In this month's Ask the Teacher feature, we find out about positive discipline from Julia Carey, second grade teacher at Shanghai American School (SAS), Puxi.
The positive parenting course is an 8-week program held once a week for three hours. It's based on the works of Dr. Jane Nelsen and the philosophy is rooted in humanistic psychology. At the core, the program teaches strategies to empower children in a non-punitive way, to build mutually respectful relationships, and to create a sense of belonging and capability. The workshops are structured around experiential learning activities as opposed to a traditional lecture format, so that parents learn by ‘doing’ rather than passively receiving information.
The course is important for parents seeking not only to better understand their child’s behavior, but also to build relationships based on mutual respect and to focus on long-term solutions rather than short-term fixes. At SAS we believe strongly in educating the whole child, so social-emotional learning is at the core of our instruction. SAS teachers and parents want our children to be happy, healthy, and successful adults, so it’s important that we are educating ourselves on how exactly to do that.
All day, every day. It has completely transformed my teaching practice and the way I relate to both children and adults. This ranges from the types of questions I ask children, to the way the children problem solve independently, to employing more structured strategies like class meetings.
Absolutely. Parents who take the course become much more visible on campus afterwards. Suddenly it seems as if there’s an understanding that we are a borderless school that is a true community. For both the students and adults, the principals, counselors and teachers are not disciplinarians but partners. Participation in the course results in a complete mindset and paradigm shift for the parents, which directly translates into the ways the kids handle making mistakes and solving problems.
We are so pleased to have Dr. Jane Nelsen at our Speaker Series this year, as her philosophy and practice has definitely changed our teachers, parents, and students – in essence, our entire community.