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Research Roundup, September 10

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on September 10, 2014

Why Learning Space Matters Edutopia

Think about your classroom when you were in school. You know what you liked and what you didn’t like—so how can we change our classrooms today? The physical surroundings, including comfort, lighting, and visual displays all affect the way young students feel and learn. Edutopia makes suggestions on how to affordably alter your classroom in a “neuroscience-compatible” way.

Teaching Children Empathy NY Times

Harvard University’s Making Caring Common project recently released a report on the values that adults send to children, lacking value in empathy. “Empathy... is a function of both compassion and of seeing from another person’s perspective, and is the key to preventing bullying and other forms of cruelty.” This piece dives into 5 suggestions that Harvard project believes will develop empathy in children.

With new school year, new rules for parent engagement have begun Chalkbeat New York

NYC’s Chancellor Carmen Farina and teachers’ union President Michael Mulgrew discuss how to use the new contract for parent outreach effectively. With the new mandate, the Chancellor hopes to see improved schools as “communication about academics and social-emotional development” become more prevalent. Teachers must use 40 minutes of their time after school on Tuesdays for parent engagement activities, and “80 minutes on Mondays to be spent on in-school teacher training.”

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Research Roundup, February 14

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on February 14, 2014

How to Integrate Social/Emotional Learning Into Common Core Huffington Post

Do the Common Core State Standards undermine social-emotional learning? Many educators think so. In a recent Ed Week op-ed, an elementary principal argued that teachers were too busy teaching Common Core to address the social-emotional development of their students. I've heard the same argument from many teachers. This is troubling given that researchers strongly suggest that the learning process is 50 percent social-emotional and 50 percent cognitive.


Teachers are itching for a research-based approach - why don't we give it to them? New Statesman

You would be unimpressed if your doctor relied on intuition and "common sense", rather than the best lessons from up-to-date research, as the basis for deciding your course of treatment. In contrast with medicine, school teaching is not typically considered an evidence-based profession. If medical interventions are to be determined by research into practices that work, why should the education of our children be different?


Two NJ colleges launching 'social-emotional' training for teachers to reduce bullying NJ News

Rutgers University and the College of Saint Elizabeth are teaming up to launch an online training program to help teachers reduce bullying, campus officials said. The Social-Emotion Learning — or SEL — program will train teachers nationwide to help students manage their emotions, make better decisions and develop concern for others, developers said.


Holding kids back 'traumatic' Fairfax New Zealand News

Fifty years of research shows holding children back a year at school does more harm than good - but political legislators have ignored it, a visiting American education professor says. The insecurities associated with a child feeling like a failure have long-term effects on their education and lead to anti-social behaviour, Professor Emeritus David Berliner said...


This Research Roundup was compiled by Chanelle Spencer, Research Fellow at NSCC

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Enhancing SEL Learning at P169M

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on January 21, 2014

Our series of blog posts focused on social-emotional learning (SEL) continues. In this post, we introduce you to P169M, a District 75 school using SEL as a common language to enrich individual and group instruction needs.

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Promoting Social-Emotional Awareness at Mickey Mantle School

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on January 15, 2014

Developing a positive school climate is a partnership effort between the entire school community of educators, administrators, mental health professionals, students, and parents. Schools and districts across the nation are speaking to this effort in a number of innovate ways. In this post, we introduce you to Mickey Mantle School, a District 75 school developing a common language supportive of academic, social and emotional needs. Read on for the first of a series of blogs highlighting schools promoting high levels of social-emotional awareness and understanding.

By: Barry Daub, Principal, P811M-The Mickey Mantle School, New York, NY

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Adult Support from a Youth Perspective

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on October 07, 2013

By Yena Kwak

Yena Kwak is currently a 10th grader at Tenafly High School. Her story, From Middle School Student to Bully Prevention Advocate, appeared
in the June 2013 issue of School Climate Matters. The piece featured her perspective of the bullying climate of her then school, Tenafly Middle School, and her desire to engage and encourage students to become active upstanders. Here she describes her personal experience as a student and as a representative at NSCC’s Summer Institute. Read on for ways educators across the nation can support youth facing similar struggles.

 

Learning and Growing

School is where students take their first baby steps into society. This is where they begin to learn the essential social and emotional skills such as communication, cooperation, empathy and reflection. To learn these effectively, students need an environment where they feel accepted and safe. Problems such as bullying can interfere with this-students may be afraid, anxious and even terrified of their peers because they don’t know when and if they will be bullied. Bullying is both psychological and physical, where you feel nervous and also suspicious of the intentions of your peers. This
trauma distracts students from a successful learning experience. Adding to this, victims seclude themselves from others in the same school society, which sometimes leads to being ignored or facing rumors and name-calling. Gradually, victims become alienated in the school. To them, their school climate couldn’t be any worse.

 

Perfect Solutions Don’t Exist

Bullying, in my opinion, has no perfect solution. Many schools emphasize talking to adults when bullied, but I think this keeps the bully victim quiet. From around the age of ten and up, students become embarrassed and unwilling to talk to adults. They think they are mature enough to solve bullying problems by themselves and that time will solve everything. Also, and this is from my own experience, they’re afraid of exclusion. When I was bullied in my previous school, I did consider consulting the school counselor, but I decided against it because I was scared. I thought if I “tattled” on my so-called friends, I would become completely friendless and excluded. I never thought about making new friends because everyone seemed to be involved in
separate cliques. I definitely knew it would be difficult to squeeze into a new group of friends. So, I maintained my silence and tried to ignore the bullying. I had little success with this. When I was in the 6th grade, I was involved in a group called “peer leaders” where students helped other students overcome bullying. I found it easier to help others than to help myself. Even after becoming a satisfactory peer leader, I couldn’t solve my own issue. The problem was the peer leader program educated students to help others but it didn’t teach the peer leaders how to deal with bullying if it happened to them.

 

What Can You Do?

Adults in my school did the best they could to support students. Students sometimes just don’t know what they need or, if they do know, they don’t know how to communicate the feeling. i believe the best way the adults can help bullied students is to be mindful of things going on around the school, especially in the cafeteria. From my experiences, I would say the first step is breaking the mindset of having separate, private cliques. This is especially a problem among girls. A student involved in a clique may make friends with other students but once that student is surrounded by her clique, she becomes much more comfortable communicating their personal problems.

If adults help students break this mindset, new friendships can be formed in the more receptive school society. Another way to help the students is to eliminate the thought that school supervisors exist only to punish bad behavior without wanting to know more about what happened and why it happened. If staff members connect with students outside the classroom in a different situation such as playing a sports game or being available after school to talk, student perspective changes and students become more open to communicate their personal problems.

In addition to breaking student opinion, students need to know how hard their teachers are working to improve the school climates. This summer, I attended NSCC’s Summer Institute. From a student point of view, I was extremely touched by the determination of the school leaders to improve their school climates and address bullying problems in their communities. I was very grateful for the invitation and felt included as a student representative.
Sometimes students need to know that staff are as concerned (if not more) about the problems students are facing. This is something important I learned from the Summer Institute. If I could, I would share with students one thing: I would tell them that their school leaders are striving very hard to achieve the goal of creating the best school climates possible.

 

Read more about schools in action and upstander efforts by connecting to our School Climate Matters newsletter.

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