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Creating Safe and Productive Learning Environments for Students CREC Teachers Academy August 2011 Dr. Joann Freiberg.

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Presentation on theme: "Creating Safe and Productive Learning Environments for Students CREC Teachers Academy August 2011 Dr. Joann Freiberg."— Presentation transcript:

1 Creating Safe and Productive Learning Environments for Students CREC Teachers Academy August 2011 Dr. Joann Freiberg

2 Introduction: How do I Know What I Know? Brief background Experience Education My day job at the Connecticut State Department of Education Bureau of Accountability and Improvement School Climate Improvement, Bullying and Character Education Professional Development Bullying Complaints © JAF 1999 - 20112

3 The Role of Positive Climate on Optimal Learning: Safe and Productive Schools Core reason: create climate that ensures every student is physically, emotionally and intellectually safe and has the optimal chance for high academic achievement Align practices with brain-based research on creating learning environments that support student engagement and attainment Students must be present to learn…it is a necessary prerequisite © JAF 1999 - 20113

4 Absenteeism and Academic Success Learning requires that students be in class Absent because of sickness Absent because of vacations Absent because of being fearful Opt out to visit the nurse or guidance Learning requires that educators be present, available and use engaging and ethical teaching methods Adult actions and reactions determine student outcomes © JAF 1999 - 20114

5 Lessons Learned from My Own Bullying Case Load Six years worth of data…trends are clear Bullying knows no demographic boundaries Bullying takes ALL forms without patterns Bullying affects all grade levels Very slight increase in the middle school years Bullying overwhelmingly involves children with special needs (IEPs & 504 Plans) Children who are different The family perceptions about what is happening to the child is in a separate universe from what is objectively happening at school © JAF 1999 - 20115

6 Known Risk Factors: Everyone Is Affected Perpetrators of mean-spirited behaviors More likely to experience failure and crime Targeted Individuals More likely to be socially isolated, depressed and absent from school Those individuals who are bystanders Experience guilt and trauma over feeling powerless to intervene and help © JAF 1999 - 20116

7 If Only It Was This Easy! © JAF 1999 - 20117

8 Ultimate Remedy for Bullying To Create and Maintain Positive School Climate…Environments that do not support any form of mean-spirited behaviors (physically, emotionally and intellectually) Healthy and happy Climates of Respect © JAF 1999 - 20118

9 A Positive and Respectful School Climate is one that is physically, emotionally and intellectually safe for all school community members… which is the antithesis of a school that is violent © JAF 1999 - 20119

10 Safety vs. Violence: A Continuum Early manifestations by students and/or adults Exclusion Teasing Name-calling Ridicule Sarcasm Threatening and/or Real bullying behavior Extreme physical violence Homicide Suicide © JAF 1999 - 201110

11 Dangerous Weapons In School: Direct Negative Impact on Learning Words! The silent and most devastating weapons used by school community members Putdowns and slurs Degrading language heard daily by 90% of school community Girls/women Gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transgender individuals Special education students Racial groups Religious groups © JAF 1999 - 201111

12 National School Climate Standards: Finalized March 2010 There is growing appreciation that school climate – the quality and character of school life 1 – fosters childrens development, learning and achievement. School climate is based on the patterns of peoples experiences of school life; it reflects the norms, goals values, interpersonal relationships, teaching, learning and leadership practices, and organizational structures that comprise school life. 1 This definition of school climate was consensually developed by members of the National School Climate Council (2007). The terms school climate, school culture and learning environment have been used in overlapping but sometimes quite different ways in the educational literature. Here, we use the terms interchangeably. © JAF 1999 - 201112

13 School climate is much like the air we breathe – it tends to go unnoticed until something is seriously wrong. H. Jerome Freiberg, 1998 © JAF 1999 - 201113

14 School Culture Culture as… Descriptive of current situation Mission or goal © JAF 1999 - 201114

15 School Climate: It is All About the Quality of Relationships Defined as: how well the people within the school treat each other Physically Emotionally Intellectually Actions [+/-] Verbal and non-verbal exchanges [+/-] Tone of voice [+/-] Use/abuse of inherent power advantages [+/-] Adult Adult Student Student A dult aa cCc hild © JAF 1999 - 2011 15

16 Levels of School Climate Personal (one to one interactions) Adult Adult Adult Student Student Student Classroom (tends to have the most positive climate) School (tends to have the least positive climate) Community (tends not to have enough systemic focus) © JAF 1999 - 201116

17 Why School Climate ? Issues with nomenclature Character/Moral Education Values Clarification Citizenship and Religious Education Politically correct: everyone is supportive No one questions the content of lessons Not a separate subject - integrated into all subject matter School Climate Discipline Climate Focus on Climate > Intervening with Bullying © JAF 1999 - 201117

18 Adults Often Ignore Bullying Behavior Adults in school do relatively little to stop bullying behavior at school Adults overlook or wait to intervene when initial instances of mean behaviors or language occur Adults in school who are physically present during acts of meanness Uninvolved or ignored 71% of observed incidences May be unintentional due to lack of knowledge about what to look for © JAF 1999 - 201118

19 What is Bullying?: Abuses of Power Bullying is a public activity needing a stage on which to perform…when the audience is not there, the show closes Power imbalance, measured by effects it has on the vulnerable target Its about power and not about conflict Conflict resolution and peer mediation are not appropriate as means of addressing bullying © JAF 1999 - 201119

20 Solving Bullying by Passing State Anti-Bullying Laws Missouris Law only pertains to Cyber-Bullying © JAF 1999 - 201120

21 Columbine As Crucible... First of the Bookend Research Since 1974, 65 American rampage school shootings have occurred: 1970s 3 shootings 1980s 5 shootings (1 per year from 85 – 89) 1992 3 shootings 1993 2 shootings 1994 3 shootings 1995 3 shootings 1996 4 shootings 1997 4 shootings 1998 4 shootings 1999 5 shootings (Columbine: April 20, 1999) © JAF 1999 - 201121

22 …And Since 2000… 2000 4 shootings 2001 6 shootings 2002 2 shootings 2003 3 shootings 2004 0 shootings 2005 2 shootings 2006 4 shootings 2007 5 shootings 2008 3 shootings 2009 0 shootings 2010 1 shooting 2011 1 shooting © JAF 1999 - 201122

23 Honor the Spirit (intent) of the law, not merely the Letter of the law to create truly physically, emotionally and intellectually safe and positive learning environments for every single school community member, student and adult alike. The Reason for Legislation © JAF 1999 - 201123

24 Even the experts do not agree about whatBullying looks, feels and sounds like… © JAF 1999 - 201124

25 Bullying is about Abuses of Power One persons bullying is anothers… Kids will be kids They were only joking around Oh, theyre really friends Its not bad enough yet Theyre just roughhousing That is just teasing And, so many more….. © JAF 1999 - 201125

26 What Is Bullying: The Difficulty With Definition No standard or consistent definition 45 States…45 different definitions Most involved acts of harassment or intimidation that continue with regularity for a certain period of time (usually six months or more) At the core, bullying is about power abuses Wideness or narrowness determines how many children involved: 5% - 30% © JAF 1999 - 201126

27 Sample Definitions Intentionally harmful behavior that occurs repeated over time. (JAMA 2001 research study) Any overt acts by a student or group of students directed against another student with the intent to ridicule, harass, humiliate, or intimidate the other student while on school grounds, at school sponsored activities, or on a school bus, which acts are committed more than once against any student during the school year. (My italics) Such policies may include provisions addressing bullying outside of the school setting if it has a direct and negative impact on a students academic performance or safety in school. (Connecticut General Statutes 10-222d) © JAF 1999 - 201127

28 And More Definitions… Harassment, intimidation, or bullying means any intentional written, verbal, or physical act that a student has exhibited toward another particular student more than once and the behavior both: (1) Causes mental or physical harm to the other student (2) Is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for the other student. (Ohio HB 276) © JAF 1999 - 201128

29 And, More… Bullying means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following: (1 ) Placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the students or students person or property, (2) Causing a substantially detrimental effect on the students or students physical or mental health; (3) Substantially interfering with the students or students academic performance, or (4) Substantially interfering with the students or students ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school. Bullying as defined in this subsection (b) may take various forms, including without limitation one or more of the following: harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. This list is meant to be illustrative and non-exhaustive. (Illinois SB 3266) © JAF 1999 - 201129

30 Looking For Bullying: We Miss What is Right Under Our Noses To understand how difficult intervening whenever bullying occurs… As you watch the short video clip… Count the number of ball passes that occur among the students with WHITE SHIRTS © JAF 1999 - 201130

31 © JAF 1999 - 201131

32 Two Questions… How many of you are parents, aunts, uncles or mentors of children? How many of you are raising/mentoring BULLIES? © JAF 1999 - 201132

33 A TOXIC School Concept: A True Conversation Closer No school wants to have any of it** No parent/guardian will admit their child is one** No child will own up to being one** ** Bullying, Bully, Bullier, Bullying Behaviors Everyone avoids these terms except the Targets family © JAF 1999 - 201133

34 Another Way to Think About This… Think about individuals in your lives… Have they every been MEAN to anyone? You? Peers? Siblings? Adults? Anyone???? © JAF 1999 - 201134

35 BULLY and BULLYING are OUT!!!Mean Is A Better Term/Concept No one knows what bullying looks, feels and sounds like We miss what is right under our noses Everyone knows what mean looks, feels and sounds like If mean is the standard, we are much more likely to help make it safer If its mean…Intervene!!!! © JAF 1999 - 201135

36 Empathy As True Antidote For Meanness Having compassion for others Includes animals and property Being able to perceive the feelings of others Learning to be empathic diminishes levels of meanness Core concept in both emotional and social intelligence © JAF 1999 - 201136

37 Mean-Spirited Behavior in Boys and Girls American culture* raises boys and girls in different ways * Culture can be interpreted as any/every message one receives from the time we wake up in the morning until we go to sleep. Those message come directly in conversation among individuals (adults and peers), from the media, from the sporting arena, from academic settings and everywhere else imagined… © JAF 1999 - 201137

38 © JAF 1999 - 201138

39 The Boy Code: The Gender Straightjacket Boys will be boys Boys should be boys Shame for expressing feeling and emotions other than anger and aggression Violation of male stereotypes Great fear of embarrassment and humiliation, feeling stupid or foolish © JAF 1999 - 201139

40 Act Like A Man: The Boy Code Strong In control Money Car Girls Funny Aggressive Tough Athletic Confident Gay Acts like a girl Geeky/Nerd Cries Weak Unathletic Sensitive Mamas boy Trying too hard Rosalind Wiseman, Queen Bees & Wannabes Being Different! © JAF 1999 - 201140

41 Talking with Boys: Strategies Timed Silence Connect and share through action Shooting hoops Playing a board game Riding a bike Going for a walk ANYTHING, but sharing with eye contact © JAF 1999 - 201141

42 The Girl Code Caucasian Code Even for girls of color… White Privilege prevails Thin Pretty Nice No fighting No arguing No outward expression of violence Girls ARE becoming more physically violent…just not giving up being covert and insidious © JAF 1999 - 201142

43 Girls: Relational Aggression (Ruining Relationships) Act out anger laterally because they cannot easily challenge the male/female hierarchy The choice of popularity Wish to be part of the group Fear of being isolated, shunned and alone The choice of status Target Perpetrator Fear of being targeted themselves for stepping in to help other targets © JAF 1999 - 201143

44 Act Like A Woman: The Girl Code Shy Fat Acne Pretty Confident Hangs out with right guys Nice on the outside Too opinionated and cause- oriented Gay Happy Money Thin In Control Popular Athletic Rosalind Wiseman, Queen Bees & Wannabes Being Different! © JAF 1999 - 201144

45 Talking with Girls: Strategies Do not ask what is going on…unless you can give lengthy and undivided attention Talk about positive friendships Use literature to explore relationship issues Recognize and intervene with insidious and silent behaviors © JAF 1999 - 201145

46 Targets Of Bullies Are Vulnerable A public activity requiring a willing audience Active: egging on, laughing, etc. Passive: standing by watching, but not encouraging Power struggle Relationship between the aggressor and target is always uneven Boys identify those they do not know or like Girls identify those within their friendship circles © JAF 1999 - 201146

47 Research On Playground Supervision Adult perceptions of successful intervention Adults believed they were intervening in 50% of incidences Adults actually intervened in approximately 20% of incidences When effectiveness of intervention considered, it fell to 12-15% of incidences Childrens ability to intervene successfully is significantly higher than adults Effective student intervention was double that of adults Lessons learned from research Adults need to listen and intervene more often Adults need to empower students to intervene © JAF 1999 - 201147

48 Negligent Privacy Negligent privacy occurs when those who supervise and monitor children do not remain vigilant and unwittingly provide the opportunity for victimization to occur. Negligent privacy can occur on a playground filled with second graders, in a crowded high school cafeteria, during a youth group camping trip or even 10 feet away from a teacher in a classroom. Simply put, negligent privacy occurs when adults are not paying close attention to children under their care. Weakfish: Bullying Through the Eyes of a Child by Michael Dorn, p. 62 Safe Havens International, Inc. © JAF 1999 - 201148

49 Video: Social Cruelty

50 Addressing Those Who Act in Mean-Spirited Ways Apply appropriate identified disciplinary measures from policies Respond quickly and firmly to any retaliation toward targets and/or witness(es) Enforce policies consistently and fairly Students believe honor students, athletes, and students with positive relationships with adults receive less severe punishment than known bullies Inconsistent application leads to diminished school connectivity: Distrust in faculty Increased cynicism Decreased willingness to follow school rules © JAF 1999 - 201150

51 School Connectedness…The Other Bookend Research Funded by the Military Looking at student mobility Conducted by Johns Hopkins University The University of Minnesota Occurring simultaneously with the research on the rampage school shooters © JAF 1999 - 201151

52 When students feel they are a part of school, say they are treated fairly by teachers, and feel close to people at school, they are healthier and more likely to succeed. Improving the Odds: The Untapped Power of Schools to Improve the Health of Teens. April 2002 The Power Of Connection To School

53 School Connectedness: Simple Measures I feel close to people at this school I am happy to be at this school I feel like I am part of this school The teachers at this school treat students fairly I feel safe (physically, emotionally and intellectually) in this school © JAF 1999 - 201153

54 Factors Associated with School Connectedness: THE SCHOOL School size mattered (larger than 1,200 students matters) …classroom size did not School type is not associated with connectedness …public, private, parochial Location of school is not associated with connectedness …urban, suburban, rural © JAF 1999 - 201154

55 Factors Associated with School Connectedness: SCHOOL POLICIES No single school policy was associated with connectedness A climate of harsh discipline is associated with lower school connectedness It is possible to write policies to make connectedness not happen Zero tolerance policies tend to be unevenly applied The more punitive the policies, the less connected students feel © JAF 1999 - 201155

56 Factors Associated with School Connectedness: SCHOOL CLIMATE & CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT The single strongest association with connectedness was school climate Kids feel engaged when the classroom environment is seen as a safe place 1) Physically 2) Emotionally (no peer cruelty/bullying) 3) Intellectually/academically (no ridicule for taking academic risks: not made to feel a failure …this is often the least attended to © JAF 1999 - 201156

57 © JAF 1999 - 201157

58 Toward A Solution We have a desperate need to reconnect and value one another. The solution will be: Complex RTI Framework utilizing Tiers I, II and III (prevention/intervention continuum) Multidimensional Long-term Culturally and ecologically grounded Never-ending © JAF 1999 - 201158

59 Known Needs and Remedies Perpetrators Develop a sense of empathy for others Must be removed from the social group and earn their way back Close supervision Targeted individuals Develop healthy and meaningful friendships Do not ask them to change who they are Do not have to own what is being portrayed Bystanders Need to be empowered to become allies © JAF 1999 - 201159

60 Deal With the Individual Who Is Being Mean: Do Not Blame the Target Isolate those individuals being mean rather than protecting and supervising the target Social access is required in order to hurt others Those being mean must earn the right to rejoin the social group Long term: help them develop empathy toward others © JAF 1999 - 201160

61 Popularity: Two Sides Of The Coin Bad/Evil Popularity: Getting noticed Very odd notion of popularity The meanest to everyone People live in fear They have all the power and will retaliate Good Popularity: Teach THIS concept When a student is genuinely liked because she/he is nice to everyone The legacy of Alex © JAF 1999 - 201161

62 Creating A Caring Majority: Tapping Into The Here-To-Fore Silent Majority 20% of the population begins change Shared primary goal: 100 % of school population must be safe Give students permission to stand up for each other Adult role- modeling Adults cannot do it alone © JAF 1999 - 201162

63 The Story about Marcus... Cultural Change Paradigm Shift Years to Fully Realize © JAF 1999 - 201163

64 Developing Common and Systemic Language That Works: We dont do that in our school.

65 And… © JAF 1999 - 2011 If its mean… intervene!!! 65

66 Adult Actions and Reactions Determine Student Outcomes: The Foundation for Building Safe & Productive Learning Settings Student Success Educator Ethical Behavior Quality of Adult Role Modeling Adult Responsiveness to Cultural Differences Adult Awareness of Mistreatment of Others Quality of Adult to Student Relationships Adult Reaction to Student Misbehavior Use of Effective Teaching Strategies Ability to Differentiate Instruction © JAF 1999 - 201166

67 We can create these kinds of schools, but only if we demonstrate leadership – only if we stand up and speak up for civility and respect. We can create schools where every single school community member feels respected and valued. © JAF 1999 - 201167

68 A Useful Reflection: Stories of favorite teacher Think back to experiences in your schooling…elementary, middle or high Recall your most favorite teacher of all time Precisely…what did that teacher do to inspire, motivate and make learning engaging for you? Share with your colleagues the word or phrases which come to mind © JAF 1999 - 201168

69 Success For Students In School Single most important factor determining success is students perception that their teacher(s) like(s) them © JAF 1999 - 201169

70 Administrators MOST Difficult Task: The Adults Recognizing and confronting inappropriate adult interpersonal conduct Words Actions Abuse of power Non-verbal exchanges Unfair/biased treatment © JAF 1999 - 201170


72 © JAF 1999 - 201172

73 The Golden Rule as the ultimate measure: Treat others the way in which you would wish to be treated Even Better… Even Better… The Platinum Rule: Treat others the way they wish you would treat them The Standard for the Treatment of Others © JAF 1999 - 201173

74 Successful School Climate Improvement Requires: Systemically implementing a comprehensive prevention/intervention continuum of practices (Tiers I, II & III in a RTI/SRBI Framework) Teach and model school-based expectations for conduct Identify interfering behaviors early Manage these behaviors appropriately Such behaviors must not be overlooked or ignored Appropriate continuum of support (medical, social and/or psychological) should be identified and utilized © JAF 1999 - 201174

75 The school must be a true destination Every school community member, adult and student, should leave his or her house in the morning with a smile, go through the entire school day wearing that smile and arrive back home looking forward to returning to school the following day Mandates Make It Difficult… The IDEAL, However… © JAF 1999 - 201175

76 A Call To Action: Improving School Climate Improving school climate is among the most effective ways of improving the lives of youth, preventing violence and creating physically, emotionally and intellectually safe, supportive and positive learning environments © JAF 1999 - 201176

77 Synopsis: The Bottom Line In other words, what we need to do is to create and maintain healthy climates of respect © JAF 1999 - 201177

78 Climates of Respect: True Professional Learning Communities Not an add-on: a necessity Schools and community organizations should be modeling the best, not perpetrating the worst

79 Jo Ann Freiberg, Ph.D. CSDE: (860) 713-6598 Cell: (860) 778-8527 © JAF 1999 - 201179

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