, wiki, and discussion board.
 Course curriculum: team of 2-3 students will collaborate on-line blogs to design a stress management
class curriculum for the grade level of choice.
 Exam: Demonstration of content knowledge. Comprehensive exam of on-line questions. Open book

Percentage Contribution of Each Assignment:

 Book report: 10 percent (see supplemental reading list)

 Personal paper: 20 percent
 worksheets, self assessments and assigned readings: 10 percent
 Class curriculum: 20 percent
 Exam: 20 percent
 Classroom participation and online participation in wiki, discussion board and blogs:20 percent

In Class Reading Assignment:

Week 1: Lesson 1-5 (Chapters 1-16 (pages 5-244)

Week 2: Lesson 6-9 (Text: Chapters 17-26: pages 260-366)
Week 3: Lesson 10-13 (Readings: book report)
Week 4: Lesson 14-15 (readings: book report)

Instructional Sequence:
1. The Nature of Stress/Wellness Lifestyle
 Definition of stress
 Types of stressors
 Wellness defined
 Wellness Lifestyle defined

2. The Mind/Body Connection

 Stress & the immune system
 Stress & the brain
 Psychoneuroimmunology
 The role attitudes and emotions play in disease
 Meditation and relaxation techniques

3. Personality & Stress

 The disease prone personality
 The hardy personality
 Helplessness/hopelessness
 Emotional & social intelligence
 Pessimism/optimism
 Self-esteem

4. Emotional Health/Creating Positive Emotions

 Core beliefs
 Cognitive distortions
 Toxic thinking
 Locus of control
 Moods/feelings
 Separate realities
 Cognitive restructuring

5. Building a Strong Personal Foundation

 Orienting around values
 Getting needs met
 Eliminating tolerations
 Setting boundaries & raising standards
 Restoring integrity
 Unfinished business
 Building reserves

6. Building Healthy Relationships: Social stress

 Balancing family and work
 Job stress/coping with change
 Resolving key family relationships
 Developing a social network
 Listening and attending skills
 Building intimacy

7. The Gift of Inner Resources

 The healing power of spirituality
 The art of self-renewal
 Living in the present
 Finding meaning and purpose in life

8. Healthy Lifestyles
 The role of nutrition in health
 The role of physical activity in health
 Sleep
9. The keys to Successful Change
 Setting goals
 Developing an action plan
 Stages of readiness