ERIC Number: EJ1043736
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Abstractor: As Provided
Circles of Care
Weissbourd, Richard; Jones, Stephanie M.
Educational Leadership, v71 n5 p42-47 Feb 2014
James is 14 years old. Tall, handsome, funny, athletic, attuned to others, he is one of the popular, high-status students in his large freshman class. He can also be remarkably caring and attentive with his close friends. But James has a dark side. Sometimes he uses his social skills to manipulate others, and he draws a bright line between those inside and outside his circle of friends. Many of the programs designed to improve school climate and reduce bullying promote empathy by teaching students to see others' perspectives. Although the skill of perspective-taking is valuable, it may not be enough. Often, people are able to understand how others feel, but they choose not to act on it. Or worse, they use those insights to further demean those who are struggling socially. Richard Weissbourd and Stephanie Jones suggest that schools take the additional step of helping students expand their circle of care to include those who are different from them. Schools can do this by having open conversations about the people who are inside and outside their circles of care. Also important is creating a culture in which everyone is included and where putting others down is frowned upon. Such efforts often start with students, most of whom want a more caring environment and are better able to influence classmates than adults are. Adults in schools must set a good example by examining their own attitudes and actions toward students they find difficult to like.
Descriptors: Peer Relationship, Bullying, Behavior Problems, Perspective Taking, Social Influences, Caring, Altruism, Consciousness Raising, School Culture, Educational Environment, Adults, Teacher Role, Empathy, Student Behavior
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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