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Could Empathy Training Help Teachers Reduce Suspensions?

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“A new study from Stanford University researchers has found that there is a direct correlation between empathy training for teachers and reduced suspensions in schools. According to the study, which was recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, teachers who received reading material and online courses teaching empathy were significantly less likely to suspend students than teachers who did not. The researchers conducted the study by splitting “39 K–12 teachers from five California public schools into two groups and randomly assigned them to read one of two research articles: one that said ‘good teacher-student relationships are critical for students to learn self-control’ and another that said ‘punishment is critical for teachers to take control of the classroom,’” according to ScienceMag.org.”(more)

Time management critical for success

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

“Learning to read, write, solve mathematics problems, apply scientific principles to real world situations, and speak a foreign language are not the only skills children need to acquire before they leave home.” ~Confucius

Many experts argue that time management abilities are equally important. Academically gifted people cannot survive in modern society if they are not able to deliver a high quality product, on time.

Most K-12 schools are struggling to teach time management skills, because parents are constantly pressuring them about grades. Many teachers are under so much pressure to issue high marks that they create extra opportunities for students to improve their final course grade.

Although “second chances” give the parents what they want, they have the unintended consequence of teaching kids that planning is irrelevant because there are always other opportunities to change the result.

When young people get to college and/or enter the workforce “second chances” are rare. Most college professors do not offer extra papers or problem sets at the end of the semester and employers take a dim view of late arrivals, shoddy work, and missed deadlines.

Since it has become impossible for most K-12 teachers to teach time management, parents must handle the task at home.

As a first step, kids need to learn how to plan ahead. There are many free computer-based scheduling applications that help in this area. Kids generally find it easy to enter homework day by day, but often need coaching on how to break future activities, like preparing for a test that is two weeks away, into daily tasks.

Then children need to learn how to make productive use of time. For example, it takes “forever” to finish math homework when kids chat online between problems. Learning to stay off social media during homework time can go a long way to improving efficiency.

Sleep is also important for time management. It takes less time to learn material and complete homework tasks when the brain is rested, so it is important to make sure your kids get enough sleep each night.

Multi-taking is not efficient. Teach your childred to finish one task before they begins another one.

Procrastination never pays. If something is due today, make sure it is finished. Otherwise, the next day will be overwhelming.

Prioritize homework first. This prevents late nights and productivity problems.

Learning to manage time is challenging. Start teaching your child early and reward progress often!

 

Schools commit to reducing suspensions, but parents don’t have the details

Ed Source – Jane Meredith Adams

“Every one of California’s 50 largest school districts has committed to reducing the number of students sent home for behavioral infractions. But two years into a state requirement that districts let parents evaluate the path of progress, most of those 50 districts have not set specific suspension goals nor provided comparison rates that would allow parents to see if improvement is happening, according to a report released Thursday. Parent and community involvement is the philosophical backbone of the education finance system introduced in 2013, known as the Local Control Funding Formula, that shifts spending decisions from the state to local districts. In exchange, districts are required to create three-year Local Control and Accountability Plans, starting in 2014-15, to show exactly how much they are spending to drive improvements, including reducing suspensions and expulsions, and whether those investments have been effective.”(more)

Years into changes, Colorado schools still struggle balancing discipline

The Denver Post – Yesenia Robles

“Peace circles, mediation and refocusing. They’re tools that teachers are now using in most districts as alternatives to sending students to the principal’s office. It’s a shift away from zero-tolerance policies that became the norm after the 1999 Columbine High School shootings, which left 13 dead. Those policies had some parents upset when schools suspended students who missed too many days from school or chewed gum in class, or they called the police on children with toy guns. Researchers say the strict policies were unevenly applied to students of color and served to disengage students from school without looking into why they may have been acting up.”(more)

A ‘No-Nonsense’ Classroom Where Teachers Don’t Say ‘Please’

NPR – Lisa Worf

“Any classroom can get out of control from time to time. But one unique teaching method empowers teachers to stop behavior problems before they begin. You can see No-Nonsense Nurturing, as it’s called, firsthand at Druid Hills Academy in Charlotte, N.C. “Your pencil is in your hand. Your voice is on zero. If you got the problem correct, you’re following along and checking off the answer. If you got the problem incorrect, you are erasing it and correcting it on your paper.” Math teacher Jonnecia Alford has it down pat. She then describes to her sixth-graders what their peers are doing. “Vonetia’s looking at me. Denario put her pencil down — good indicator. Monica put hers down and she’s looking at me.” In “no-nonsense nurturing,” directions are often scripted in advance, and praise is kept to a minimum. The method is, in part, the brainchild of former school principal Kristyn Klei Borrero. She’s now CEO of the Center for Transformative Teacher Training, an education consulting company based in San Francisco.”(more)

L.A. Unified sees success in counseling rather than arresting truants and kids who fight

The Los Angeles Times – Teresa Watanabe

“Anderson is one of 405 sworn L.A. Unified police officers who, along with more than 125 safety officers, make up the nation’s largest independent school police force. Across the nation, campus officers are facing criticism that they’re pushing children into a “school-to-prison pipeline” with citations, arrests and excessive force for issues that could be resolved by other means. National studies show that one arrest doubles a student’s odds of dropping out. But in L.A. Unified, police Chief Steven Zipperman and his force worked with community organizations to launch a landmark reform last year that has ended citations for most fights, petty thefts and other minor offenses in favor of redirection into counseling programs. In the last year, he said, about 460 students who would otherwise have been cited were sent to counseling instead, with only 7% failing to complete their programs. The reform builds on earlier efforts to end tickets for truancy, which resulted in a steep decline in citations to 3,499 in 2013 from 11,698 in 2010. In the last year, he said, about 460 students who would otherwise have been cited were sent to counseling instead, with only 7% failing to complete their programs. All told, more than 770 students were sent to counseling in lieu of tickets for truancy, minor offenses and misdemeanor battery charges during the 2014-15 school year.”(more)