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will become hostile.

2.  Behavioral research by Phillips and colleagues (1973) reported a failure to replicate their achievement place model when positive staff-student relationships were missing.  Now called the teaching family model, relationship-building components are central to this approach.  The staff is trained to begin all corrective teaching interactions with a positive or empathy statement.

3.  Sociological models use peer relationships as the foundation for treatment.  This method is powerful particularly with youth who initially are inclined to trust peers more than adults.  Peer concern rather than peer pressure is the basis for program success.  Adults must model caring relationships and monitor confrontations carefully so students don’t become targets of counteraggression (Brendtro & Ness, 1982).

4.  Ecological models developed by Hobbs (1982) presume that the disturbed youth begins with a belief that most adults cannot be trusted.  Only the people who can break down this barrier of trust can become predictable sources of support, affection, and learning.  In Re-ED programs, “trust…is the glue that holds teaching and learning together, the beginning point of reeducation.”

The emphasis on fostering attachments is also prominent in the middle school movement.  Typically, schedules are designed so frequent and sustained contact between students and teachers is possible.  Maeroff (1990) described one program in which a small team of four or five adults, including teachers, administrators, and counselors, serves 45 students.  Each adult meets twice daily with a smaller advisory group of 8-10 students.  In another middle school, teachers greet their students as the buses arrive.  Bells are eliminated, team-teaching is used, four award assemblies are held throughout the year, and F’s have been changed to U’s (Raebuck, 1990).

The celebration of belonging to a caring community is a central theme of effective schools.  O’Gorman, a Catholic high school in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, invites new freshman students to a “unity weekend” retreat over the Labor Day holiday.  Some of the 90 trained senior volunteers welcome the new students, helping them carry sleeping bags and luggage into the school and providing leadership for the weekend activities.  Students from outlying communities who have no preexisting peer relationships at this school receive a special invitation to a picnic and water-slide party hosted by a school counselor and the natural peer helper organization.  Here, too, a strong advising system anchors each student in a close relationship with a small cadre of peers and a teacher-counselor.

Teachers in American schools traditionally have been attached to grade levels or subjects, not to cohorts of students.  In contrast, Norwegian elementary school teachers often progress through the grades, remaining with one group of students for several years.  In like manner, Holweide, a comprehensive secondary school in Cologne, West Germany, assigns teachers to teams of six or eight, which follow the same 120 students over the course of 6 years.  In this structure the beginning and year-end rituals are eliminated, freeing more time for instruction.  These teachers come to know their students in ways that tests never can approach.  

EDMS 512, Hood

Summer 2006

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