School climate

Book: Managing 21st Century Classrooms

February 11, 2014 Avoiding power struggles

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 […]

See more… →

Stress and the Brain

May 4, 2013 Body and 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 […]

See more… →

“Bully” is a Four-Letter Word

March 13, 2013 Counselors

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 […]

See more… →

Are We Still Guilty of Gender Stereotyping?

January 27, 2013 Counselors

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 […]

See more… →

What’s Wrong with I-Messages?

January 14, 2013 Avoiding power struggles

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 […]

See more… →

Improving Student Behavior through Positive School Climate

January 13, 2013 Behavior Management

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 […]

See more… →

What’s so Hard About Win-Win?

January 8, 2013 Avoiding power struggles

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 […]

See more… →

Survey: Is Your School an Emotionally Safe Place?

January 6, 2013 Counselors

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 […]

See more… →

Stressful or Painful School Experiences

January 6, 2013 Counselors

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 […]

See more… →

Ways to Improve the School’s Social Culture

January 6, 2013 Counselors

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, […]

See more… →

Jane Bluestein Discusses Emotionally Safe Schools

December 26, 2012 Assessment and Testing

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 […]

See more… →

Picking up the Pieces

December 23, 2012 Blog

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 […]

See more… →

Staying Positive in the Face of Negativity and Horror

December 15, 2012 Blog

Staying positive in the face of negativity and horror I am, by nature, a positive person. For my own sanity, and for the sake of maximizing my potential contribution to the world, I try to look for the good in all things. That said, I am also extremely sensitive to violence and cruelty, and seem […]

See more… →

Expert on Bullying Discusses Ways to Reduce the Problem

December 8, 2012 Counselors

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 […]

See more… →

Test Time

November 28, 2012 Assessment and Testing

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 […]

See more… →

Rules and Beliefs of Unhealthy Systems

November 26, 2012 Counselors

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 […]

See more… →

Bullying Checklist for Kids

November 26, 2012 Counselors

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. – […]

See more… →

The School as a Dysfunctional Family

November 25, 2012 Counselors

And some healthy, functional alternatives Similarities between schools and dysfunctional families are reflected in the beliefs or rules that can compromise the emotional climate of any system. Included for each category are alternatives which, when chosen, can have a positive impact on this climate, as well as on the relationships and performance of individuals functioning […]

See more… →