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While it is widely recognized that teachers are tasked with creating the learning conditions for students, some student-specific variables represent situations well beyond the teacher’s and the student’s control. These student-specific variables can include a number of traumatic events experienced by the child, including: tragic accidents, sudden death of parent(s), natural disasters), physical/emotional/sexual abuse, drug abuse and addiction in the household, and incarceration of a parent and/or significant adult. Educators need to understand the ways the ways in which the needs of children who experience trauma and/or sustained periods of stress can differ significantly from their peers. For teachers not completely aware of the ways that adverse childhood experiences (or ACE’s) can impact students, the challenges for both students and teachers alike can be magnified. Taken in combination with the myriad of other ways that students differ, it is important that teachers have a plan for how they will understand the needs of learners with complex needs and respond compassionately so that all students remain connected to their schooling experience.
Creating Compassionate Schools will provide teachers an overview of the rationale for embracing pedagogical strategies rooted in compassion. The course has been developed to introduce educators to the principles and practices of an approach that takes aim at “getting it right” for both students and their teachers. Creating Compassionate Schools will provide an introductory look at the scientific research-base emerging from a number of disciplines (e.g., social services, education research, neurobiology, public health approaches) in support of compassionate schooling. With compassion as a lens through which professionals can view their work, a number of topics such as professional learning communities, action research and job satisfaction will be explored. Implications of the approach will be discussed as well as barriers to implementation.
Attention will also be devoted to considering the shifting educational landscape as legislative efforts to increase the prominence of social and emotional learning (SEL) standards across K-12 settings are occurring. The defining characteristics of Compassionate Schools will be considered along with characteristics of other movements such as Positive Behavior and Instructional Supports (PBIS), Differentiated Instruction (DI) and Whole Child Education. Exemplars of states operating in alignment with compassionate schooling principles will included.
Teachers responding to the needs of a diverse learning population that include such variables often feel unprepared and isolated. Attempts to connect with colleagues and others within their educational context can yield limited results. Creating Compassionate Schools will also include resources for reflecting on the level of complexity present in classrooms today. Research-based information and strategies will provide course participants with:
Designed with a K-12 professional audience in mind, Creating Compassionate Schools offers insight into challenges faced by professionals across the educational spectrum in identifying, addressing, and collaborating around the complex needs of students.
This online course is experiential and interactive. Participants will need to do the exercises, complete the online assignments, and post responses that are indicated to the forum for feedback. In addition, participants will be expected to apply certain skills-building exercises in their own setting and report the results of that to the forum. Participation is necessary for passing the course.
Upon completion of the course, students can decide if they would like to receive credit and from which university they would like to receive credit. Please see University Affiliations under the Information Center for the cost per credit.
LESSON 1: WHY COMPASSIONATE SCHOOLS ARE NEEDED
1a Concerned About Compassion?
1b Addressing Concern # 1: Compassionate Schooling is Unscientific
1c Addressing Concern # 2: Compassionate Schooling is a Distraction from “Real Reform”?
1d Understanding How Reform Efforts Move at the Speed of Relationships
1e When Relationships Slow to a Crawl
1f Addressing Concern #3: Can Educators Opt Out of the Compassionate Schooling Approach?
1g Compassion Helps Frame “The Big Picture”
LESSON 2: WHAT IS A COMPASSIONATE SCHOOL?
2a Characteristics of Compassionate Schooling
2b Principles of Compassionate Schooling
2c A Working Definition of a Compassionate School
2d Barriers to Creating Compassionate Schools
LESSON 3: COMMON CARE STANDARDS
3a Common CARE Standards
3b What is Education’s “Standard of Care”?
3c Why A “Duty To Care” Will Not Satisfy
3d Compassion Is Fueled by Curiosity
3e Compassion Anticipates the Essential Questions of the Learner’s Heart
LESSON 4: COMPASSION HONORS THE COMPLEXITY OF DIVERSITY
4a Compassion Honors the Complexity of Diversity
4b Complexity in the Context of Compassion
4c Complexity is a Moving Target for Compassion
4d The Core of a Compassionate School Professional
4e What Kinds of Problems Does Compassion Solve?
LESSON 5 COMPASSION CREATES CONNECTIONS
5a How the Need for Connectedness Leads Us to Consider Compassion
5b A Disconnect for Education
5c Connecting the Disconnected
5d Compassion Hears a Voice Through Behavior
5e How Compassion Helps Professionals Learn
LESSON 6: UNDERSTANDING ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES (ACE’S)
6a Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s)
6b Findings of the ACE Study
6c Reflecting on the Meaning of ACE’s
6d How Becoming ACE’s-aware Challenges and Changes Us
6e Implications of ACE’s Research for Educators
6f How Being ACE-informed Increases Protective Factors
LESSON 7 HOW STRESS AND TRAUMA IMPACT LEARNING
7a Stress In Context
7b Understanding “Good Stress” and “Bad Stress”
7c The Impact of Stress On Learning
7d Trauma Is Sometimes the Elusive “Something Else”
7e How Stress Impacts Us Physiologically
7f Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
7g Our Brains are a “Driving” Force
7h Does All Stress Lead to Trauma?
7i Strategies That Promote a Culture of Calm
LESSON 8 MOVING AT THE SPEED OF RELATIONSHIPS
8a The Importance of Sharing Power with Learners
8b Improving Our Relationships with Learners
8c Course Conclusion
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