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Student Citizenship, A Rationale: Addressing the needs of the Affective Domain; Ted Sharp, Head of School

18 Dec 2019 1:25 PM | Anonymous

School communities are a microcosm of the larger macro community, the society in which we all live. Humankind has long recognized that we must establish parameters that enable us to live together harmoniously (laws, rules, & regulations). Schools must do the same. In a democratic society these parameters of accepted behavior define the essence of good citizenship. In essence, if you abide by and promote these expectations, these laws, you are considered a person of integrity, a person likely to contribute to the common good. Again, this expectation and this definition of good citizenship applies to school communities, as well. This is a major focus of teaching and learning at LPS.

Highly effective schools understand that any departure in behavior by any member of the school community must be addressed as an opportunity to redress that behavior by using it as a teaching moment. This approach is exactly what we expect our teachers to do with respect to teaching and learning n the classroom, that is, seize the focus of study in each class as an opportunity to further student understanding and appreciation of the subject of that lesson. This approach is embedded in highly effective instruction in the cognitive domain. Quite simply, it is what great teachers do!

Unfortunately, far too many schools have not transferred this approach to the affective domain, the social emotional development of the child, particularly with respect to student conduct. Again, simply stated, action that violates the way we do things here! The recidivism of student misbehavior in such an environment is extremely high.

It is only when we treat these behaviors as teaching moments, as opportunities to advance the understanding and appreciation of each child with respect to the need for these community norms, that we truly make a constructive contribution to the child’s life.

This approach requires that all members of the school staff embrace and advance this protocol, understanding that they must seize these opportunities as teaching moments, as real opportunities to make a constructive difference in the life of the child.

As it does in the cognitive realm, in the affective realm some students will take a longer and more sustained effort by themselves and by staff to truly understand and to manifest the accepted norms of being a good school citizen.

At the heart of all successful schools is a healthy, vibrant culture that embraces this approach to advance the personal integrity of each member of the community, staff, as well as students. The foundation for this work is character education. The core principles are embedded in a code of conduct that delineates the core values of the school. These five core values include respect, honesty, caring, compassion, and responsibility. These values are advanced through common reads, by integration throughout the educational program, and by modeling. At LPS we are dedicated to this work, to applying the same intense focus to the affective needs of our students that we bring to their cognitive needs.

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