Friday, April 13, 2012

4/13/12: Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies

I’ve spent the last few days with six wonderful teaching assistants from the Kingston City School District. I am so impressed by their professionalism and passion for what they do! We spent our time together discussing Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS®), an elementary school curriculum that has been shown to significantly improve children's social and emotional skills
Schools are charged with helping students to master academic content and become able to succeed in an increasingly complex world. Yet, many students lack the social and emotional skills they need to learn and grow, or they possess them but require ongoing reinforcement to reach their full potential.
Teaching students effectively is difficult when pupils are unable to properly engage in the learning process. Some students have difficulty managing emotions, act out in unhealthy and potentially harmful ways, detract from the healthy functioning of the school environment and/or create conflict in the classroom, playground, cafeteria or school bus.

The PATHS® program teaches skills that allow children to calm themselves when angry, make friends, resolve conflicts respectfully, and make ethical and safe choices. Social and emotional competence underlies both effective behavior and academic success.

PATHS® supports federal requirements that mandate schools to provide safe and effective learning environments, helping to reinforce a bully-free climate. The program can also help students meet Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and can support goals for reading, writing, listening and speaking. The PATHS® program was one of only 12 SAMHSA Model Programs that had documented academic achievement outcomes - and one of only two programs designed for children ages 5-12.
According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, classroom and school interventions that make the learning environment safer, more caring, more participatory, and that enhance students’ social competence have been shown to increase student attachment to school. In turn, students who are more engaged and attached to school have better attendance, higher graduation rates, higher grades and standardized tests scores and decreased rates of high-risk behaviors including alcohol and drug use, violence, truancy, and bullying.
In rigorous clinical studies, the PATHS® program has been shown to:
         reduce teachers' reports of students exhibiting aggressive behavior by 32%
         increase teachers' reports of students exhibiting self-control by 36%
         increase students' vocabulary for emotions by 68%
         increase students' scores on cognitive skills tests by 20%
         significantly improve students' ability to tolerate frustration plus their ability -- and willingness -- to use effective conflict-resolution strategies
         reduce depression and sadness among special-needs students

For more information regarding PATHS®, please contact me.


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