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Presentation on theme: "BECOMING A G.R.E.A.T CITIZENUSING THE RESPONSIVE CLASSROOM APPROACH November 6, 2013 Rebecca Newfield."— Presentation transcript:


2 Empathy is Developmental  Empathy is a higher-order skill than manners. It requires being able to walk in another’s shoes and to treat the person kindly based on our understanding of their feelings.  Infants and toddlers simply can’t do that. They are self- centered little beings whose survival depends on their ability to make adults feel empathic towards them.  Still, research shows that babies whose parents are responsive to them develop stronger empathy skills later on.


4  Between the ages of 2 1/2 to 3 things begin to shift. Toddlers still have difficulty seeing things from someone else’s point of view (any parent of a 2-year-old will tell you that sharing is simply not a priority) but they often respond with something that looks like sympathy if someone they care about acts hurt.  Parents who praise their kids for showing sympathy, who talk to them about how others feel, and who insist on the use of the basic courtesy language of please and thank you during the preschool years are doing the teaching necessary for empathy to flower as they get older.

5 How do we cultivate empathy? Treat children with the same courtesy and empathy as we would any adult. Kids who are loved and treated well have a template for how to treat others. Kids learn what they live. Treat their partner and friends with tact and generosity. Kids also learn what they observe. Model empathic behaviors and good social skills. That means going out of our way to help when someone is hurting. It means explaining to our kids why we volunteer and why we spend time with people who are sick or upset. Teach “manners.” External rituals of manners (even if they are “fake” at times) usually do lead to internal feelings of empathy. Explain. Explain. Explain. Young children can’t be expected to make connections between their behavior and the feelings of others unless we explain it to them. When our kids hurt someone’s feelings or behave selfishly, we must take the time to quietly and calmly ask them to think about how they would feel if someone did it to them. Talk about feelings so children develop an emotional vocabulary. Have conversations where you practice imagining another person’s point of view. Use positive methods of disciplining. Research has shown that authoritarian methods of child-rearing do not promote empathy.

6 We want them to be tenacious as well. So, while cultivating empathy, try not to “overparent.” For example: 1. Don’t mistake a snapshot taken today with the epic movie of your child’s life. 2. Before you nag, criticize, praise or over-explain remember the slogan W.A.I.T.: “Why am I talking?” Listen four times more than you talk. 3. Be alert but not automatically alarmed. 4. Don’t confuse children’s wants with their needs. 5. Recognize that your child’s grades or ranking is not the measure of your worth as a parent. Your child is not your masterpiece. 6. Learn to love the words “trial” and “error.” Let your child make mistakes before going off to middle, high school or college. Grant freedom based on demonstrated responsibility and accountability, not what all the other kids are doing. 7. Don’t fret over or fix what’s not broken. Accept your child’s nature even if he’s shy, stubborn, moody or not great at math. 8. Resist taking the role of sherpa, butler, crabby concierge, talent agent, a crack team of defense attorneys, an ATM or the secret police. Your child is hard-wired for competence. 9. When your child doesn’t get the cool English teacher, make the team, get a big part in the play, or gets ejected from the in-group remind yourself that disappointments are necessary preparation for adult life and good citizenship.

7 If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! So how do we teach our children to dream and be tenacious? Be a role model: Dream big and let your kids see what you can achieve. When you start a job, finish it. When you give your word, follow through. Show your kids how to do jobs and give them a reasonable time frame for completion. Praise them when they complete tasks in a timely manner. Ensure they keep their word when they commit to something. Stop swooping in. When you avoid jumping in, you're teaching self-reliance and encouraging problem-solving When your child is struggling with a task, encourage them to stick with it. This can include homework, a book they started, an instrument they are learning to play, etc.

8 What is Responsive Classroom?  responsive-classroom responsive-classroom

9 7 Fundamental Beliefs  The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.  How children learn is as important as what children learn.  The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.  Children need a set of social skills in order to be successful academically and socially.  Knowing the children we teach is as important as knowing the content we teach.  Knowing the parents of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children.  Teachers and administrators must model the social and academic skills which they wish to teach their students.

10 Here is what staff discussed

11 Rules, Consistency and Logical Consequences Brainstorm what routines are essential to classroom safety. How will you introduce these routines in the first days of school? How long will it take (hint: longer than you may think). Make a plan! Use interactive modeling to teach and practice routines. Sometimes we assume kids should “get it” right away, but we need to constantly remind them by modeling for them (i.e a specific signal for quiet).

12  Establish expectations for group discussions. Don’t settle for anything less than your expectations. Stop every time there is an issue.  Create rules based on the goals the students have come up with. Post them, as well as the students’ hopes and dreams, in a prominent place.

13 Teacher Language  Children will usually try to live up to teacher expectations. There are different ways to communicate based on the student’s behavior:  Reinforcing – affirms a child’s positive behavior (“John, you helped Sarah clean the table. That’s an important way of taking care of the classroom”).

14  Reminding – prompts children to remember established expectations and to make decisions based on those expectations (“What are you supposed to be doing now? Show me.) Remember to use a direct tone with neutral body language. Reminders should be simple and brief (don’t let it become a “Charlie Brown grown up” scenario).

15  Redirecting – Used when a student’s behavior has gone off track and needs to stop immediately. Should always be a statement, never a question (i.e. “Sarah, in our class we hand markers over. Hand the marker to John now.”)

16 Logical Consequences  Are relevant, realistic and respectful.  Loss of Privilege – when student abuses a privilege, the privilege is taken away temporarily. Once he or she can handle the responsibility again, the privilege is given back.  “You break it, you fix it.” If a student breaks something, the teacher helps him/her take responsibility for fixing it or cleaning it.  Time out – used to help students learn self control. Either teacher sends or the student can decide him or herself.

17 How can parents support our quest to make GREAT citizens?  Model the behavior you want your children to have (socially, emotionally, ethically).  Help your children develop a feelings vocabulary and tools to cope with these feelings.  Foster independence and resilience whenever possible. This includes carrying their own backpack, chores and independence with “problems” your children bring to you.

18 Taking Responsibility  Children learn how to take responsibilty for their actions in elementary school. This is a process.  I didn’t do it!  I did it by accident.  I didn’t do it. I did something else.  I did it because s/he did something to me.  I might have done it.  I didn’t do it that hard.  I did it and I’m sorry.

19  Denial  Externalizing  Minimizing  Accepting Consequences  Accepting the negative effects of behavior on others.

20  Use language that builds accountability and avoid language that discourages it.  Use concrete, open ended questions rather than abstract, closed questions and insist on real, specific, and reflective answers.  Avoid “how would you feel if…”  Normalize the reflection process.  Focus on the aggressive behavior as a failed attempt to solve real problems or reach real goals and help your children find better ways to solve those problems and meet those goals.

21 Questions to Ask  1. What did you do? (always start with I)  2. What was wrong with that behavior? (the child hurt someone- ask how they know the other person was hurt)  3. What problem were you trying to solve?  4. Next time you have that problem or goal, how will you solve it without hurting someone?

22 Connection to Responsive Classroom  Reflect on 3-5 non negotiable rules in your home. Talk with your children about these rules and utilize logical consequences IN THE MOMENT if they are broken.  Encourage children to make amends when they break a rule in school. Also encourage children to seek help from adults in school. If they are nervous role play what to say.


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