Learning to Trust: Transforming Difficult Elementary Classrooms Through Developmental Discipline / Edition 1

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Most teachers today are faced with increasing pressure to teach to higher academic standards. At the same time the social climate has become especially challenging, with many children appearing more distressed and difficult than ever. Yet the focus on academic achievement has led some teachers, against their better judgment, to reduce their attention to students' social and ethical growth and to building relationships with and among their students. In Learning to Trust, an educational psychologist and a classroom teacher collaborate on an in-depth case study in an inner-city classroom, told through the teacher's own voice. Using these real-life examples, they demonstrate the power and importance of caring, trusting relationships for fostering not only children's social and ethical development but their academic growth as well.

This book applies attachment theory to the school setting, showing how this perspective can help teachers build collaborative, trusting relationships even with their most challenging students. Marilyn Sheehan Watson explains and describes the ups and downs of Laura Ecken's classroom through the lens of attachment theory, while Laura describes in vivid detail the ongoing life of her classroom, revealing throughout her challenges, thoughts, fears, failures and successes. Together they explore strategies for helping children develop the emotional skills needed to live harmonious and productive lives, the social and communication skills to be a friend and work collaboratively with classmates, the self confidence and curiosity to invest wholeheartedly in learning, and the empathy and personal and moral understanding to be caring and responsible young people.

Learning to Trust will help teachers meet the challenge to care, balance their need for authority with their students' need for autonomy, and support their students' intellectual growth without abandoning their obligation to educate for responsible citizenship and an ethical life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a wonderful resource for teachers on how to change classrooms by sharing developmental discipline in step-by-step process." (Childhood Education; Winter 2004/05)

"If you read one book on discipline during your teaching career, this should be the one." (Rethinking Schools, Fall 2003)

"...presents a strong case for an alternative approaching utilizing Developmental Discipline." (Education Review, 10/2/03)

"...I've attended workshops and read numerous articles...but nothing has inspired me as much as Marilyn Watson's new book..." (Rethinking Schools Online, Winter 2003)

"Learning to Trust should be required reading for any elementary or secondary school teacher..." (Education Review, 12/2/03)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787966508
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/2/2003
  • Series: Jossey-Bass Education Ser.
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 713,860
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Marilyn Sheehan Watson has worked for more than two decades with teachers, teacher educators, and education researchers to effectively promote children's social, moral, and intellectual development. As program director of the Developmental Studies Center's award-winning school change effort, the Child Development Project, and as director of the center's national Teacher Education Project, she has been instrumental in defining education that has children's basic developmental needs at its heart.

Laura Ecken has shared sixteen thoughtful years with the elementary school children of Louisville, Kentucky. She is one of the teachers we never forget.

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Table of Contents

Foreword (Alfie Kohn).



Introduction: A Classroom Where Everyone Belongs.

PART ONE: Building Trust.

1. Building the Teacher-Student Relationship.

2. Teaching Children How to Be Friends.

3. Building the Community.

PART TWO: Managing the Classroom.

4. Meeting Students’ Needs for Competence and Autonomy.

5. Managing Mistakes and Misbehavior: Taking a Teaching Stance.

6. Managing Mistakes and Misbehavior: When Teaching and Reminding Aren’t Enough.

7. Competition in the Classroom.

PART THREE: Putting It All Together.

8. Showing Students How to Compose a Life.

9. Finding the Conditions for Success.

Epilogue: Bringing It Back Home.

Afterword (Laura Ecken).

Appendix 1: Attachment Theory: A New Way of Looking at Children.

Appendix 2: Annotated List of Resources.


About the Authors.


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