Question

From Meg:
Hi Ben,
A question for the PLC. I’ve been working with my district’s social emotional learning coach and later in the month we’re supposed to co-teach a lesson on respect, why we want it, what it looks like. It would be in L1 and the class is in a circle and discusses.
My question, am I being a cynic for thinking this will not change behavior? Is it a worthwhile endeavor or worth even just giving a shot? I would rather not go through the song and dance if it seems not worth it.
Thank you for everything!
Meg

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2 thoughts on “Question”

  1. Meg this makes me think about all the times I sat around doing Socratic Seminars etc. as a GT teacher and spoke about such things, knowing that my words were pretty much falling on deaf ears. However it is not up to me to judge the effects of my words.
    My job is to just do it if it presents itself as anything positive for those kids because they get so little of anything positive right now. So I would recommend that you do that class with great enthusiasm. (But our demeanor to the children would not reveal that enthusiasm, because they’re so hardened to such things that the more energy we show, the more they back away.)
    The whole thing is that the discussion idea is kind of stupid because they don’t know how to discuss anything. They’ve never been taught, so how could they discuss it, rather I would work on group activities based on for example the Tribes model, where they participate in group activities that make them aware of what the word respect means.
    The lady‘s name, and I have worked with her work all my life on things like this, is Jeanne Gibbes and it’s called Tribes, a social and emotional development program. It’s got some good activities in it anyway and the kid wouldn’t feel lectured at. It’s an old book and it may not be in publication anymore but you can contact her website:
    http://tribes.com
    We actually have to train them in that and I would rather use the above model of having the kids get into groups – hope that helps.

  2. In my experience / opinion this type of thing happens as a one-time thing and it is not particularly effective because it follows a canned curriculum. But really in order to change anything, we have to replace current patterns with other patterns. This requires daily practice of whatever the new pattern is. So maybe that “lesson” on that one day turns into a launching point. I don’t have any answers. I am trying to hold space for this in my own classes. More effective I believe, is to create this from within the class. I see many of our CI processes as effective tools for learning respect. But we would have to process that explicitly in some way in order for students to become aware. Sometimes with mandated things, I use the mandated activity, and then when kids complain / refuse to participate, I stop the activity and ask them what would be a more effective way to address this topic? Or I give a writing prompt and then we branch off in our own direction.
    Sorry, I am rambling, and I realize I am assuming that the curriculum is canned, which may not be the case. I believe this topic is so important. Most conversation among teachers is around respect or lack thereof, but nobody actually wants to address it. I applaud you and appreciate you for taking this head on and I look forward to hearing about the activities and discussions you have. I hope you will share them!
    ??? What do I know???
    But the crises in our schools keep expanding and there seems to be willing ignorance to slap a band aid on in the form of “social emotional” blah blah (which in my opinion is super important and should not be separated out like it is) one-day workshop. And $$$$$$$ and time put into curriculum initiatives and creating new common assessments. Ick.

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