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Life Impact: Empowering Students with Relationship, Ownership and Problem-solving

Posted by Default Admin on 10 February 2016 | 0 Comments

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“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our BIST Philosophy of letting kids know “You can never make me mad enough that I won’t be in a relationship with you,” while maintaining high expectations provides much needed structure, emotional support and assurance.

Time:  How much time do we give students?  It depends on the student, which can bring about anxiety in adults.  As much as we want students to be in the classroom, if we try to hurry the process we know that in the long run we will be compromising the learning environment and ultimately setting that student up to fail.
“Take all the time you need.”
“When you’re sitting in your chair, I’ll know that you’re ready.”
“When I see your hand raised, that will let me know that you are calm.”

Validation:  What is the purpose of this step and what do we validate?  The purpose of validation is to empathize while extending partnership.  We validate the emotions the student is experiencing and the difficulty of being accountable. 
“I get that this is difficult.”
“You may have great reasons to be mad.”
“It’s a challenge when we have to do something we don’t like.”

Boundaries:  The student remains in the place where the acting out stopped.  This could be any place in the continuum and is individualized to each student.  The student is protected in this area until they can partner with the adult and be in partnership with the correct adult.
“Until we can talk, where do you think you should be to stay out of trouble?”
“I’ll be back to check on you.  What should it look like/sound like to be classroom ready?”
“Are we asking you to stay in the __________ (place) to make you mad or to help you?”

Relationship:  When students reject us, they are testing to see if we will reject them back.  By maintaining high expectations and staying in the relationship, we are teaching boundaries through words and actions of care.
“I’m on your side.”
“Can you trust that I will help you?”
“I’m not mad at you.”
“You’re not in trouble, I will help you figure this out.”
“It’s difficult when we have to look at ourselves, I will help you.”

Questions:  Waiting for students to move from an emotional state to logical models respect.  Our building respects you enough to support through emotion until you can allow us to help you to problem-solve.  When we tell students what they’ve done instead of asking questions, we deny students the ability to self reflect and feel the accomplishment of growth.  By asking questions, we challenge students to be problem-solvers and feel proud of their ability to know everyone makes mistakes and they have the ability to fix things.
“On a scale of 1-5 (1=Calm / 5=Furious), where are you?”
“Are you ready to talk about what happened?
“What will it look and sound like to talk?
“Are you ready to talk without using other people’s names or blaming?”

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BIST is an outreach program of Cornerstones of Care. We partner for safe and healthy communities. Learn more at cornerstonesofcare.org.
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