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 SCHOOL SOLUTIONS

The responsibility of educating the next generation of leaders and citizens of the world community is yours. You've received much instruction in how to teach subjects , but what have you learned about managing stress, understanding relationships in the classroom, and classroom management? It is quickly being realized that the emotional intelligence of students is as important as the information they learn. Can you help your students become more competent and in the process learn more about yourself?

 SCHOOL SOLUTIONS

DID YOU KNOW?

ONCE WE KNOW OURSELVES, IT’S EASIER TO UNDERSTAND OTHER PEOPLE AND TO "OPEN THE DOOR TO COMMUNICATION".

ABOUT ASSESSMENTS

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TWO-MINUTE MOMENTS Two minutes of relaxation.
 

SCHOOL SOLUTIONS

by Dr. Carol Renaud Gaffney

     There are many areas to consider when determining what to do about improving the efficacy of Schools. I focus on one aspect and that is to improve student behavior through creating relationships with them, by helping them learn the "right way" to behave and to hold them accountable for the behavior they display as well as the grades they earn. Interestingly, there is an increasing body of research coming out of the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Emotional Intelligence (EI) areas that indicates the positive correlation between emotional intelligence and school performance. So, not only is EI considered the "right" thing to do, but by doing the "right" thing, learning (as indicated by higher test scores) also improves.

It is also interesting to note that increasing numbers of organizations are focusing on the evaluation and development of EI as EI is so highly correlated with job success (satisfaction, reduced turnover, higher productivity). Could it be that both schools and businesses have been so busy looking at outcomes that somewhere along the way the importance of the people, or human capital, who created the outcome were underconsidered? Now that we’re looking at what successful people and organizations do, we find that the ability to self-manage and to get along with other people is high on the list of what gets the job done – at school as well as in business.

How are we making a difference in schools?

Improving Student Behavior is multifaceted and requires that:

  • a district articulate its values as well as its mission
  • expected behaviors are associated with those values
  • the district have K-12 behavioral expectations
  • the expectations are learned developmentally, are part of a curriculum just as math and reading are, and are included in reporting systems
  • the expectations are supported by Administration, staff, teachers and parents
  • adults support the development of appropriate behavior
  • adults model expected behaviors as well as expect it from the students.
We start with wanting to improve student behavior for improved scores

and we find we need a community that is willing to hold itself

as well as its children

accountable for acceptable behavior.


Whew. That seems like a huge task. And it is. Because School Solutions is not about finding a quick fix, or fixing kids, but changing systemically. And it’s especially huge because there are so many scores and outcomes that have to be reported there isn’t much energy left for fixing the basics. Sometimes it’s all we can do to put out fires or deal with the next storm when what we need is time to fix the foundation. No wonder teachers are stressed and experiencing burnout!!

Anyone who has ever built a tower with blocks knows that as you are building and keep adding blocks to a structure that has an insufficient foundation, the structure will crumble. If you have a deadline to meet, one solution is to clean up the debris and continue building rather than stepping back to evaluate all sources of the problem. Very often one source of the problem with crumbling structures is the insufficient foundation.

When we step back from schools and look at the sources of the problems we can see that in many cases we could use more muscle (equipment, space, resources) but it’s really the foundation that needs fixing. When we do look at the foundation the task may seem overwhelming so we add more muscle hoping that something will work. It’s easier to add muscle than foundation or core strength. But, the amount of work a system can achieve is related to its core strength as well as to its muscle.

What is the foundation of successful schools?

The foundation of learning, the foundation of our schools is the sum of the relationships between parents and kids, kids and teachers, teachers and parents, administration and parents, administration and the community… and so on. With strong adult relationships, student responsibility and accountability, and then learning, have a better chance of growing.

If relationships are the basis of our school success, what is the basis of relationships?
Understanding.

What is the basis of Understanding?
Communication.

What is the basis of Communication?
Knowing oneself,
understanding others
and having the ability and willingness to adapt one’s style to
the style of the person with whom you want to communicate.


When you think about it, it’s simple. To improve educational outcomes, focus on the basics of human relationships –communication and understanding - and provide child appropriate learning experiences.

In the present climate of the demands of NCLB schools would do well to implement comprehensive SEL/EI curricula with modeling adults (foundation) as well as providing more resources (muscle).

Is this possible?

Yes. I’m presently working with one district that has made a multi-year commitment to improving educational outcomes through improving student behavior. The administration is clearly behind the effort and all teachers and staff are involved in determining the concepts that will guide the district. These concepts are referred to as the Common Core. The Common Core concepts will generate the behaviors that will be expected of all within the district.

In addition, the incumbent teachers as well as all new hires have the Teacher’s Style Analysis available so they can start with the self-understanding necessary for improved communication with peers, parents and students. Teachers are learning to build on their strengths, and understanding that no one is naturally good at everything, learn the skills that don’t come as naturally.

Does this take time? Yes.

Does it take commitment? Yes.

Is it worth it? Without a doubt!!


TAKE AN ASSESSMENT

The more you know about your style, the easier it is to figure out what naturally stresses you and what to do to relax.

TAKE AN ASSESSMENT

TAKE A DEEP BREATH, RELAX
Stress and strain of daily living got you down? Breathe. Relax. Reclaim yourself and your energy – two minutes at a time.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH, RELAX
MORE TWO-MINUTE MOMENTS


MEDITATION & THE RELAXATION RESPONSE
Have you been wondering about meditation? Well, it’s easier than you think. You just have to get started. One breath, one focus, two moments.

MEDITATION & RELAXATION RESPONSE
MORE TWO-MINUTE MOMENTS
 PEOPLE SOLUTIONS

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Dr. Gaffney's Newsletters provide insight and direction for successful communication and action to help you create your life – at work, at home and within your community.



PERSONAL
Creating your life requires self-knowledge, planning and taking action otherwise you'll be making the trip but it may be the magical mystery tour. Start here for personal understanding, the basis of success.

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PROFESSIONAL
Do you hire right the first time? Are you and the people you work with at peak performance? Do you have the skills and attitudes for extraordinary success? Start here to learn about excellence in your professional life.

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FAMILY
If you have children
and are concerned about their development and
well-being and having them become loving, independent,
productive and responsible, check out the materials
in this section.

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