First Presenter's Institution

Teaching Empathy Institute

Second Presenter's Institution

NA

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Vernon

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

In this session, I will focus on how to effectively infuse social skills development into the learning culture of a school and classroom through group dialogue, class meetings, common language, ritual building, mindfulness, storytelling and processing.

Brief Program Description

The School of belonging focuses on social and emotional culture building within the school and classroom settings. In this session we will explore the most effective ways to engage students and build community, by implementing diverse teaching methods while creating an emotionally safe school free from bullying and other low-level forms of aggressive behaviors.

Summary

A School of Belonging initiative is a process-oriented approach to professional development that creates cultural practices that embrace social and emotional learning as a cornerstone for a healthy learning community. Many educators with whom I’ve worked, see social and emotional learning as a “thing” or a program. It is neither. It is a mindset, a consciousness, a way of being. In a School of Belonging, SEL is infused into the fiber of the school through consciousness raising, skill development, and direct application within each interaction that takes place during the school day. The School of Belonging process is provided in multiple contexts with teachers, school and district leadership, para-professionals, parents and students. All members of the school community are engaged and involved including the cafeteria workers, bus drivers as well as any school visitors who are working with children.

All students need to feel that there is a place reserved just for them in their school. In The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, the late Stephen Covey wrote of the need to find a voice and then to express this voice to the world. This voice is what we hear when students freely share the things they love to do. A school has its own voice as well, a voice that sings in celebration of the passion, the achievements, and the many joys of students and teachers. This voice-the voice of belonging-is a touchstone for many young people who need to feel the affirmation of a caring learning environment. The first step is in creating such an environment is for all of the adults in the school, to realize how significant a role they can play in the lives of their students.

Evidence

The School of Belonging has been implemented in numerous schools in the Hudson Valley and in New York City. The design of this initiative is grounded in the work of William Glasser and meeting a child's emotional needs, Emmy Werner and her work on resilience, and Peter Senge and his work on systems change. The process is collaborative and need-oriented, seeking to meet the unique needs of each school community within which the School of Belonging is being implemented. We are currently piloting a school-wide School of Belonging program with an elementary school in the city of Kingston, New York. This work is being evaluated by Columbia Teachers College as part of a longitudinal study on violence prevention.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

David Levine is an educator, writer, musician, and a nonprofit leader with more than 30 years of experience working in a multitude of educational settings, as a teacher, facilitator and systems change specialist. Between 2014 and 2016, he worked for Turnaround for Children in New York City, as a designer and coach. Turnaround works with high-poverty schools in NYC, Newark, NJ, and Washington, DC, facilitating learning environments that are trauma-informed and meet the physical and emotional needs of all students. David also worked for four years as the chief trainer and facilitator for The Northeast Regional Center’s Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Program, a Department of Education project devoted to creating emotionally safe learning communities. David has consulted extensively for school districts up and down New York’s Hudson River Valley, including schools in New York City, Poughkeepsie, and the city of Beacon, focusing on creating caring and compassionate school cultures where social and emotional learning and emotional intelligence are foundational practices.

As a musician, songwriter, and producer, David produced a Parent’s Choice Gold Award winning recording of original children’s music for Angel Records, and an award-winning music video documentary, focusing on empathy and social decision making. Using his songs as learning tools, David designed the Music Dialogue process which inspires both children and adults to look within to make a difference without. As a writer, he wrote four books and numerous journal articles that focus on empathy and emotional intelligence practices, as community building tools.

In March, 2016, he founded Teaching Empathy Institute.

Keyword Descriptors

social and emotional learning, empathy, compassion, culture building, emotional safety, resilience, social skills, life skills, sustainability, emotional intelligence, mindfulness

Presentation Year

2018

Start Date

3-5-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

3-5-2018 4:15 PM

TEI - NYAR Conference Handout.pdf (7737 kB)
NYAR Conference Handout

TEI School of Belonging Handout.pdf (1363 kB)
School of Belonging Handout

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Mar 5th, 3:00 PM Mar 5th, 4:15 PM

The School of Belonging: a culture building process for schools and classrooms

Vernon

The School of belonging focuses on social and emotional culture building within the school and classroom settings. In this session we will explore the most effective ways to engage students and build community, by implementing diverse teaching methods while creating an emotionally safe school free from bullying and other low-level forms of aggressive behaviors.