The implementation of this module, Student Perceptions of School Environment, requires the teacher to:
- read the entire module before working with a student
- choose a student participant with whom there is already a good rapport
- work with one student for the duration of the study
- schedule regular sessions (2-3 per week) outside of class time, with the student
- spend 20-30 minutes per session with the student
- arrange for a private meeting area for the sessions (i.e. empty classroom or office area)
- evaluate an appropriate course of action
- plan the sequence of the lessons
- complete a weekly report checklist to submit to the NRC/GT contact person
This module begins with the evaluation of a student’s perceptions of the school environment. Once it has been established whether the perceptions are accurate or distorted, the next step is taken. For example, a student may perceive that a particular classroom environment is not a safe place to voice her opinions or make mistakes. This perception may prove to be totally accurate. If this is the case, then the student can be helped to learn how to deal better with this situation and the teacher may be willing to make some changes in either their interactions with the student or in the physical classroom environment. If, however, the perception that the classroom is not a safe place is unfounded, then the student can learn the necessary skills to do the cognitive work required to change the inaccurate perception. It is important that students do not fall victim to external forces. There are situations and aspects of situations that they can control, provided they have the skills to determine this. Teacher-student collaboration is key to the success of this cognitive work. This module focuses on helping a student move forward academically rather than remaining stuck in a pattern of underachievement.
Although the strategies, techniques, and activities in this module are designed for one-on-one work with a student, they are also applicable to almost any teaching situation and group size. The lessons in this module are intended to guide you through discussions with the selected student, as well as to help you reflect on classroom and school interactions and environments.
NOTE: The counseling techniques and strategies in this module are designed for a classroom teacher to implement with a student who is underachieving due to specific problems with inaccurate perceptions of school situations. This module is NOT intended to replace the services of a professional school counselor if serious student issues arise during this intervention study. The teacher must use her professional judgment to assess the need for referral to a school counselor.
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