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ERIC Number: EJ1038811
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-1089-5701
School Life That Matters: Building Circle of Courage Schools
Van Bockern, Steve
Reclaiming Children and Youth, v22 n4 p14-16 Win 2014
In the frenzy to spike test scores that track a standardized curriculum, the central question of what students actually need is ignored. What are the bona fide "essentials" in schools that enable children to learn and thrive? A school life that matters can be found in a school where children and adults are encouraged to pursue their unalienable rights: life, liberty, and happiness. The author suggests rights that are different but tightly connected; namely, opportunities to experience belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity (Brendtro, Brokenleg, & Van Bockern, 2002). These four essential birthrights are actually growth needs, and transcend time and culture. When met, our kids tend to "do well." When these needs are denied, kids struggle. What do belonging, mastery, independence and generosity look like in schools that matter? A more detailed listing of indicators is found in the Circle of Courage Tool Kit for Elementary Schools (Van Bockern, Brendtro, & Brokenleg, 2010). However, several key descriptors provide practical examples. Indicators that belonging needs are being delivered by a school include genuine greetings, a safe setting, and positive connections among students and staff. Mastery indicators are students experiencing success academically and socially. Independence indicators include students given choices and learning self-regulating behavior. Generosity is apparent when students show concern for one another and contribute in satisfying ways.
Reclaiming Children and Youth. PO Box 57 104 N Main Street, Lennox, SD 57039. Tel: 605-647-2532; Fax: 605-647-5212; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A