As educators and administrators in today's schools, our job is about more
than lessons, homework, and grades. Some young people struggle with serious or
crisis issues, including:
- Bullying (vicious teasing, cliques, online/cyber bullying, etc.)
- Body image (beauty ideals, anorexia, obesity, etc.
- Addiction (alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, pharming, addictive behaviors,
- Mental health (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.)
- Abuse (physical, mental, sexual, etc.)
- Sex (harassment, underage sex, promiscuity, "hooking up", "friends with
benefits", sexual identity, etc.)
- School violence
These issues can interfere with students' readiness and ability to learn. But
beyond the academic impact, we have a professional and moral duty to help our
students as people. Our help is particularly vital when young people are
confused, at risk, or seriously hurt. Our efforts and our choices can be part of
the solution. The more we know, the more we can help.
This course is designed to help us better understand these issues and what we
can do to help our students. For most of these issues, there aren't simple
answers or strategies. Instead, this course will include extensive surveys and
self-diagnostics (including clicker-based classroom surveys). These activities
will help us reflect on our individual perspectives, beliefs, and habits. They
will also help us reflect on the unique experiences and strengths we can draw on
to help students.
When appropriate, we'll use facts, expert advice, and guest speakers to
help (re)construct our approach to these issues.
This course has two central themes:
- Nurturing a learning community. Such a community includes a connected,
caring, collaborative, educative climate. Climate is a critical factor in many
- Being perceptive and proactive. Many serious/crisis issues can be mitigated
or even minimized by proactive intervention, including early intervention and
connecting students with specialists.
Teachers from all grades and disciplines should find this course provocative