August 2011 Archives

This book is a gem: a practical and hands-on approach to human relationships that stresses connection and empathy over "being right" and "getting what you want." Rosenberg comes from the violent streets of Detroit and knows the value of language in getting out of tight situations. A student of Carl Rogers and a proponent of peace education around the world, he is a beacon of hope for me in laying out his approach to what some have called "authentic" conversations.

Rosenberg lays out four main steps toward compassionate dialogue:

·        Observation: what you see, presented without judgment or emotion.

"I see that there has been a disagreement between you and your brother."

·        Feeling: what you feel, presented with ownership for the emotion and free from blame or projection.

"I feel disappointed in myself as a parent in not being a more effective role model for you two when I engage in arguing myself."

·        Need: what you need from the situation, making yourself vulnerable to another while clearly expressing your own incomplete ability to change a situation.

"I need a chance to talk with you both so that we can come up with ways

 to improve this situation."

·        Request: a statement that truly asks without demanding, keeping the focus on enhancing both yourself and the other person.

"Will you both come sit with me in an hour so that we can work on this?"


Sounds simple, eh? Recent experiences of my own suggest otherwise, since I have been educated in the language of blame, denial, and projection. I can already see that this will be a life-long process, yet I remain excited by the chance to enhance my relationships with others and promote more peaceful interactions in this world.


Changing how we speak and relate to one another takes time, and this book is a wonderful companion on this journey. I recommend it highly to you.


In peace and with humility,

Teacher John


Every school year begins with a learning curve: teachers and students need to learn about one another and develop a style and routine that will (hopefully) lead to a successful experience. Why not help the process along by creating a learning biography for your student?

Start with a photograph - either paste one onto a page or download one from the computer - that captures your child's personality. Then sit down with your child to complete the following, discussing each point and coming to some agreement about the most honest and helpful answers that could be given:

1)     I am a (good/fair/poor) student in the classroom.

2)     I am a (good/fair/poor) student at home.

3)     Three things in life that I absolutely love to do are a)_______________ b)______________________c) _____________________.

4)     Three specific skills I hope to learn and/or improve this year are a)_______________ b)___________________c)___________________.

5)     My favorite subject area is __________________________because _________________________.

6)     My most challenging subject area is _____________________because ___________________.

7)     I describe myself as (circle all that apply): self-motivated   a lover of learning   an independent learner   a detail person   attentive   impulsive   fidgety   a reluctant learner   organized   sloppy   forgetful   curious   bored distracting   distractible   competitive   a team player  critical of others   critical of myself   a teacher's pet responsible   lazy   critical of myself  

a class clown   a positive person a negative person    ______________________

8)     I wish I could be more like this (circle all that apply): self-motivated a lover of learning   an independent learner   a detail person   attentive   organized  curious   competitive   a team player  a teacher's pet responsible  a positive person ________________________________________________

9)     The most important goal I have for myself this year is _____________________.


End with your student writing a brief note to the teacher, followed by a brief note from you. Then send it off to school and know that you and your child have done something positive to start the new year in school. What are you waiting for?


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This page is an archive of entries from August 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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