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Researching the Virtues Project

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1 Researching the Virtues Project
Derek Patton Child & Family Psychologist, reg. Australia PhD candidate, University of Melbourne Dedicated to the Piscataway and Conoy tribes of Maryland, the traditional Spiritual Companioners of this land, their and our ancestors and to all past stolen children from any race, any place

2 International Virtues Project Research Network
Coordinator, Chris Kavelin, Ph.D. Associate Coordinator, Derek Patton, M.Ed Child & Family Psychologist Network = facilitators world-wide Virtues Companions Inc. reg. Victoria AU Offices, meeting, art, companioning rooms

3 Resources development
Android phone application Virtues pick and whole deck, with Linda’s wish to swipe increase font Card holder = habitual engagement after you are Long Gone (like a turkey through the corn). Virtues Buttons Convincing ARGUMENTs & Evidence

4 Everyone is a researcher
Children drop food off the table to test that gravity works for peas AND potatoes. Everyone tests truthfulness in normal conversation, e.g. DATA Everyone tests Evidence for the claimed “facts” in normal conversation, e.g. the scientific mind.

5 Master in School Leadership degree
State of Victoria funds 60 schools/year for one person to start a part time Masters in school culture change using positive psychology. Virtues Project is ½ day topic with offer to introduce VP for the student’s research project, with 2 research projects underway.

6 Black US college students answering 20 GRE?
One answer sheet asked them to ID their race. Another group were not asked this question. Those who ID’d their race, got HALF as many correct, as those who didn’t It is thought they were reminded of all the negative stereotypes from American culture about their race. This was 1995! You might think “I’m black and I’m proud” (James Brown) would have taken root. Not. Implications for Māori and Aboriginal peoples and their education experience? We need to be very careful what we say & ask. Invisible thinking can be dangerous to people’s wellbeing because it is insidious, invisible and pervasive.

7 3 groups tested by Yale researchers (Bargh, Chen, & Burrows, 1996) used 3 word sets:
Rude priming: aggressively, bold, rude, bother, disturb, intrude, annoyingly, interrupt, audaciously, brazen, impolitely, infringe, obnoxious, aggravating, and bluntly Polite priming: respect, honor, considerate, appreciate, patiently, cordially, yield, polite, cautiously, courteous, graciously, sensitively, discreetly, behaved, and unobtrusively Neutral priming: exercising, flawlessly, occasionally, rapidly, gleefully, practiced, optimistically, successfully, normally, send, watches, encourages, gives, clears, and prepares

8 After completing the sentence task, participants went to give the results to the researcher. A confederate posed as a student, apparently having difficulty understanding how to complete a task. The experimenter and confederate engaged in a conversation with the experimenter standing so that his body was open at about a 45° angle to the approaching participant. How long would the participant wait to be acknowledged, before interrupting? 10 min = ethically allowed time limit.

9 How long did they wait? Participants primed “rude” waited on average 326 seconds or 5.43 minutes Participants primed “neutral” waited on average 519 seconds or 8.65 minutes Participants primed “polite” waited on average 558 seconds or 9.3 minutes This does not show full story because 62 % did not interrupt at all, making a severe ceiling effect in the data. 82% in the polite condition never interrupted! Come on, this was New York!


11 Invisible Thinking is powerful
A pervasive environment of virtuous words will have profound effects, even without adding the effect of virtuous behaviour or explicit curriculum. We can use this psychology/sociology reality to change school cultures. You can explicitly teach strategies that arise from this to others. BUT, invisible thinking is being used against us and our children.

12 Marketers use invisible thinking to steal our children
Marketers use invisible thinking to steal our children. And they’ve told us their plan! “Once agencies identify the aspect of a product that taps into a child's deeper motivation, they can structure messages that connect with kids on psychological and emotional levels." Anne Adriance, strategic planning director, Saatchi & Saatchi Kid Connection (kid theft)

13 "Advertising at its best is making people feel that without their product, you're a loser. Kids are very sensitive to that. If you tell them to buy something, they are resistant. But if you tell them they'll be a dork if they don't, you've got their attention. You open up emotional vulnerabilities and it's very easy to do this with kids because they're emotionally vulnerable." Nancy Shalek, president, Shalek Advertising Agency

14 Does that make your angry?
It does me, but → Determination I have a plan to counter the psychologists who have gone over to the Dark Side. I will use the Force to help me… teach children to THINK! Parents will give you their children! Why? They’re too busy. More than 60% send them off to early care. OK, so now what? The best way to avoid negative invisible thinking is to MAKE THINKING VISIBLE

15 Flood the world with clear thinking children

16 Visible Thinking – Project Zero @ Harvard
The most excellent teachers make thinking: Visible, valued and habitual Four ideals of: Understanding, Truth, Fairness & Creativity Out of the mouths 4 Harvard academics! The best teachers model, encourage and teach thinking habits to their students. HOW? Using a language of thinking. This is similar to the virtues language

17 Why visible thinking? All sustainable systems have continuous improvement methods to adapt (change) All sustainable human systems or organizations are learning systems. All ‘learning’ is underpinned by thinking So to advance, a classroom, organization or school, or society…and the people within them We need to create cultures of thinking in them.

18 Visible thinking is the key
Only moderate levels of emotional support and classroom organization are needed High levels of sustained shared thinking (3 – 5 teacher-child exchanges to make explicit concepts & thinking) is the biggest predictor of language & literacy gains. This may be special case of companioning (1 of 5 of the Virtues Project strategies), Academic companioning? Visible thinking companioning?

19 Unfortunately, we all engage in negative thinking about ourselves or others based on beliefs and prior life experience – including teachers about their students. Amygdala hijack = invisible, automatic See a snake, foot stops prior to visual cortex actually “seeing” the snake So happens millions of other ‘reactions’ Gladwell, M. (2005). Blink: The power of thinking without thinking.

20 “Several child characteristics were consistently significant in predicting teachers’ expectations of children’s academic abilities. Child sex emerged as a consistent predictor of teacher expectations for reading at all time points, and girls were always more likely to be overestimated. Child sex was related to teacher expectations in math only at fifth grade, and, contrary to our hypothesis, girls were again more likely to be overestimated. Also, children’s social skills were significantly and positively related to teacher expectations for both reading and math at all time points. It may be that teachers tend to overestimate the academic competence of children they like and find easy to manage in the classroom.” (Hinnant, O’Brien, & Ghazarian, 2009, p. 669)

21 “Minority boys had the lowest performance when their abilities were underestimated and the greatest gains when their abilities were overestimated.” “in some situations teachers communicate positive expectations clearly and invest time and energy in children they perceive to be more able, whereas other teachers may be more likely to communicate negative expectations in a way that discourages children. More detailed observations of the processes by which teachers may convey differential expectations to children are needed to fully understand this process.” (p. 669)

22 “different ‘sub-climates’ can ensue when teachers’ differential expectations about the learning capability of high- and low-achieving children are expressed in differential treatment within the same classroom. Children have proven to be keen observers of such differences. Their reports suggest that differences, which regularly favor high achievers relative to low achievers, are manifested in various ways, including different curriculum, feedback and evaluation practices, rules, motivational strategies, emotional support, and teachers’ body language” (Kuklinski & Weinstein, 2000, p. 2)

23 The good news is that these automatic reactions and assumptions can be changed with training, new cultural environments, and visible thinking, visible social construction & language change. There are different ways to do this. Change how you do things (culture change through doing) which eventually leads to a language change Change how you perceive things and what you say about it (culture change through language) which eventually leads to a culture change. Do both at psychological “acupuncture points”

24 Why intervene pedagogically?
“Any structured pedagogical environment or any placement of a child in a structured social situation will stimulate and structure that child's speech, which will then serve as a vehicle for the subsequent transformation of his intellectual operations.” AR Luria 2002

25 Change language & consciousness
“Changing language can change the existing order. When planning language, applied linguists are not forging an ideologically neutral instrument for carrying out policy; they are creating an active force in shaping people's consciousness.” Michael Halliday 1990

26 A Moral Vocabulary “What is needed is a common vocabulary that is used by both parents and teachers” “the words we use have a powerful influence on our actions. They work in two ways. They echo in our mind, reminding ourselves of how we would like to be. And they can reverberate in a community, providing a common focus for people’s aspirations.” (Layard, Dunn, & The Good Childhood Inquiry panel, 2009)

27 “Establishing, articulating and disseminating a common and shared values language is essential to good practice in values education…In a values-based school the shared values language comes to inform everything that school does and says. It underpins pedagogy, leadership, planning, policy positions, curriculum practices and behavioural expectations. If there is no common values language, if the values within the school are neither owned nor shared by the school community, there can be no basis for implementing effective, planned and systematic values education” (p. 9). At the Heart of What We Do: Values Education at the Centre of Schooling – The Final Report of the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project – Stage 2

28 “Children grow into the intellectual life around them” (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 88)
“That intellectual life is fundamentally social, and language has a special place in it. Because the intellectual life is social, it is also relational and emotional. To me, the most humbling part of observing accomplished teachers is seeing the subtle ways in which they build emotionally and relationally healthy learning communities – intellectual environments that produce not mere technical competence, but caring, secure, actively literate human beings… language is a teacher’s most powerful teaching tool” (Peter Johnston, Choice Words: How our language affects children’s learning 2004) Recommended by Ron Ritchhart of Project Zero – Harvard He also says the most powerful teaching tool of the teacher is Language.

29 Why the virtues language?
Psychologically sound and based on universally accepted cultural aspirations 22 years of program development Training facilitators available 100 countries Language change contextually determined Widely sourced anecdotal evidence suggests it works, growing research evidence, 10 Masters, 1 PhD dissertations

30 Investigating The Virtues Project™ in a Preschool
New Zealand 2004 Bank of New Zealand post graduate award funded

31 Method ABC Single-subject design – 9 children
Three groups using Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) ratings 10-minute observations of 3 behaviours Very long observations at end - confirms Social, Antisocial, Shy/Withdrawn SDQ parent & SDQ teacher at study end

32 Observations Two trained observers using the protocol from the Early Screening Project (Walker, Severson, Feil 1995) ESP Stopwatches – 2 x 10-minute observations Trained by video and in situ Observers blind to category of children Staff blind to children selected

33 Observational Data Antisocial Behaviour

34 Social and Shy/Withdrawn






40 Virtues Project in 20 Fiji prisons. Escape attempts 35 ↓ 1

41 School culture change using VP
Our lady of Lourdes School Palmerston North. “WE LIVE OUR CHRISTIAN VIRTUES” The impact of the Virtues Project with regard lunchtime detentions 2004 data was typical for many years 2005 saw VP introduced at Term 1

42 2004 Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Room total Room 1 No data Room 2 1
5 9 8 22 Room 5 2 7 Room 6 10 14 Room 7 4 6 Totals 11 16 26 53

43 2005 Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Room total Room 1 No data Room 2
11 Room 5 Room 6 Room 7 Totals 14 9 32

44 Extremely difficult Halswell Residential College for teenage boys with intellectual disabilities and other problems who cannot be cared for by ordinary schools, combined local special services or their families. All positive support systems including VP Te Poutama Arahi Rangatahi – Barnardos teenage sex offender secure unit – Therapeutic community

45 Research = Companioning whole organization in terms of variables
What is a valid way to look at it? What is going on? Curiosity Listen and observe. Ask valid questions (what does this mean).

46 Strategy 5

47 References Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P. A. (2006). The Bioecological Model of Human Development. In R. M. Lerner & W. Damon (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology (6th ed.): Vol 1, Theoretical models of human development. (pp ). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. Dickinson, D. K. (2006). Toward a Toolkit Approach to Describing Classroom Quality. Early Education and Development, 17(1), Dickinson, D. K., & Tabors, P. O. (2002). Fostering Language and Literacy in Classrooms and Homes. Supporting Language Learning. Young Children, 57(2), Dickinson, D. K., & Tabors, P. O. (Eds.). (2001). Beginning literacy with language: Young children learning at home and school. Baltimore, MD: Paul H Brookes. Johnston, P. (2004). Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children's Learning. Portland, Maine: Stenhouse. Lerner, R. M. (2006). Developmental Science, Developmental Systems, and Contemporary Theories of Human Development. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology: Volume One: Theoretical models of human development (6th ed., pp. 1-17). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

48 References Pennebaker, J. W., Booth, R. J., & Francis, M. E. (2007). Linguistic Inquiry and word count (LIWC) [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 21 April 2009 from Pianta, R. C., La Paro, K. M., & Hamre, B. K. (2008). Classroom Assessment Scoring System™: Manual K-3. Baltimore, MD: Paul H Brookes. Ritchhart, R., & Perkins, D. (2008). Making thinking visible. Educational Leadership, 65(5), Schweinhart, L. J. (2003). Benefits, costs, and explanation of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program. Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Tampa, FL. Siraj-Blatchford, I., Sylva, K., Taggart, B., Sammons, P., Melhuish, E., & Elliot, K. (2003). Intensive case studies of practice across the foundation stage: EPPE Project Technical Paper 10. London: Institute of Education University of London. Vygotsky, L. S., & Cole, M. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

49 References from Master’s research
Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J., & Hammond, M. (2001). Preventing conduct problems, promoting social competence: A parent and teacher training partnership in Head Start. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 30(3), Flannery, D. J., Vazsonyi, A. T., Liau, A. K., Guo, S., Powell, K. E., Atha, H., et al. (2003). Initial behavior outcomes for the PeaceBuilders Universal School-Based Violence Prevention Program. Developmental Psychology, 39(2), Lynch, K. B., Geller, S. R., & Schmidt, M. G. (2004). Multi-year evaluation of the effectiveness of a resilience-based prevention program for young children. Journal of Primary Prevention, 24(3), Han, S. S., & Weiss, B. (2005). Sustainability of teacher implementation of school-based mental health programs. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33(6),

50 Guiding the Master’s research
Walker, H. M., Ramsey, E., & Gresham, F. M. (2004). Antisocial behavior in school: Evidence-based practices (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Bentzen, W. R. (2005). Seeing young children: A guide to observing and recording behavior (5th ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning.

51 Contacts Virtues Project New Zealand
Virtues Project world wide Virtues resources & music Derek Patton Strengths & Difficulties Questionnaire

52 References
Strengths & Difficulties Questionnaire Google: Visible Thinking Harvard Bargh, J. A., Chen, M., & Burrows, L. (1996). Automaticity of social behavior: Direct effects of trait construct and stereotype activation on action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71(2),

53 Gladwell, M. (2005). Blink: The power of thinking without thinking
Gladwell, M. (2005). Blink: The power of thinking without thinking. New York: Little, Brown and Company Time-Warner. Layard, R., Dunn, J., & The Good Childhood Inquiry panel. (2009). A good childhood. Searching for values in a competitive age. London: Penguin Books. Purchase this book from Quotes about advertisers from:

54 Hinnant, J. B. , O’Brien, M. , & Ghazarian, S. R. (2009)
Hinnant, J. B., O’Brien, M., & Ghazarian, S. R. (2009). The longitudinal relations of teacher expectations to achievement in the early school years. [Peer Reviewed]. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(3), Kuklinski, M. R., & Weinstein, R. S. (2000). Classroom and grade level differences in the stability of teacher expectations and perceived differential teacher treatment. [Peer Reviewed]. Learning Environments Research, 3(1), 1-34.

55 Walker, H. M. , Ramsey, E. , & Gresham, F. M. (2004)
Walker, H. M., Ramsey, E., & Gresham, F. M. (2004). Antisocial behavior in school: Evidence-based practices (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Bentzen, W. R. (2005). Seeing young children: A guide to observing and recording behavior (5th ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning. Virtues Project world wide

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