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How to reduce suspension. Here’s what new research shows (opinion)

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 How to reduce suspension.  Here's what new research shows (opinion)

How to reduce student deviation?

Imagine you are a child. While you are watching TV, you see a program where a child like you is treated badly. Are you confused and wonder if you will be treated like this one day? Lack of control in you is alarming.

At the family meeting, the older cousin tells how he was rejected at school. He was tired after a late shift at work, and the teacher rebuked him for not paying attention, even when someone was literally asleep. He felt the attack and shouted, “Leave me alone!” The teacher sent him to the principal’s office, which led to a rejection. Do you think you will be called to school too? Is it only a matter of time before you are kicked out?

And now imagine that you are a teacher. You have five classes and you are expected to successfully teach individual lessons and general concepts. Over the course of the semester, your students become more and more irritable, and it becomes increasingly difficult for them to plan one lesson. Will you be able to give your students a quality education? Will you be able to achieve the standards that school boards, principals and parents set for you – or those that you set for yourself?

One day you are exhausted and hope to just go through the last lesson without any glitches, but of course the student continues to walk around the class. This student used to distract the class. It feels like this particular student is a troublemaker and will continue to influence your control over the class. What should you do if you have two dozen other students to worry about? You send him to the director’s office so they can figure out what to do. It turns out the student is dismissed for three days.

Such situations happen too often at the K-12 school. They are tragic for both students and teachers. Deferment can shape a child’s capabilities, both immediately and in the long run. In addition, some students (e.g., black students, students with disabilities) will most often be seen as lawbreakers if they misbehave. And poor relations with students are a common reason that teachers are dissatisfied and want to leave the profession.

And now imagine that you are the boss. The community is upset and in need of improvement. You also know that teachers are in short supply, and the teachers ’union is opposed to more training, which seems to blame them for problems with discipline. What can you do?

The latter research discovered a relatively simple way to protect both teachers and students: A 30-minute online exercise in which teachers focus on which partners they want to be for their students, and articulate them, can reduce deviations and mitigate disparities over the years.

In this study, participants read articles and stories about being able to understand students ’perspectives and maintain positive teacher-student relationships, especially when conflict or misbehavior occurs. They then shared their own advice to future teachers on how to maintain strong relationships with students.

What happened? Middle school students whose teachers performed this exercise were less likely to be rejected during the school year. Moreover, the largest reductions were for children most at risk of rejection (black and Hispanic students, previously rejected students, and students with disabilities), which reduced the racial disparity in deviations by 45 percent. The benefits even continued into the following year when the children chatted with new teachers. When only one teacher takes an empathic stance, it creates a better environment for students.

When students misbehave, they are not necessarily “problem kids”. Circumstances such as biological causes (such as puberty), social reasons (such as social development), or psychological reasons (such as concerns about fair treatment or affiliation) are more likely to occur. Then the task of all adults, educators, parents and others – to treat the child with empathy and understanding and help him grow.

Parents send to school the best version of their child they can. For parents, this child is the light of their lives. It helps us all remember this, especially in times of need. And it helps to ask questions. We can ask the child, “What happened?” and really mean it and listen well.

This does not mean the abolition of all discipline. It means empathic discipline, discipline with understanding, discipline that maintains relationships, discipline that helps children grow. Or, as one teacher said in an empathy exercise: “I greet all my children at the door with a smile. At the beginning of the year, I let them know that every day is a new day, and I will always be at school and will not give up on them. “

When teachers better understand their students, they are better prepared to achieve the goals they set when they joined the profession: to help children learn and grow, with a special focus on those who would not otherwise receive or acknowledge care. Often, the first thing a student wants to know is whether his teacher cares. If the answer is yes, they are also worried.

To learn how to bring empathy work to your schools, visit empathicinstruction.org.

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