Friday, November 16, 2018

Book Chat: Fostering Resilient Learners (Part III: Relationships)

It's a busy time of year!  For those who wanted to join us but were unable to make our book chat this morning but wanted to follow along, here is what was discussed!  (Again, we had such a powerful discussion that we didn't get to everything, so some additional resources are included.) You can also read about our previous sessions on Part I: Trauma and Part II: Self-Awareness.

Self-Reflection: Write down the name of a teacher who made a difference in your life.
What was it about this person that motivated you to learn, to come to school, to try your hardest? What was it about this educator that inspired you to do what you do today? What traits did you appreciate about this person?  Write down some words or phrases that describe this person and his or her influence on you.
The group wrote down their thoughts on a notecard and then we each took a minute to share our reflection. We found that the teachers who meant the most to us were not necessarily those who were of our content area or even those that we spent time outside of the classroom getting to know. Most teachers were those who were consistent in expectations, challenged us, and related the content to topics that interested us at the time.
We didn't get to this part, but here is what we were going to do next:

Think about this:

  • The results of zero tolerance policies has been an increase in both behavior problems and dropout rates (American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force, 2008)
  • Public elementary and secondary schools in the United States assign 110,000 expulsions and 3 million suspensions each year, along with tens of millions of detentions (Children's Defense Fund, 2010; Dignity in Schools Campaign, n.d.)
  • More than 2,467 U.S. students drop out of school each day (Children's Defense Fund, 2010)
How does control play a role in these statistics?

Think about these four statements:

1.  I can't control whether _____ will come to my class today, but I can control...

2.  I can't control whether _____ passes this test, but I can control...

3.  I can't control whether _____ has experienced adversity and trauma at home, but I can control...

4.  I can't control whether we add _____ to our already overloaded plates, but I can control...

Doors vs. Windows
The book gives a great example of going to a cabin for the weekend, and mysteriously being locked in.  It describes your reaction to keep turning the doorknob or trying to push it open, repeatedly.  You are in your downstairs brain, in fight or flight mode, trying to force your way out of this door.  Then the book points out that you all you needed to do was step back, calm down, and look at the many windows in the cabin.  

How can we provide our students with windows instead of closing the door on them?

“Even if you don’t believe your efforts are reaping much of a result, keep in mind that you’re planting seeds.  Although you my not get to see the flower bloom, your efforts may result in something extraordinary.” (Page 131)

Fostering Resilient Learners, Kristen Souers with Pete Hall

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