School Name: Cedar Community Secondary School
School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith
Inquiry Team Members:Darcy Hoff: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOII (focus on core competencies, OECD learning principles, etc.)
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Not applicable
Focus Addressed: Growth mindset, Self-regulation, Social and emotional learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? We are hoping that through the Circle of Courage we can help students become more resilient.
Scanning: In scanning we noticed that students were showing poor resiliency. They would have a tough time dealing with struggling academically and/or socially. It seemed as though they were falling in the trap of failing without trying being emotionally easier than trying something and failing. For some it was getting to the point that they would not even “get back up again” when someone was trying to pick them up.
Focus: Through the teaching of independence, mastery, belonging, and generosity, we believe that students will see greater value in themselves and become more resilient. It is our hope that when faced with an obstacle, the students will become willing to make multiple attempts at breaking through it.
Hunch: School could have been playing a part through creating learned helplessness over the years. It is also possible that we were not giving students enough opportunity and/or scaffolded opportunities to allow them to practice independence and generosity.
New Professional Learning: As a group, our team read the book “Reclaiming Youth at Risk.” We then came together and shared the parts that we thought were particularly insightful, changed our thinking, or created more questions for us. Within the book was a model for the Circle of Courage. This is the model we used to train staff and use in classes and and at assemblies.
Taking Action: Two of our team members led a half day of pro-D to share with other teachers and build capacity within our staff. Templates were created and shared out. Following the Pro-D session, teachers shared the Circle of Courage with their classes and explained how it would play a role in their classrooms. We also hold weekly assemblies, and at these assemblies students were nominated and recognized for displaying mastery, independence, belonging, and generosity. The use of the vocabulary is important in each classroom to help ensure uptake. A “pay-it-forward” wall was created to help students find more ways to display generosity.
Checking: We started by explaining all of the aspects of the Circle of Courage; however, we put a primary focus for the first few months on belonging. We then finished the year focusing on generosity. We found that to grow, the idea needed to be brought up intentionally very often. To take hold, the words and ideas need repeated over and over. We also found that just giving a student opportunity to belong or be generous is not enough. The process needs to be scaffolded. The process also needs to be subtle as well as in-your-face. We believe that by the end of our process we were seeing some changes; however, we also realized that resiliency is a long slow build for most.
Reflections/Advice: We learned that it’s going to take more time, and more direct efforts. We have planned for next year to continue with our classroom lessons. Next year, we will also be breaking the Circle up into its 4 pieces and using each school term as a focus time for each one of the quadrants. Our advice for others would be to read the book, and then begin creating opportunities for students to see themselves successfully meeting aspects of each quadrant.