Hale Welcome back to love spent in tears ingredients for transformative campus leadership. Today we have Richard Heflin, who is a current mental and behavioral health consultant with region 10, who spent years as an ED Special Ed counselor, working with kids with difficult backgrounds and difficult behaviors. And now we have him here teaching y'all some really great things on how we deal with kids that demonstrate difficult behavior, how to think about behavior, how to address it in a way that is preventative and helpful rather than just reactionary. Like we're putting out fires all the time. This is also a particularly special episode for me, because Richard Heflin is also known as my dear old dad, it was so great to get to chat with him in this capacity and just hear about his work and his history. From a different perspective. It was really sweet. It was so much fun. He is just a powerhouse of resources and practical tools and help and light for kids and campuses and hard situations, has spent decades doing that kind of work and helping people get the resources that they need to deal with situations that feel beyond their ability. I can't wait for y'all to listen to this episode. So let's dive in Richard Heflin, Dad, let's let's let's, it's gonna be great. It'd be so fun. So I tell this to all of my guests, everyone, I love to start with a little bit about who you are and where you come from. I'm one because I find that fascinating. But also I think for our audience, it just helps them connect and kind of get to know like, who you are. And you know, your the work you've gone through and grown through. And my favorite question to start with is just what was school? Like for you as a kid? What was your experience and relationship to learning? Like?
Yeah, to me, there's two really big, different questions. Because you asked about school a place and learning kind of more of an event and ongoing process. And I was not a good person in school as far as a a learner in school. But I was raised in an environment that really promoted learning and encouraged learning, not in the traditional sense at all. I remember maybe having maybe three or four books in my reading books in my home growing up, you know, we had encyclopedias, and we had, I don't know how many Bibles and, but as far as pleasure reading books, maybe just a handful. So learning in the traditional way, was not really something that that I felt like my household valued a whole lot as far as participating in, they kind of felt like, you know, you go to school to do school stuff. And when you're at home, if you have homework, get it done, and then let's do the home stuff. But personally, learning was just fascinating to me, it was just a joy, to learn just the way the environment that I grew up on, I grew up in a small rural rap side of a small rural town in Oklahoma, on a very small farm, my parents had their own business. We, my brother, and I were kind of left on the farm to do the farm stuff, you know, feed the cattle, feed the pigs, things like that. And I remember dad showing us how to do all that. And again, just being fascinated with some of that, that learning. And I feel like we were probably taught to do things, maybe the four. Certainly before we had the skills to do it, he taught us the skills that maybe even before we could actually perform physically, some of those some of those duties, were just, you know, were nine or 10 years old. And you know, it was driving tractors at 10 years old was kind of a stretch, especially the some of the tractors we had. But I remember him, showing me how to do those things and teaching me and just being fascinated by those things. And then zone
of proximal development.
And then when we made mistakes, which was frequent, you know, most of the time he just come back and reteach us. You say, Richard you not? That's not how to do it. Most of the time, he was relatively patient with us sometimes not so much. But that was a that was a generational thing back then. But he would reteach us and show us how to do it and I I never remember being afraid or worried about making mistakes. Because I always knew, you know, from maybe probably a different part of our relationship with my dad and my parents. They had my back, I knew they cared about me. And so in that environment, and I think that's important, and it really formed a lot of how I see the world today in that type of environment where I knew they had my back, it was okay to make mistakes. And it was okay, out of that, that sense of being okay to make mistakes, I was able to be incredibly curious about not just what I was doing in the moment, but about the world in general. Because if I could be curious and know that making mistakes was okay, then I could do that with a little bit more confident. And I really kind of learned that early on in this, this farm environment. And then a little bit through the athletics. My dad had my brother and I, in wrestling, I guess I was probably five years old. And that is another arena of my life that just taught me that. You know, failures are not really failures. They're just mistakes. And we can learn through those mistakes. And I remember, gosh, probably in high school, my mom kind of reminiscing about when we first started wrestling, she said for the very first time, I didn't realize it, but in until high school, she said, Richard, you didn't win a match your whole first year. And I had no idea. There was no sense of failure from those losses at all, it was just, hey, let's keep in there, let's keep doing this. Let's keep doing the task at hand. And again, that helped me be curious and be confident because I can be confident because I don't have to worry about making mistakes. It's just something we all do. And even in my failures, you know, even when I lost a wrestling match, or you know, football game, I didn't take that on as part of who I was. Because again, I was confident in my parents who are going to always gonna be there for me. And I think as we look at education, that that may be a key missing in our classrooms sometimes. Just that that safe, academically safe place to be is it okay in our classrooms to make mistakes, without the fear of of something unsafe happening to me, whether it's a comment by another student, or a dismissal of the wrong answer by the teacher, whatever that might be. So really saw how I grew up as kind of this, encouraging this curiosity and learning and not being afraid to make mistakes.
So how did that curious farm boy wrestler, turn into this mental and behavioral health consultant and counselor
Good night? That's a long journey. Yeah. You know, going into college, you know, it was at a time where computers were still relatively new. I remember seeing my first I guess, desktop, my parents owned their own business. And they had, they were because of the business they were in, they were provided a computer probably had to buy the computer from one of their people that they represented in the insurance business. And I remember seeing that was so fascinated by you know, it was one of those big huge, you know, CRT screens, with, you know, monochromatic green phosphorus screen. And I was just fascinated, enthralled by that whole and just the idea of sending information across this. This, you know, the internet at the time, it was very different. Back then it was mainly educational, you know, higher ed folks and military folks, and it was just coming out where the businesses, the business world started using that information. No one really had personal computers. They weren't, you know, they just weren't around. And that fascination with that computer really kind of spawned this interest in computers. So went to school, went to college to be a computer science major. And then I met somebody in college and after just a few times of hanging out with them, she this person and ask me, Richard, do you really feel like you can sit behind a computer all day long and just totally blew up my whole life and realize that, you know, just the type of person I am, I as much as I love to interact with a computer with that technology, there is that's just not me. I need to interact with with people and do something a little bit different. So at that time, I didn't know what I was going to do. And I wrestled with that just for a couple of weeks. And I finally decided, you know, this other person that blew me, the water blew my mind was an education major. And so I thought I, you know, I might as well try this, I enjoyed athletics. So I thought coaching would be a wonderful way to, to help people interact with people kind of still access that athletic part of who I was, which I wasn't quite ready to give up yet. So I thought, Gosh, I'll be an education major, majoring in physical education minoring, in psychology and or history. So that was kind of the road I jumped on, and just fell in love with it. And I always had this fascination, part of the curiousness of the of who I am just this fascination with psychology, and why people do the things they do. And just that whole idea of people making mistakes, and just this, this whole pathology of going back to some of your previous failures and things like that. So that's kind of how I got on the road to education. And just again, just fell in love with my professors. And so in my classes, some of the toughest classes, academically I ever had were some of my physical education classes. Some of the most enjoyable classes that I had, were some of my, with some of my education professors, and then the classes that just really stretched my intellect. And my, my understanding were some of my psychology classes, and some of those professors got really interesting. So that's kind of how I got into education to, to begin with was that person who kind of blew me out of the water?
So at what point? Did you go from physical education? More into the mental health side of things?
Yeah, you know, looking back and talking to some months, and my high school friends, you know, I had my anniversaries of graduations and things like that. I've had a couple of people tell me, Richard, we're not. So I'm not surprised that you went into counseling, because you were always such a good listener. And I don't know if it was such that I was such a good listener is such a strong introvert that I didn't want to talk. But I just feel like that was just kind of always part of who I am. And just that desire to help, which sprung from a lot of my background, my mom especially, and my dad, just always helping people and being the first volunteer to take somebody and a meal if they needed it, or whatever that might look like, you know, helping another farmer out getting the wheat in before the the storms came, you know, we were always doing things like that. So just that helping nature just really came through and then meeting that with just this love of psychology, and just especially abnormal psychology, it just became a really good fit for me. And I think even before I finished my undergrad, I realized that going into education, but I'm going to use education as a vehicle to get to the mental Hill and to get to counseling. And that's probably why I took so many psychology classes, just that, again, that fascination, that curiosity. I kind of always had this idea in the back of my head. I wanted to be a counselor. That's kind of the path I took.
So what was that that transition like from the the work of being a PE teacher, to the work of being a counselor?
Passionate was very different. As I was teaching PE you know, I would have big classes, because they often would, you know, send two regular classes out to me for PE. So some of my classes. Sometimes I had 90 kindergarteners in a class at the same time. So managing that I learned very quickly just out of self preservation to have it learn how to make manage a classroom that size. Very quickly, I had some really good teachers, that first couple of years, just coming alongside me and saying that you did try this with this, this classroom. So it's fortunate to have that. And so those mentors, I still value a lot. And then just just that transition, going back and getting my Masters, and it was just a weird set of circumstances is I was finishing up or almost finishing up my master's degree, a position came open in the district that I was working in. For a special ed counselor, my wife was always also a special ed teacher. And this, this guy would come into her classroom, she was teaching me in a behavior classroom at the time, and pull the students out and talk to them for 30 minutes or so. And so that just really was exactly what I was looking for in education. And then as I got closer to graduating, this position came open. I applied. Fortunately for me, I was the only one to apply. And there wasn't a lot of choice. Yeah. And so that's kind of how I got into just this weird set of circumstances and timing or, or, you know, God's provision or whatever you want to call it.
You know, you're kind of in your first few years of being a counselor, what were some of your big takeaways from that? Time? What you know, did you Did it feel comfortable for you to be feel like you were floundering? What did you notice was missing in the system?
Yeah, certainly a lot of floundering. But again, with that, that confidence that I had, from my upbringing, floundering was not a problem. Luckily, at that time, I was had a wonderful co worker, and we floundered together. So again, bringing a lot of safety, we were able to just kind of through relationships, we were able to get together at least once a week and just kind of do some case reviews in that, that time of mentoring kind of a cold mentoring type of thing, because she was brand new also was really, really valuable. And truly, we, you know, we were new counselors, both of us working with these, these different types of students with these different disorders who are struggling, just incredibly in a situation that just was not designed to educate them effectively and efficiently. So just that mentoring, and then just a lot of ongoing professional development was very powerful for me also. And just the district at the time that I was working in was this very unusual because they had a very forward thinking viewpoint throughout and across the district, and especially in their counseling department. And although we weren't part of that formal counseling department, especially that counselors, we were always included in that and they would bring in some just
rock stars. Yeah, absolutely. All the people in my textbook,
exactly. Some of the forerunners of cognitive behavioral therapy. We had Ellis, Albert Ellis in who was, you know, one of the first and I like to think call him the father of cognitive behavior therapy. We had him in several times and we're able to listen to him. Dr. William Glasser had him in I don't know how many times and we're able to talk to him, and he was really focused a lot more education than Ellis was, but some of those things that, that Ellis taught us at the time and then diving into some of his theories and just really resonated a lot with me at that time, because coming from the education background, I wanted some skills to be able to use with students. And so there was Jerry and stuff that I was taught in my master's program. Just really didn't resonate completely with me. I thought, yeah, that's good stuff, but I need more. My students need more I want to do more than just kind of let's let's feel together and hug it out. that type of thing was my attitude, then towards that, now that it's almost a 180. Yeah, and just finding out some really scientific evidence behind the importance of hugging it out. And just what it provides for us at a neurological and physiological level is just what we need to do in combination with the cognitive behavioral stuff is, is important.
So I want to kind of switch our conversation now to some more specific and practical tools and better understanding, to kind of deepen our knowledge about what specifically administrators need to know about the kind of work that you do, and maybe give them some tools to navigate all of the things. One thing I hear so consistently from administrators is, how do I deal with behavior? How do I spend less of my time putting out, you know, dealing with this crisis, and more of their time doing the things that kind of got them into the position? So before we dive into what to do about behavior, I really want to spend some time talking about what behavior is and where it comes from?
Yeah. Yeah. You know, years ago, we and I want to preface that by a lot of the way we're still viewing behavior, especially in Texas, comes from that old idea of the stimulus response behaviorism type of idea. And, as we're learning more and more about behavior, what it truly is, and especially what it is kind of becoming more in our society, even more in our society, today is that behavior is truly a form of communication. And this type of communication very often, the students and or adults are communicating needs that are often unmet in their environment. And, you know, I still see again, in especially in Texas, still using some of those old stimulus response type of behavior, ideas, and it's just not working. As we kind of dive into some of the behavior data on campuses, we often see things like, you know, 80% of our time spent on behavior is spent with just one or 2% of the student population. So we see a lot of students just repeating some of this negative behavior. And it's just a few students that are engaging in that type of behavior. So we need to really look at and analyze is what we're doing working is this, you know, when someone does bad if we just do something bad back to them, like give, assign them a consequence? And leave it at that? Is that working for us? Do I need to do something different? So if we want to spend less time on behavior, we might need to look at what we're doing and change some of those things that we're doing. And I think I think the first thing that we need to look at is changing that old paradigm from, you know, what's wrong with this kid? And how can I make them better into what's going on with this kid? What is this? What is this behavior, trying to communicate what might be an unmet need that this student is engaging in? So that kind of thought maybe needs to happen? Probably that second, at least by the third time I see that that same student in my office for behavioral issue,
what I feel like I can hear a lot of admin saying, Yeah, I would love to do that. I don't have the time or the resources available. What like, what can we practically do to shift our own thinking from what's wrong with this kid? What do we need to change about this kid to what's happening to this kid? And how can we meet their needs? Yeah. What are some things that you've seen work well, on campuses to kind of change that paradigm?
Yeah, there's some some different ways of managing behavior. That and I hesitate to say it, but it comes from a more therapeutic background. And I know that's probably not what the administrators want to hear because I can hear them saying, Richard, I'm not a therapist. And we don't want you to turn into a therapist. We don't need well, we need more therapists in school, but we, we need you to stay in that administrative role because that is Vi angle, a part of that role is dealing with and managing intensive behavioral issues. But let's really look at what we're doing. Let's look at some of the tools we're using, and just realizing that we need more tools. And then where can we get more information to manage behaviors a little bit better, that first and it's a big step, that first step is to start analyzing what that behavior is about what they're trying to communicate, what needs aren't being met, and we're not going to be able to meet all their needs. I'm not advocating that at all. But just realizing that the student isn't engaging in this type of behavior, just to make this the teachers upset. They are doing that they're effective, very effective at doing that. But that's not the motivation behind it. So asking that student, or having someone else on that campus asking the students some questions, what's going on with your life, where's this behavior coming from? We've got to get to that point, in a in an emotionally neutral, safe place where that student is going to feel safe to engage in that type of conversation, after the consequences are meted out after that time is over, bringing those and I hate to use the phrase, frequent fliers, but people are going to know especially administrators are going to be talking about bringing those folks back into my office and asking them those questions. It does take time, upfront, but it's going to save this time in the long run on the back end. So those students will slow down their frequency maybe not stop all together, but at least slowed down their frequency in visiting the office because of behavioral issues.
Can you think of some good resources for administrators that are like, okay, I can do that. But how or either some books or some speakers or some trainings or things that will help admins have those conversations in a productive way?
Yeah, what one training that I really have just fallen in love with. And more. So you know, I've been known about lifespace crisis intervention for, gosh, 20 years or so. And just a really good set of tools to, to have in your tool box, either as an administrator or as a counselor, or as a behavioral classroom teacher, just to have those set of tools is really going to be an effective way to get to that point of what happened to you. And it says, and it goes from, you know, how to de escalate a situation with a student and walk them through a set of tools on doing that, determining who are the the behavior originated from in the immediate environment, and then looking past that immediate environment to see if some other things may be going on in that person's life? How can we get those address? And then, you know, meeting up some consequences, if that's needed to the training is, you know, it's a four, four day training, typically, to get that full set of tools. It is offered online through lifespace crisis intervention. And then there's there's pop up trainers around Texas, around the nation, certainly, that will provide that training to come to your place and provide that training for you. That's my favorite right now. There's always some, some others, you know, on a global sense, looking at a campus or district, you know, more globally, I'm really liking for it. The restorative practice movement is offering us and that's a really good way. Both lifespace crisis intervention and restorative practices are really coming from that, that trauma informed perspective. So it's really understanding that our kids, there's something underlying a lot of their behaviors. And then it's also both of those are also very much brain based type of behaviors. So it's taking into account what's going on neurologically. And physiologically, that is not just overt behavior. There's, there's something more complex than just this.
Yeah. Let's let's talk about that. That trauma element for a little bit. It's everywhere. We can have it. But I also feel like you know, the more we say a word, the more it loses its meaning. So I'd like to kind of Spend some time kind of crystallizing and solidifying what trauma is and how it affects the kids that we see on our campuses and how it can affect us as administrators and educators. Yeah,
a trauma is an overused word. What trauma isn't, it isn't when I can't find my shoes in the morning to go with my outfit. That's not what trauma is. Trauma is not about not being able to find your favorite milk in the store. That's not trauma. Trauma is a much more complex issue that has some, again, some physiological components to it, some neurological components to it, that are a little bit more complex than kind of what we typically have an understanding of trauma really doesn't have any boundaries regarding age or, or gender, certainly no boundaries regarding socioeconomic status, or race or ethnicity, ethnicity or anything like that. jahmene is a very common experience for adults and children, especially in American communities. A lot of times, it's easy to kind of dismiss that that trauma is existing in our, in our, in our country.
So talking about trauma, yeah, what it is, and maybe even how to recognize
just just how common it is. I think that especially as educators, we need to realize that our, our students, not all of them, probably not even most of them. But at least a good third of them are currently going through some sort of traumatic event. And that's kind of one definition of one aspect of trauma, that trauma results from a event from an event or a series of events or circumstances that's experienced by the individual. And it couldn't be experienced by community, also a set of individuals. But trauma is very individually based. And that's one of the confounding things about trauma is if you and I were to go through the same event, maybe it's the effects of a tornado, and we were both in that tornado, it's very possible that one of us would come out, traumatized by that, and another one of us not. And that's kind of one thing that kind of confounds our perception or our ideas of trauma. Sometimes that kind of breeds this idea of, you know, I went through that myself, when I was your age, you just need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and, you know, suck it up, buttercup, and let's get on with life. And, you know, it's, we, some people are maybe a little bit more able to do that because of their protective factors that they have on going on in their lives. Some other people just don't have those protective factors in their lives. And we're seeing as a society, kind of the dissolving of some of those protective factors in our lives. There's not as many of them just just functionally available for our students as much as there were at least 10 years ago. And then part another part of trauma besides this event, this experience, so another part of that trauma is a experience. It's also the effect. What does that experience? How does it affect that individual. And trauma always has a physical, physiological effect that has some long lasting adverse effects on that individual's functioning, whether it's physical or social, emotional, spiritual. And if that trauma experience happens at a young enough age in his prolonged enough, it can actually make cause some differences in how the brain is shaped. So some anatomical differences, that prefrontal cortex is a little bit smaller. It's not as well developed as their neurotypical, non trauma exposed peers. And that can not always but it can continue on into adult life also, in addition to that, one thing that kind of that we see often in the classroom is one of the other effects It is that limbic system is larger, with a large amount of trauma exposure at an early age, that limbic system which controls that fight, flight, freeze and appease part of who we are, is enlarged. The problem with that being enlarged is those students are always scanning their environment. One aspect of that larger limbic system, the students are always scanning their environment for danger. Very often seeing danger of perceiving danger, or danger doesn't exist. And then their body responds to that misperceived dangerous event, as though it was dangerous. An example of that is simply if a book was accidentally moved off of a desk, and it makes that loud banging on the floor as it hits. Those of us who are not come don't come from a trauma exposed background majors, turn our heads and look at it and say, Hey, what's what's going on. But if we have a large trauma expose background, that could trigger or incite this limbic system activation, we're now we're we're on guard, we perceive that the situation is not dangerous. That prefrontal cortex goes offline, that limbic system actually hijacked. And I like that word that's being used for this dynamic that the limbic system hijacks that prefrontal cortex, shutting it down, blocking off a lot of the ability to think in a rational way. And blocking that ability, the brain's ability to learn information that's new and novel.
So what can what can we do with this understanding? Like, how can how can we recognize when someone might be into that state? And then what do we do to help them learn in a campus environment?
Yeah, just just maybe having an understanding of what trauma exposure looks like a trauma behavior looks like, you know, we'll have many of our students visiting the nurse's office with stomach aches or headaches, you know, that those somatic complaints that we see very often with, with people with high levels of trauma, exposure, maybe difficulty eating or sleeping, which makes a lot of sense, if I have some trauma experiences in my life, as I lay down and go to go to sleep, I close my eyes, I'm trying to unwind what's gonna pop back into my head. Very often, it's pictures and experiences of my past, my trauma expose past. So it's very frequent that these students and or adults have had problems sleeping. And again, just these aches and pains, we'll see an increase level of those at our school. So I'd really check out a good thing to do is check out those students who are are frequently asked to go to the nurse's office, that nurse is going to be a really good person to talk to about picking and choosing who might who might have high level of trauma exposure. And then looking at the behavior, because we taught we mentioned earlier that behavior is a form of communication. And it certainly is with people who have been exposed to high levels of trauma, there's going to be an ongoing emotional upsetness even or especially an over exaggerated upsetness. What seems to be an over exaggerated emotional upsetness to a small minor, what we perceive as a small minor thing. So that might be kind of this behavioral indicator, or if we're seeing a lot of depressive symptoms or an anxious symptoms, and noticeable change in behaviors is going to be a key goal. So So knowing our students regular set of behaviors and then seeing some, some rapid, noticeable changes in behaviors. Just another thing that we can notice. Part of that that prefrontal cortex job is to help regulate all those executive functioning skills that especially schools kind of demand that their students master. What if we have a smaller immeasurably smaller prefrontal cortex, our executive functioning skills are not going to be up to par, compared to our neurotypical, non trauma exposed peers. So we're going to have that difficulty attending to, especially academic tasks for a long period of time, we're going to have more difficulty initiating, especially academic tasks, we're not going to be able to plan nearly as well. So secondary students who are required to do projects over a length of time, trauma exposed individuals don't have as much of that ability to do those type of things. Again, we're seeing an increased rate of office referrals, increased rates of suspensions and expulsions within our students who have a large level of extreme trauma exposure. So that focus that concentration, prefrontal cortex helps us to recall and remember, organize and process information. Planning and problem solving is going to be impaired if that prefrontal cortex has been involved. So those are some some of the signs and symptoms that we that we see in the classroom and just realizing were some of the the events that happen in children's life that can be a source of trauma, that are often unmet. One thing that and sometimes I cringe to have to talk about is the separation divorce in the family structure, and how that is, can cause some high levels of trauma, if that situation isn't dealt with in in an appropriate manner. If we were not allowing those children to talk about their, their fear, their frustration, their sadness, about that, separation, divorce, now, they don't have to necessarily talk to the parents, that maybe they can talk to an aunt or uncle someone else involved in their lives. Maybe it's a situation that we could proactively get a counselor involved in, you know, three or four sessions with a with a counselor or a therapist, talking to them about that issue. Can you really ward off that that action, that event that can help it from becoming a traumatic event in that students lives? Yeah.
As we, as we understand trauma and behavior together and how they interact and realize that a lot of the punitive ways that we deal with that behavior is probably not going to help and possibly make it worse. It can feel like, what do we do? Like, what are we allowed to do now? We can't suspend kids, or we can't punish them? Or we know that it doesn't work like what what is the alternative? Yeah,
I think I mentioned restorative practices earlier. And I really liked their approach. It does take maybe a little bit longer on that front end, again. But I really believe that that eventually on that back end, is going to save us some time. So if folks aren't familiar that with a restorative practices approach? Have you really checked that out? Also a lot of good online training. Awesome, you know, there again, there's those people that will come to you to your district, or to your campus and provide some that restorative practices training. I know I'm seeing a lot of a lot more of that. The restorative practices being trained at the campus level, more than the past even six months, a year than I have in, in previous years. So that's gaining some popularity.
I hear people sometimes, oh, dismiss that, that. Oh, it's that like, kind of like what you had said earlier? Like, it's just this hug it out thing. It's not actually like taking care of the problem. It's this huge investment and then we just basically you're telling kids that it's okay to do bad behaviors, and not addressing like, what would you say to those people that have some of those reservations or don't really understand why it works or how to do it successfully?
Yeah, well, any think in any idea, any strategy, any practice, any system can be misused or not used in the proper way. Yeah, so if people have that idea of, you know, this just hug it out. They have a misperception of what restorative practice and restorative discipline restorative justice, which, that's where we started, the practice movement came from, it's from that juvenile justice or the Justice Center, in that restorative justice was all about restoring the harm that was done. So not just not just going back, and, you know, paying the victim for the harm that was done, but really, you know, that may be part of it. But really, the restitution is more about addressing all the aspects of the harm that was done, not just the fiscal aspects, not just the financial aspects, but a lot of that relational aspect to it. And that's probably where it that idea of, let's just hug it out comes from is that all that people see is that let's just hug it out that restoring that relational aspect comes from in a school setting it and we're in a community, we're living life together in that school environment, that restorative practice makes a lot more sense, because we're in that smaller community type of environment. So if I do something that harms somebody else, in that small community, sending me to the office, and having me do lunch detention, that, you know, you mentioned the word. You know, that's not discipline, that's punishment, and punishment really doesn't help us a whole lot, because it doesn't teach us what we need to learn about living life together in community. And the school system is just a really good way to kind of practice that idea. And there are a lot of different aspects to that restorative practice, from things that we do in the classroom. You know, like learning circles, or, you know, doing the, you know, the rules at the beginning of the school year, restorative practices has a very specific way of providing that that gives some voice to the students. And we know that when people have voice in a decision, they're going to be much more likely to comply, whether it's me giving some input on the speed limit outside my front door, or me giving some input in, you know, the rules in my classroom, I'm going to have a lot more buy in, if I'm given voice to, to provide that. And restorative practices does that. And that's just kind of the beginning of the restorative practices is that classroom idea. And then we, if things go as things go wrong, or go awry in the classroom, you know, circles provide, if we're used to getting in those circles, and having circle time, even at the secondary level, those circle, you know, processing, that thing that has happened, becomes much easier, much more of a normal process. And we can look at the harm that was done and provide a restoration time for that.
So how can administrators like lead their teachers in doing this is it just they really just need to go to a training and get some of these tools themselves? Like, as we kind of tried to build a campus environment where not just the administrators are equipped, but the teachers are up to as well? How how practically implemented? Really, can administrators lead their campus in that? Yeah,
one thing that I seeing as we're going out and doing these restorative practices, training, one thing that we're suggesting, that the administrators think about doing is doing circles in their community, as the lead for that that was the staff people. So every staffing they have now becomes a circle time. So we're modeling how to do circles as we're talking to teachers in those PD times that we're having to as teacher meetings, those campus wide teacher meetings or those learning communities that we're having in smaller groups doing them, and just in that restorative circle format, doesn't take any more time, we can still get business done that we need to get done. But we're just modeling that, that circle environment. So that's a really good way to kind of start that and just reinforce the idea on campus, that this is the way we're doing life. Now on this campus, we're providing this, this circle time, it provides people a voice. And people, I'm a very strong, introverted person, when I get into groups of three or four or more, I kind of like to sit back and listen a lot more. And the circles provide, those of us who like to let sit back and listen provides us a time to speak for as a lot of times, the introverts in the in the group will just be the listeners, we give them an opportunity to to speak also in those whether it's in a classroom setting, or that this that campus wide setting in with a staff people,
for administrators that maybe you're hearing this and feel like oh, my staff is going to hate that my staff isn't going to want to do that. Yeah, where can they go, like what's a good resource to get a script or something that they can follow to make this work to make it not just like, you know, to really get value out of it for their staff.
To me, I always like seeing it being done. It gives me a visual example. Other people provide providing restorative practices on their campus and what that looks like. And I hate to call anybody out, but but probably I should, anyway ISD has had some, and I haven't seen them the last couple of years or the last year or so. But they had some really good well done videos of their secondary level folks, providing some restorative circles with with people. And just a really good example of how they do that. Again, it does take some time on that front end. And I know I keep saying that, but I know that that's one thing that's on the administrators minds, is I just don't have time to do that. But if we provide some extra time upfront to do that, I really believe it's going to save some time in the long run. If we, if we in a in a very organized way, get to the point of of what the behavior was about, and healing some of that harm that was done. And teaching that student some better ways of managing those ideas or feelings that they were trying to express through the behavior. Again, we're not going to see that student, I don't think at the same frequency in the office for behavior as we did in the past. For some kids, it may take three or four restorative circles to get them to make a frequency change. You know, the restorative practice? They don't have any special incantations that they say over people. There's not a magic wand. But it is I really,
we all want. Yeah. It's like, Yeah, but what are the specific words? I'm saying, Make this kid stop doing it? Yeah,
yeah. Yeah, there really aren't any restorative practice comes close. lifespace crisis intervention, again, gives us just a really good, concrete roadmap for addressing some of these types of issues. And again, restorative practice provides that kind of that scaffolding for managing behavior at a little bit deeper level. I guess in the end, what administrators need to kind of look at is, is what they're doing working. And if it's not, you know, we know the old saying, if it's not, if it's not working, doing the same thing over and over again, just does not make sense. So we need to maybe learn some more tools and do things maybe a little bit differently. Again, restorative practices, have some online examples, they have some online professional development, and as well as the LSI.
If we're going to be spending a lot of time addressing behavior either way, we Do you rather do it on the front end or the back end after the damage has been done? Is there anything else that you would like to leave us with? Before we go? It's pretty much time. Yeah,
you know, just encouraging folks. You know, I, when I do some of my trainings, I like to have encouraged people to think about the people that inspired them in their past as they were growing up. You know, and really think about what did Mrs. Johnson do? For me? It was coach Landis. He was a biology teacher, when the toughest teachers I had in high school, I remember that he never did answer a question directly. But he would always ask you questions that lead you to the answer, frustrated the devil at me, because I wanted a quick fix. I wanted that magic bullet instantly, I wanted to know the answer. But he did not provide that for me. And he was a coach, he was one of my wrestling coaches, the first one to kick me in the tail if I needed it. But also the first one to hand the offer hand up, as I needed it, or a pat on the back are some encouragement. So I encourage people, especially administrators, to think about those people in their lives. Who inspired them, both when they were in high school, and maybe some mentors in a grad program or in college, and realize that there's still people out there that are providing that same type of inspiration. And how can we better inspire that type of inspiration in the people we work with? And in the students that were charged educate?
Yeah. All right. Well, that brings us to the end. Thank you so much. If there's any other resources or things that you would like me to include in the show notes, I'll be sure to add everything that you mentioned in our show notes today. So thank you so much.
Thanks for having me. Appreciate it. What
did I say? Did I tell you I did I tell ya, man, it's always great chatting with my dad about all things education, but I am so privileged and pleased to get to share a lot of that with you. There are links to all of the different trainings and resources that he mentioned in that episode in our show notes. So if you heard him say something that you're like, Man, that sounds great, I gotta hear more. Um, you can find links to all of that in our show notes. As always, thank you so much to Irwin saalbach, who does all of the production and audio engineering for this, it makes it really crisp and clear for y'all to hear. Thanks to Alana noi steel consulting for doing all of our branding and design work for us. And then as always, this production is the labor of genuine love from the folks at responsive learning. Thank you all so much for being here. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.
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