Archive | School climate

Book: Managing 21st Century Classrooms

How do I avoid ineffective classroom management practices? You know all those behavior management strategies we learned to use? Well guess what! Some of them are actually making things worse! It’s long past time for our approach to classroom management to catch up to the kids we’re teaching. This book explores common misconceptions about classroom management […]

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Stress and the Brain

Fact Sheet: The impact of stress on learning and behavior Here are a few things to remember about the impact of stress on the brain, and on an individual’s ability to function effectively— academically and behaviorally— in a learning environment. While originally developed for educators, this information is also relevant to parents, and applies to […]

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“Bully” is a Four-Letter Word

Understanding the Concept to Manage the Territory by Dr. Jo Ann Freiberg Columbine was the crucible. Whether because of its scale or because it happened in an upper middle class suburban community, what occurred in Littleton, Colorado forever changed how schools and communities in the United States respond to “bullying.” Prior to this event, the […]

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Are We Still Guilty of Gender Stereotyping?

A self-assessment survey for teachers, childcare workers, and others Ted, a 32-year-old math teacher, meets up with Jack, a 38-year-old PE teacher and Joyce, a 28-year-old science teacher in the hall on the first day of school. As they were discussing the recent departure of Debbie, the former school librarian, Ted suddenly notices Joan, the […]

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What’s Wrong with I-Messages?

Problems with a popular formula © 1991, 1999, 2003, 2013 This article was originally written for an issue of Families in Recovery, a parenting magazine that is no longer in print. Although the examples primarily feature parent-child interactions, the dynamics, issues, and alternatives are applicable to any relationship. A man in one of my workshops […]

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Improving Student Behavior through Positive School Climate

It’s not about the rules! From the January 2013 newsletter: There is a strange myth around kids’ behavior that if we just have enough rules (and severe enough punishments), the misbehaviors will disappear. What I’ve observed, however, is an even stranger reality in which the opposite tends to be true. In schools, the longer the […]

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What’s so Hard About Win-Win?

Getting past old win-lose traditions This article was written for Educational Leadership magazine. A similar version appeared in the September 2011 edition of that magazine. Talk about safe, respectful schools and at some point, the term win-win is bound to come up. First coined in the 1920s by human relations and management pioneer Mary Parker […]

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Survey: Is Your School an Emotionally Safe Place?

Assessing Climate in Individual Classrooms and Schools This survey lists a number of practices which characterize a school with an emotionally safe climate. It has been included on this site to help you evaluate your school’s goals, policies and intentions, as well as the degree to which each exists in actual practice. The list is […]

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Stressful or Painful School Experiences

Events and experiences that can compromise emotional safety The items on this list were compiled from a number of print resources as well as surveys and interviews conducted over a two-year period. (Many items suggested in the literature overlapped or were repeatedly expressed in interviews and surveys.) Feel free to add your own observations and experiences […]

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Ways to Improve the School’s Social Culture

Practical strategies for positive change • Pay attention to peer-to-peer interactions. Increase awareness, advocacy, and a willingness to take immediate, positive action (regarding how kids treat one another). • Advocate for the underdog. Encourage kids to connect with children who seem isolated. Emphasize the value of inclusion. • Interrupt any instances of meanness, name calling, […]

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Jane Bluestein Discusses Emotionally Safe Schools

Interview by Kate Bedford ©2001 Kate Bedford, Six Seconds Jane Bluestein is an award winning author and speaker. Her newest book, Creating Emotionally Safe Schools, is a comprehensive look at how we can make any educational institution safer— from an emotional, academic, behavioral, social, and physical standpoint. Formerly an inner-city classroom teacher, crisis-intervention counselor, and […]

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Picking up the Pieces

Reclaiming our essence “I can never read your writing.” “That was awful. Maybe you should leave the athletics to your sister.” “I can’t tell what this drawing is supposed to be.” “You’ll never be any good at…” Do any of these sound familiar? I know very few adults who grew up without at least some […]

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Expert on Bullying Discusses Ways to Reduce the Problem

Interview by Grace Merritt with Dr. Jane Bluestein © 2010, from the Hartford Courant, reported April 14, 2010 Dr. Jane Bluestein, an author and expert on bullying and creating a positive school environment, was the keynote speaker last week at a statewide conference on bullying prevention for teachers, school leaders, and parents. Bluestein believes that fostering […]

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Test Time

Bringing balance and sanity to our schools How often do you hear yourself urging a student, “Come on, you have to learn this. It’s going to be on the test!”? I hear this appeal in classrooms all the time, and am certainly guilty of having uttered it myself. Still, I have to laugh, because after […]

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Rules and Beliefs of Unhealthy Systems

Foundations of unhealthy adult-child group systems For much of my recent career, I have referred the following two lists (“Rules” and “Beliefs”) as the basis for the paradigm in which many of our current practices and polices exist. The information comes from Alice Miller’s work (cited below) and represents destructive, if common, ideas which cumulatively […]

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Bullying Checklist for Kids

Check Your Behavior Take this self-test to find out if you’re doing anything that’s considered to be bullying. Do you do any of the following on a regular basis? –  Purposely try to make another person feel bad. –  Make fun of people to hurt or embarrass them. –  Engage in lots of name-calling. – […]

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Bearing Witness

Support for children in crisis Teachers historically have been evaluated and rewarded for their academic performance. As a result, many teachers underestimate their own helping skills. —William Fibkins Tears are the language of the limbic brain. They ought not to be restricted. —Elaine DeBeaufort and Aura Sofia Diaz I write entirely to find out what […]

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