Making Caring Common
Raising kids who care about others and the common good.
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Resources For Educators

Welcome to Making Caring Common’s Resources for Educators, Teachers, Counselors, School Administrators, and School Leaders!

We offer strategies, resources lists, audits, surveys, discussion guides, and more, which we hope you will use in your school. You can review the list of resources below or click to sort by the following topics: Bias, Bullying, Caring and Empathy, Gender, Leadership, Moral and Ethical Development, Romantic Relationships, School Culture and Climate, Sexual Harassment and Misogyny, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), and Talking Across the Aisle.

 

Welcome to Making Caring Common’s Resources for Educators!

We offer strategies, resources lists, audits, surveys, discussion guides, and more, which we hope you will use in your school. Our work includes key topics, all connected by our commitment to forefront caring and concern for the common good at school, at home, and in our communities. You can review the list of resources below or use the dropdown to sort by topic.

 

 
Posts in Whole School
For Educators: How to Build Empathy and Strengthen Your School Community

To help educators learn how to build empathy among their school communities, the Making Caring Common Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education reviewed existing research on empathy and the strategies of evidence-based programs that promote it. Our work shows that there’s more to developing empathy than simply asking students to “walk in someone else’s shoes.”

In this resource, you’ll find steps you can take to build real empathy in your students and your community.

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For Educators: Relationship Mapping Strategy

There may be nothing more important in a child’s life than a positive and stable relationship with a caring adult. For students, a positive connection to at least one school adult — whether a teacher, counselor, sports coach, or other school staff member — can have tremendous benefits that include reduced bullying, lower drop-out rates, and improved social emotional capacities.

Rather than leave these connections to chance, relationship mapping invests time in making sure that every student is known by at least one adult.

Using this strategy, school staff identify youth who do not currently have positive connections with school adults during a private meeting. Those students are then paired with a supportive adult mentor within the school. Throughout the year, mentors support each other through the successes and challenges of building relationships with students, and school administrators routinely communicate with staff to determine how well the process is going. At the end of the year, the staff convenes to talk about how their efforts may have positively affected students. Adults may also choose to pay particular attention to “at risk” students as these connections may be particularly important for students who are having a hard time at home or in school.

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For Educators: Caring Community Youth Capstone Strategy

How can we inspire and teach young people to care about and take responsibility for others, to think clearly about and pursue justice, to stand up for important principles?

Research suggests that developing these key moral capacities is not achieved via one-shot class assignments or brief programs but through sustained commitment and reflection within the context of peer and adult relationships. Yet children rarely engage in either substantial ethical activities or reflection, guided by adults who stand for important moral values, or even dialogue about how to live those values day to day.

Shared experiences and rituals can tie together school and community as places that value care and commitment and play a vital part in fostering a moral identity in students. Over the course of a semester or an academic year, the Caring Community Youth Capstone supports young people’s ethical development and builds a positive school culture where young people are responsible for creating a caring community.

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For Educators: School Climate Committee Strategy

The School Climate Committee is a key mechanism for creating positive social norms, for reducing bullying, and for developing more respectful, caring children. It also gives students agency in creating positive social norms.

A growing body of research supports the key role of school culture and social norms in preventing a wide array of social and emotional problems and promoting the development of caring, responsible, and respectful children. As children enter adolescence, they are especially influenced by social norms — by what other teen’s consider important, by how other teens define who is and is not worthy of concern, and by how other teens gain power and respect.

Because students primarily take signals from other students about social norms and what is ethically acceptable, and because students have inside knowledge about social dynamics, it is mainly students—especially acting together—who can change norms. This School Climate Committee strategy is one way to channel student power and influence in their school community.

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For Educators: Circle of Concern Strategy

Helping students develop greater empathy is essential for building a positive school climate, but equally important is considering who students have empathy for.

Children and adults alike are predisposed to empathize for those who are in their own social group. For example, “jocks” may have empathy for other jocks, but not for “nerds.” Boys may have empathy for other boys, but not for girls. Sometimes children lack empathy for their peers who are socially challenged or have disabilities. Empathy for many different kinds of people is important in its own right and is the basis for children’s developing conceptions of and commitments to fairness and justice.

The Circle of Concern strategy is designed to help children — and adults — become more aware of those for whom they don’t have empathy. It is also designed to widen their circle of concern.

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For Educators: Sexual Harassment and Misogyny Audit

This audit is intended to help educators reflect on the policies and practices of their school related to young people’s healthy romantic relationships, misogyny and sexual harassment, and assault. It is intended to help you answer these questions: Are we doing what is needed to prevent harassment and promote healthy relationships? What more could we do? Please answer each of the following questions about your school by checking “yes,” “no,” or “I’m not sure.” Please also reflect on the “evidence” for your answer—“how you know” the answer or what the answer “looks like” in your school.

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For Educators: School Culture and Climate Surveys

How do you know if your school is a caring, inclusive community where students are building healthy relationships and developing key social and emotional skills?

Our School Culture and Climate Surveys help schools better understand the experiences of students, educators, and parents as they relate to:

School values

Safety

Bullying, discrimination, and harassment

Student and adult relationships

Rules and expectations

When schools have more insight into problem areas, they can implement strategies that lead to positive changes in their community.

Currently, our School Culture and Climate Surveys — and related data reports and strategies — are available exclusively to schools in our Caring Schools Network. Reach out to Glenn Manning, Senior Program Coordinator at Making Caring Common to learn more.

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For Educators: Resource Mapping Strategy

There are many programs, interventions, services, and resources available that can support student well-being and the development of positive school culture and climate. Before adopting new programs or substantially changing current practices, it is helpful to review and consider school-based programs and resources that are already in place. Doing so helps ensure that services are not duplicative of each other and strategically align to support your school’s vision.

Resource mapping is a strategy for identifying and analyzing the programs, people, services, and other resources that currently exist in your school. This information can help school leaders better assess the needs of the school and to make informed decisions about where to focus change efforts.

By the end of this activity, you will have a deeper understanding of the key programs and resources related to well-being and culture that your school is already utilizing, which will give you a solid foundation for planning.

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