In addition to improving students' academic performance, research shows that supportive schools also help prevent a host of negative consequences, including isolation, violent behavior, dropping out of school, and suicide. Central to a supportive school are teachers, administrators, and other caring adults who take a personal interest in each student and in the success of each student.
School and communities committed to educating the whole child connect students with caring adults throughout a student's school career through a variety of positive relationships. These relationships reinforce academic achievement and social, civic, ethical, and emotional development.
Ensuring that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged requires us to continually ask questions and examine evidence related to implementation. ASCD's indicators of a whole child approach provide a guide for continual school and community improvement and serve as a definition of what a whole child approach to education truly requires. Download the set of supported indicators (PDF).
From the Whole Child Blog
Teachers know that engaging and inspiring students initially requires building positive relationships and creating relevant learning experiences. Yet other key actions also matter: setting realistic expectations, creating a needs-satisfying classroom, and teaching students to self-evaluate and self-moderate. Students who are motivated and see meaning in what they learn progress faster and to higher levels, even when they start with knowledge or skill gaps. In fact, focusing on motivation and meaning is a classroom strategy that is often underutilized.
On this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, we take a look at how teachers can spark inner motivation in all students—from those who are disengaged from school to those who strive to succeed—and create meaningful connections that get students excited about learning.
Listen to the episode below or download it here.
- Richard Curwin is an author, trainer, speaker, and experienced education practitioner who is known internationally for providing thousands of educators and parents with practical, proven ideas to effectively manage children's behavior in a manner that respects the dignity of each individual. Curwin is cocreator of the internationally recognized Discipline with Dignity program and coauthor of the book with the same title. Curwin's recent publications include Meeting Students Where They Live: Motivation in Urban Schools, Affirmative Classroom Management: How do I develop effective rules and consequences in my school?, and the article "Can Assessments Motivate?" in this month's issue of Educational Leadership. He is currently the director of the master's program in behavior disorder at David Yellin College in Israel.
- Ashanti Foster is the academic dean at Oxon Hill Middle School in Ft. Washington, Maryland. She has been a national staff developer for 13 years, providing teaching and learning experiences to students and teachers of Prince George's County Public Schools and beyond, and is also a National Board–certified teacher and an ASCD Emerging Leader. In addition to her roles in the education field, she is also a Girl Scout troop leader, blogger, dancer, wife, and mother of six. Connect with Foster on Twitter @NBCTeacherMommy.
- John Hines is a world history and AVID teacher at Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way, Washington. He is the vice president of the Washington State Council for the Social Studies, an ASCD Emerging Leader, and a proud, lifelong resident of Tacoma, Washington. Connect with Hines on Twitter @jhhines57.
How do you encourage effort and spark motivation for learning with your students?
Whole Child Examples
Anansi Charter School’s mission is to provide a nurturing and supportive environment where children of all races, creeds, religions, and special needs develop a love of learning and acquire a strong foundation on which to build a lifetime of knowledge.