Compassionate Discipline

Empowering Our Students and Ourselves to Accept Difficult Emotions, Take Responsibility for Our Actions, and Commit to Our Values

For Teachers and Leaders with DISCIPLINARY RESPONSIBILITIES, such as principals, AP's, and deans

No matter how approachable, caring, and empathetic we ordinarily are, teachers and administrators can struggle to remain that way when acting as disciplinarians. And with good reason: whatever the student did to trigger our discipline process is probably burdening the community—and making us as community members feel frustrated and worried, or even anxious, angry, disgusted, or hurt. These feelings can be compounded by the fact that we’re expected to maintain a cool, calm, and professional demeanor. But how can we authentically connect with a misbehaving student and move forward when we don’t authentically connect with our own emotions?

​In this highly experiential workshop, educators who take on a disciplinary role in any context—whether in their own classroom or for a grade level, division, or entire school—will learn tools to help students behave in more effective and values-consistent ways while also exploring our own values as educators. We’ll explore four ways to support students who misbehave: (1) teaching replacement behaviors; (2) altering systems and structures that elicit problematic behaviors; (3) providing students with opportunities to do work that has personal, practical, and cultural relevance; and (4) connecting school experiences to students’ own values. We’ll focus on how compassion, self-compassion, perspective-taking, selfing, and values clarification can help misbehaving students, their parents, teachers, and administrators not only repair the harm but also move forward with awareness, courage, and kindness.

​Informed by evidence-based psychotherapies such as Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT), the workshop involves drawing, card games, deictic framing, serious explorations of values and vulnerabilities, and empowering even those students who misbehave to become the people they want to be.

Click here for a sample agenda.

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© Lauren Porosoff and Jonathan Weinstein, 2019