Parents also changed their language one said ive

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Parents also changed their language. One said, "I've started picking up the language. At home I say now, `What is the problem? What needs to be done? What would make the problem worse?' It just sort of permeates the whole place." "People are starting to pick up my philosophy," Vangstad said. She named one teacher as someone who had come on board: "Opposite of me, but truly believes in the problem solving." Capability 4: Designing a developmental curriculum. Vangstad's developmental curriculum was established on a foundation of problem solving. For example, when teaching second graders personal safety with the goal of "I know how to protect my body," she always emphasized ways for children to reach the goal by solving their own problems. Her curriculum ideas evolved from state standards and professional organizational standards, but the counseling curriculum always reflected her identity as a teacher of problem-solving skills. Capability 5: Guiding students in classrooms. Capabilities five through seven reflect the emphasis that Vangstad placed on process. The content of the developmental curriculum was delivered primarily in classrooms. As always, problem solving was the unifying element in Vangstad's work. Second graders, for example, learned 10 ways to solve conflicts. To help them remember problem-solving strategies, younger students were invited to draw pictures (e.g., an ice cube symbolized cooling off). However, curriculum content also appeared elsewhere. There was a graphic of a problem-solving wheel even in the principal's office--presumably as a visual aid for students during their discussions with him about behavior. We observed a third-grade classroom, where Vangstad created a panel of children who could speak about helping a new student become integrated into the school. Four children were
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appointed to serve on the panel, and two empty chairs on the ends were for others who wanted to take turns participating and making comments. With great seriousness and candor, the children discussed what they could do to solve the problem. Capability 6: Facilitating groups. Early in Vangstad's employment in this school, teachers were referring approximately 30 students to her office each day with the expectation that she would "fix" them so that they would discontinue being, in the teachers' words, "problem children." One of Vangstad's solutions to this problem-to-be-solved was to begin facilitating groups. She knew that more children could be reached using groups than by individual counseling. However, she chose to call these "clubs," not "groups," because "all students want to be in clubs, but not all want to be in groups." Each week Vangstad facilitated 20 clubs for a half hour each, involving approximately 250 of the 450 children in the school. The clubs acknowledged the social and interactive nature of most school problems.
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  • Fall '10
  • Vangstad

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