Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools

School Culture / Climate

24

Apr

The Principal: Character, Collaboration, Commitment

by Ed DeRoche, Character Education Resource Center, Director, University of San Diego

This blog was written as a direct result of reading David Brooks’s column, “Good Leaders Make Good Schools which I will summarize below. The column topic reminded me of previous notes and publications that I wrote about school leadership.

For example, several years ago, I published an article in the Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education, and Development (September 2000, Vol. 39, Issue 1) titled, “Leadership for Character Education Programs.” I suggested school principals and program leaders should be visionaries, missionaries, consensus builders, knowledge sources, standard bearers, architects, role models, communicators, collaborators, resource providers, and evaluators. For each responsibility, I offered commentary about the “what and why.”

Elsewhere, I wrote described two views about character and leadership.

One was that of Zenger and Folkman (The Extraordinary Leader) who made a clear case that “Character is the center pole, the core of leadership effectiveness.”

The other was a summary of the Turknett Leadership Group’s “Leadership Character Model.” Their view is that “Leadership is about character – who you are not, what you do.” Their model includes three core qualities as the keys of leadership character:

  1. Integrity [honesty, credibility, trustworthy];
  2. Respect (empathy, lack of blame, motivational mastery, humility); and
  3. Responsibility (self-confidence, accountability, focus on the whole, courage).

(www.turknett.com)

Current research about school principals is exciting and informative. The Knowledge Center at www.wallacefoundation.org contains more than 70 publications about school leadership. In my readings of a few of the reports, I found evidence that effective principals establish leadership teams, led by the principal, assistant principals, and teacher leaders. Team members shared responsibility for student progress.

Another discovery (at least for me) was that effective principals encourage collaboration “paying special attention to how school time is allocated.” Another study reported that, coupled with collaboration, “principals who rated highly for the strength of their actions (commitment) to improve instruction were also more apt to encourage the staff to work collaboratively.” Note this important finding, “When principals and teachers share leadership, teachers’ working relationships with one another are stronger and student achievement is higher.”

Now, all of this information is what I call “in-house stuff.” My point—the public knows little about these significant findings.

Thus, it is left to journalists and the media to bring this important information to the public, especially parents, board members, and community leaders. David Brooks did this in his column, “Good Leaders Make Good Schools” (NYT, 3-12, 2018).

In brief, here is what he wrote.

     If you want to learn how to improve city schools, look how Washington D.C.,

     New Orleans, and Chicago are already doing it.

     Restructuring schools and increasing teacher quality don’t get you very far without a strong principal.

How do they do this he asks? His answer, “They build a culture…set by their behavior (character).”  

He also notes that “it takes five to seven years for a principal to have full impact on a school….When you learn about successful principals, you keep coming back to character traits they embody and spread: energy, trustworthiness, honesty, optimism, determination, and promotes a collaborative power structure.”

In bold type he writes a key finding from researchers who studied principals in 180 schools across nine states and concluded, “We have not found a single case of a school improving its student achievement record in absence of talented leadership.”

Brooks concludes, “We went through a period when we believed you could change institutions without first changing the character of the people in them. But we were wrong. Social transformation follows personal transformation.”

The question for current school principals posed by Baruti K. Kafele, an award-winning former urban principal in New Jersey: “Is my school a better school because I lead it?”

His answer:

“It’s my strong belief that to lead your school forward, you must consider this question daily. To answer this question affirmatively, you must be absolutely clear about who you are as the school leader, what your mission is, what purpose drives your work, and how you envision the future of your leadership and school. These characteristics determine who you are, what you’re about, why you’re about it, and where you are going. They serve as a mirror for why you do this work in the first place. You must lead your school with the confidence to say, ‘Yes, my school is, in fact, a better school because I lead it.’ And when you do, students win.”

https://www.sandiego.edu/soles/character-education-resource-center/

Edward DeRoche, Ph.D.

Character Education Resource Center, Director

deroche@sandiego.edu

University of San Diego

5998 Alcala Park

San Diego, CA 92110

30

Nov

Ajudando os Alunos a Identificar os seus Valores (Spanish)

This Article is the translation, with the kind permission of the author, Maurice J. Elias, of the post Helping your Students Identify Their Values that has been published in Edutopia, the third July 2017. Due to its extension, it will be published in three parts.

Este artigo é a tradução, amavelmente autorizada pelo autor, Maurice J. Elias, do artigo publicado em Edutopia a 3 de Julho de 2017. Devido à sua extensão, será publicado em 3 partes.

Convide os seus alunos a escrever sobre os princípios orientadores segundo os quais eles querem viver, usando estes tópicos motivadores para os ajudar a começar.

By Maurice J. Elias

O início do ano escolar é uma ocasião propícia para pedir aos alunos que reflitam sobre aquilo que traz um sentido orientador às suas vidas. E colocar por escrito os seus princípios orientadores de vida é uma tarefa perfeita para esta reflexão.

Os professores de alunos a partir do 5º ano podem pedir-lhes que descrevam os princípios segundo os quais desejam viver as suas vidas. Para os ajudar a sintonizar a ideia, podem conversar sobre biografias que eles tenham lido ou visto em filmes (Também podem ver juntos extratos de vídeos ou lerem juntos excertos de livros); depois organizem um diálogo ou enumerem um resumo das regras pelas quais essas pessoas parecem ter pautado as suas vidas. Também podem colocar aos alunos a mesma questão sobre personagens de romances, adultos presentes nas suas vidas ou figuras históricas.

Para Começar:

Algumas questões motivadoras podem ajudar os alunos a começar a pensar mais profundamente sobre os seus próprios valores ou princípios.

  • Quem admiras? Enumera três qualidades admiráveis dessa pessoa.
  • Descreve um incidente ou um evento em que tenhas aprendido uma lição da forma mais dura.
  • O que poderias mudar em ti próprio para te tornares uma pessoa melhor?
  • Quais são as três qualidades que valorizas num amigo? Num Professor? No Pai ou na Mãe?
  • Quem foi mais importante na tua vida em ajudar-te a estabelecer os teus valores? Por favor explica.
  • Quais são os três valores mais importantes que pensas serem essenciais para encorajar os teus próprios filhos, um dia mais tarde?
  • Qual é a regra única que tu crês ser a essencial para orientar a tua vida?
  • Se nós vivêssemos num mundo perfeito, como é que as pessoas poderiam proceder de forma diferente do que fazem agora?

(Continua)

Sobre o Autor: Maurice J. EliasProf. of Psychology, Director, Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab (www.secdlab.org), Director, the Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service (engage.rutgers.edu)@SELinSchools

LINK…

http://cadescrita.edublogs.org/2017/07/08/ajudando-os-alunos-a-identificar-os-seus-valores-i/

13

Oct

Developing Professional Relationships That Work

Summary:  This article shares reflections on the importance of developing positive professional relationships with colleagues and supervisors, offering some “guiding principles” on developing a positive climate.

Source:  Carl Draeger, Education Week, September 27, 2017

Categories:  Positive Relationships, School Culture/Climate, Teacher Collaboration, Emotional Intelligence

11

Oct

New Poll: Safe and Positive School Environment More Important Than Higher Test Scores

Summary:  This article reports on a poll of registered voters in California concerning school performance.  The article breaks down the results of the poll and reports that creating a safe and positive school environment was one of the top priorities that should be addressed.

Source: Louis Freedberg, John Fensterwald, and Theresa Harrington, EdSource, October 4, 2017

Categories:  School Culture/Climate, School Health, School Safety

11

Oct

Positive Words Go a Long Way

Summary:  This article talks about the long lasting effects of positive language and support for student effort.  The author suggests five ways that positive language can be used to empower students.

Source:  Alissa Nucaro, Edutopia, October 2, 2017

Categories:  Classroom Practice, Positive Relationships, School Culture/Climate

11

Oct

Social-Emotional Learning Can Begin on the Bus Ride

Summary: This article reports on a project at Butler University where bus drivers were trained on how to form positive relationships with students during their rides to and from school and how to teach them ways to cope with stressful situations at home or during the school day.

Source:  Amelia Harper, Education DIVE, October 10, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, Emotional Intelligence, School Culture/Climate, Positive Relationships

22

Sep

Friends Elem School

The School Climate Problem (and What We Can Do About It)

Summary: This article makes the point about a positive school climate being about every student.  The author stresses the point that “All means all” saying that every student must feel connected to the school regardless of background, needs to be acted upon in practice in the school.  It needs to more than just a saying.

Source:  Peter DeWitt, Education Week Commentary, September 21, 2017

Categories: School Culture/Climate, Educational Equity, Student Engagement, Empathy

22

Sep

What’s the Best Way to Prepare for an Emergency — and How Can SEL Help?

Summary: This article touches on how schools prepare for crisis situations and how to build resilience to deal with trauma before, during, and after an emergency incident occurs.  The author contends that SEL and building relationships is an important step in the process.

Source:  Amelia Harper, Education Dive, September 18, 2017

Categories:  School Safety, School Culture/Climate, School Health, Mental Health, SEL Basics, Positive Relationships

15

Sep

Scientists to Schools: Social, Emotional Development Crucial for Learning

Summary:  This article reports on a research brief – the product of a year of work by 28 academic researchers who study issues like student motivation, school climate, and social-emotional learning. The panel, known as the council of distinguished scientists, was organized by the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, which has set out to bring together educators, scientists, policy makers, and philanthropists to clarify a vision for social-emotional learning in schools.-

Source: Evie Blad, Education Week, September 13, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, School Culture/Climate, Core Values, Performance Values

13

Sep

Embedding Social-Emotional Learning in High School Classrooms

Summary:  This white paper is the result of 20 years of experience working with secondary school leaders and classroom teachers. Engaging Schools advocates that embedding SEL instruction and support into classroom learning is foundational to reaching all students every day. 

Source:  Larry Dieringer, Engaging Schools, September 12, 2017

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, School Culture/Climate, Classroom Practice