link back to CSEE's home page
logo

What is Peer Meditation?

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on February 20, 2015

What is Peer Mediation?

Mediationis a way of helping individuals or groups resolve conflicts by talking with each other instead of fighting or walking away.

A peer mediator (or a team of peer mediators) works with individuals or groups who are in conflict.  The peer mediator is trained to listen and to help resolve the conflict.  The peer mediator does not tell the people what to do.  The peer mediator has no power to enforce a solution, and the peer mediator must never take sides.

The goal of mediation is to help people in the conflict create a solution that works for both of them – a win/win solution – even if they both have to compromise a little bit on what they want.

Mediation Session #1

Goals:

  • Students will learn the importance of note-taking and reflective listening.
  • Students will learn how to take notes.

Overview:

Note Taking and Reflective Listening - Demonstration

Brainstorm – Why take notes / What is important to note?

Practice in Pairs

Game – President

Activities:

  • Demonstration of Note Taking and Reflective Listening: Working with a co-teacher or a student you have prepared in advance, demonstrate note taking by asking for a story – about what happened last weekend, or another event/idea, and taking simple, shorthand notes. Repeat back the story, to show that you have gotten all the details correct.
  • Brainstorm: Why take notes?  Why is it important to repeat back what you have heard? Show the students your notes and ask how you were able to repeat the whole story by just having down a few simple notes. Brainstorm important things to note and what things can be left off.  Important things to have down could include:

Names       

Times

One or two word descriptions of important issues

Feelings – how parties feel about one another and any conflicts 

 Needs – a party suggests something needed from the other party.

Offers – a party suggests, even in passing, that they would be willing to do to resolve the conflict.

  • Practice in Pairs:  Break the group up into pairs, and ask one member of the pair to talk about the funniest thing that has ever happened to them, while the other person takes notes.  After 2-3 minutes, ask the person taking notes to repeat back what they have heard, and check how accurate their listening has been.  Then switch, and repeat the process.

Mediation Session 2

Goals:

  • Students will learn the importance of active listening and begin to practice listening actively.

Schedule:

Game – Dragon’s Gold

Active Listening - Demonstration of poor listening

Brainstorm – Why important, what makes active listening?  

Practice – Concentric Circles

Activities:   

  • Game: Dragon’s Gold.  The group forms a circle with one person at the center.  Beneath the person at the center of the circle is a flag or piece of cloth or paper which represents the dragon’s treasure.  The dragon’s job is to guard the treasure, while the people in the circle must get the treasure away from her/him.  They must sneak into the circle, one at a time, without the dragon noticing.  If the dragon touches them or if the teacher sees more than one person at once trying to get the treasure, anyone inside the circle is frozen. This person must stay in the same position until someone is successful with taking the treasure.  The person that succeeds becomes the new dragon.
  • Demonstration of poor listening:  In front of the class, ask your co-teacher (or a prepared student) about his or her weekend.  As they tell you in detail, do everything to demonstrate poor listening.  Don’t make eye contact.  Don’t look at them.  Use distant body language, lean away from them, look around and out the window, act bored, interrupt them and talk to someone else, etc.
  • Pause the demonstration and ask the class what just happened.  Try to name everything which showed you weren’t interested.  Ask your co-teacher or student how it felt not being listened to, and let the class know that, perhaps, the most important part of mediation is active listening. People have conflicts when they don’t feel they are heard.  If you make people feel like they are heard, that’s progress to understanding one another.
  • Brainstorm a list of things that show you are listening well.  Be sure this list includes:

Eye contact

Leaning towards the person

Asking clarifying questions

Repeating what the other person says to make sure you understand

 “Open” and interested body language

  • Concentric Circles– divide the class into two groups and have one group form a circle facing outwards, while the other group forms a larger circle facing inwards so that everyone in the circle has a partner.  

Ask the inside circle to tell their partners about their families, while the outside circle practices active listening.  After one minute, tell them to switch roles, with the outside circle talking and the inside circle listening.

Rotate the inside circle to the left, and repeat the exercise asking about their favorite thing to do on the weekend.

Rotate the outside circle to the left, and repeat the exercise asking about the thing they are most proud.

Debrief the activity.  Ask for one interesting thing the students learned about different people in the group, ask how it felt to be listened to, and ask what people did well and what needs improvement.

Anti-Bullying Support Systems at Home and at School

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on February 20, 2015

Anti-Bullying Support Systems at Home and at School

By Amy Williams @AmyKWilliams1

 

What do you think of when you hear the word TOMATO?

Most people envision spaghetti sauce, pico de gallo, BLT’s, or toppings for a salad. However, our family has come to loathe the garden staple. We didn’t start out despising this summertime treat--in fact we usually anticipated it.

That was until this past summer, when bullying found it’s way into our child’s life and left us reeling from pain and hurt.

Bullying Happened To Us

Sixth grade had just begun: the year was fresh and full of promise. Our 12 year old son eagerly signed up to play football in a recreational league. As we signed the permission slips, we were completely unaware of the misery we had just invited into our child’s life.

Somewhere between the school and practice fields, our son found himself the target of a bully. It started when a pile of rotten tomatoes was discovered in a ditch along the route the team walked to the field. Every afternoon, boys would smash the decayed globs into our son’s face and taunt him with cruel words.

Over and over this happened.

Then it escalated to pelting our son with walnuts. When the bully grew tired of that method, he began tossing our child’s cleats onto the roof of the concession stand.

Soon our son didn’t want to play football. He began having terrible stomach aches and cried that he couldn’t go to school. His grades began to drop and we received emails from concerned teachers about his changing personality.

We knew something was happening, but our son kept quiet, protecting his tormentors.

Finally, it was our turn to drive the carpool, and we noticed our son walking to the van barefoot and holding back tears. After the other boys had been delivered, our son finally erupted into spasms of tears and wails.

His admission finally made sense. He had been displaying a lot of the typical signs of being bullied:

●       Disrupted sleep schedules

●       Lack of interest in his hobbies and pastimes

●       Worried emails from teachers

●       Declining grades

●       Sickness

Gaps Between Home And School

We had been clueless to his suffering until that afternoon.

The next morning, we made a few calls to his teachers and coaches. Immediately, the teachers and administration took our situation seriously. They paid extra attention during class, transition times, and lunch.

All of the intervention was wonderful, except that there was no way to extend this beyond the brick walls of the school.

Suddenly, the world outside of home and school became frightening for our tween. We couldn’t be with him 24 hours a day. Our child had to deal with his bully at practice, Scouts, church, and even the swimming pool!

What were we supposed to do?

Steps Schools Can Take to Address Reports of Bullying

Fortunately, our family felt supported and encouraged by the school administration. We know this isn’t always the situation. Here are some ways schools can be part of the support system needed:

Listen to Students: When students experiencing bullying encounter an administration that either tries to brush of or delegitimize their claims, the problem can become exponentially worse. One of the primary effects of bullying at school on children is making them feel unsafe at school. When school administrators are doing nothing to address an unsafe atmosphere, students can feel like they have no escape.

Address the Problem: Schools often avoid involvement with reports of bullying due to fear of running into bigger problems down the line, whether with the bully's parents or other school administrators. However, when failure to act can further jeopardize students' safety, steps should be taken immediately in almost all cases. This can take the form of anything from observing how the bully talks to the child, to questioning the bully him or herself.

Communicate with Parents: While addressing bullying itself should be a priority, communicating with parents of both bullied children and bullies is an important step to preventing bullying as well. This will ensure that proper steps can be taken at home to make sure children feel safe and supported.

Watch for Signs of Bullying: Students shouldn't feel like they're always being scrutinized, however they should feel that, if they were to be bullied, they would have the proper administrative recourse. Stopping bullying before it escalates is the best step to take in preventing bullying.

8 Tips For Mindful Parents

If a parent feels their child is being bullied, here are 8 strategies to help stop the situation from developing into a more serious problem:

●       Seek peer and mentor support. Look into a program that pairs a child with a mentor. Pairs spend quality time together to give a child extra encouragement.

●       Start a bullying awareness group in your community.Host a guest speaker or raise awareness with groups like Stand For The Silent.

●       Join online anti-bullying communities. Groups offer emotional support and practical resources for families dealing with bullying situations

●       Document acts of harassment. Be proactive-save evidence in case you seek intervention from the authorities.

●       Be present. An adult presence can be a great deterrent to bullying. Volunteer at events and listen to your child. Let them know you have their back.

●       This will pass.  Reassure children the situation will get better.

●       Model good social skills and positive interactions. Children are watching and emulating what they see. Demonstrate kindness.

●       Monitor a child’s cell phone and Internet activity. Cyberbullying is quickly becoming the favored method to attack a victim. Keep children safe and track their Social Media pages, texts, and friend lists.

Strengthening Anti-Bullying Support

Ultimately, after a lot of deliberation, we decided to contact the aggressor’s parents. This might not work for everyone, but we knew the family and felt it was the best solution. After conferring with each other and a lot of discussion with both boys, the bullying finally tapered off.

It’s easy to overlook bullying, especially when children hide the truth from parents. We need to be aware that bullying prevention starts at home. Something as simple as taking an extra minute to reinforce positive social skills can make a big impact in the life of all children.

Society needs to be vigilant and strengthen anti-bullying support so life doesn’t surprise others with rotten tomatoes.

Research Roundup

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on December 16, 2014

Outlook on instruction: Class around the clock District Administration Magazine 

The idea that all students can learn the same material through the same old teaching methods is slowly changing.  Today, students are becoming more empowered to shape how they learn.  The availability of technology resources such as individual laptops for each student make this vision easier for educators who are now able to direct individual attention to students working on different assignments.  With these technology advances making the classroom environment accessible 24/7, collaboration and discussion between students and educators is thriving.

Big Drop In Students Being Held Back, But Why? NPR Blogs 

The decline in the number of students who are held back nationwide has declined with much mystery surrounding the reasons behind the decrease. Little attention to measuring grade retention has contributed to the lack of knowledge. Researchers have identified two reasons for the phenomenon: holding students back is costly and incentives for schools and districts to improve their graduation rates are too great to prevent advancement. On the upside, some educators indicate the progress is due to more students being identified earlier and having their needs met before the gaps in learning become too wide. 

The Race Gap in High School Honors Classes National Journal 

In fall 2013, students entering the University of California averaged over a 4.0 weighted high school GPA. A GPA above 4.0 is achieved by advanced placement classes. Unfortunately, not all students have access to these courses and minority students especially are more likely to attend high schools that do not offer these advanced classes compared to their white counterparts. Read on for highlights about the differences in advanced placement and college prep courses by ethnicity. 

5 Critical Questions for the Innovative Educator Connected Principals Blog 

New technologies are constantly being introduced to classrooms to enhance learning.  It is often difficult to keep up with the latest without disrupting the student classroom.  This article gives 5 tips on how educators can stay focused on what is most important in the classroom: the student.  

Research Roundup

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on December 12, 2014

Online Bullies Pull Schools Into the Fray NY Times

Cyberbullying seems to be growing at a faster rate than in the past.  Laws and case rulings have been contradictory leaving school principals unclear as to what authority they hold in regards to behavior outside of school. Because of the ambiguity in laws, a strong disconnect is present between school authority and student freedoms and rights.  It is unclear whether school administrators or parents should be educating and disciplining students.  Views from parents range from one extreme-schools getting involved and punishing “bullies”- to another extreme-allowing the matter to be handled by parents. These two conflicting views make it difficult for policies or programs to be developed.

 

FACT SHEET: Invest in US: The White House Summit on Early Childhood Education Whitehouse.gov

Obama is pushing for Education expansion; the sooner children are exposed to high-quality education, the better.  He urges high ranking officials and the public to come to a consensus and aide in the development of education policies to help children attain early access to preschool.  Obama hopes effective discussions between all stakeholders will result in a higher quality preschool.  Over $1 billion, along with federal awards, is being invested into action plans for young learners. Read more to find where the $1 billion investment is being allocated and for next steps that align with Obama’s vision for education.  

 

Connecting SEL and the Common Core, Part One Edutopia

Are young adults really ready for college? New college students may feel anxious about finding new friends, managing homework, choosing a major and knowing how to manage leisure versus study time. This blog digs deeper into student emotional well-being by defining what it means to be “college, career, and contribution ready” and how schools need to connect the lessons of core classes to student emotional well-being and self-esteem.  

Social Media Threats Case Heard By Supreme Court - Implications for Schools

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on December 04, 2014

Social Media Threats Case Heard By Supreme Court - Implications for Schools

 

The Elonis v. United States case is bringing increased attention to the already complicated question of how to deal with school threats made on social media. The case, which is before the Supreme Court, involves a 27-year-old man who made threatening comments on Facebook about shooting up an elementary school. The specific question before the Court is whether, when someone is prosecuted for making threatening statements, the government should be required to prove that that person intended his words to be taken as a threat. The crux of the issue is whether one should have to prove a subjective element (that the speaker intended his words to be taken as a threat) or merely an objective element (that a reasonable listener would have understood the words as a threat -- a much lower burden). Proponents of free speech argue that "proof of subjective intent is required to ensure that protected speech is not chilled by the fear of criminal prosecution" (ACLU).

How the Supreme Court decides this case will have broad implications for how school administrators address threats made by students on social media outlets and impact how youth are treated when accused of such conduct.

Regardless of what standard of proof the Court deems appropriate, however, any standard that allows us to criminalize youth for their behavior on social media will likely do more harm than good. For this reason, although working to protect free speech is vitally important, when it comes to this kind of behavior by youth, arguing over whether the objective or subjective standard is appropriate misses the true issue at hand: how can we best prevent this type of behavior from occurring and work to remedy its harm as effectively as possible. 

Countless studies and data show that criminalizing cyber-bullying will not decrease bullying and will instead cause a less satisfactory school climate for all students, as well as significant harm to those students labeled "bullies," including perpetuating the school-to-prison-pipeline[1] (for a more detailed discussion of the issue of criminalizing cyber-bullying, see: New York's Cyber-Bullying Law Struck Down http://conta.cc/1vxFtzM). Similarly, the answer to dealing with school threats on social media should not be to put kids in jail. Instead, we should be focusing on prevention.

NSCC has been supporting prevention efforts specific to such social media concerns through our school climate measurement work and the creation of a new dimension that provides schools with data on the perceptions about social media behavior from key stakeholder groups - parents, students, staff - directly. In this way, we are able to support a more meaningful dialogue within the school community about how social media is being used - positively or negatively - and what can be done to promote online behavior that reinforces their core values and codes of conduct in all areas of school life. Ultimately, when schools are equipped with the right information, they can be more effective in prevention efforts related to mean, cruel or potentially harmful behaviors before they manifest as negative actions that require a more serious response from the administration or other officials. 

If the Supreme Court finds that an objective standard is proper in Elonis, it would make it easier to focus on punishment rather than prevention. This is the wrong approach. Our efforts should be spent working to prevent and remedy the underlying behavior instead of making it easier to criminalize the behavior and providing more opportunity to further crowd the school-to-prison-pipeline.

[1] R. Skiba, A. Cohn, & A. Canter, Zero Tolerance and Alternative Strategies, in  HELPING  CHILDREN AT  HOME AND SCHOOL  II: HANDOUTS FOR  FAMILIES AND  EDUCATORS, S4:103-S4:106 (A. Canter, L. Paige, et al., eds. 2004); National Association of School Psychologists, Zero Tolerance and Alternative Strategies: A Fact Sheet for Educators and Policymakers , NASP ONLINE, http://www.nasponline.org/resources/factsheets/zt_fs.aspx (last accessed April 24, 2014); American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force, Are Zero Tolerance Policies Effective in the Schools? An Evidentiary Review and Recommendations , AMERICAN  PSYCHOLOGIST, Vol. 63, No. 9, 852–862 (Dec. 2008) (hereinafter “Are Zero Tolerance Policies Effective in the Schools?” ).

 
Page 1 of 47 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›