ERIC Number: EJ999419
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May
Reference Count: N/A
Simulations Help School Leaders Practice "Tough Conversations"
Sparks, Sarah D.
Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, v77 n9 p18-22 May 2012
Jody F. Manning has been a superintendent in New York for more than 20 years, but his experience didn't make his conversation with the woman across the table any easier. "Terry Jones" had made three increasingly urgent phone calls asking to meet about her daughter, whose grades have been dropping precipitously. Jones talked about her daughter's bruises and clothes found ripped, bullying the girl mentioned in passing but won't talk about directly--and said she suspects the girl has been cutting herself. When Manning talked about the high school's anti-bullying policy and suggested ways to find the bullies and stop them, Jones became increasingly upset and adamant that the school not involve her daughter in the bullies' punishment. And then she dropped a potential legal bombshell: Jones is a lesbian, raising her daughter with another woman, and she feared her daughter's bullying may be a hate crime. This is the sort of meeting, wedged among other daily fires, that could easily blow up in an administrator's face. It won't, in this case, as Manning was among nine other school leaders meeting with "Terry Jones" as part of a simulation training program for school leaders at Syracuse University. This research project, between Benjamin H. Dotger, an assistant professor of teaching and leadership at Syracuse, and the State University of New York's Upstate Clinical Skills Center, takes a page from the traditional "standardized patients" used to simulate disease symptoms for medical students. The project is creating parent, teacher, student, and community-member roles to help principals and teachers learn how to handle tricky conversations. Initial research found participants improved significantly in their awareness of and responsiveness to different races and cultures, and slightly improved their moral and ethical judgment after going through the simulations.
Descriptors: Bullying, Simulation, Leadership Training, Principals, Faculty Development, Ethics, Role Playing, Parent School Relationship
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York