In our classroom, we are using a wonderful book inspired by the work of Marshall Rosenberg and Nonviolent Communication (NVC). It is called
The No-Fault Classroom:
Tools to Resolve Conflict & Foster Relationship Intelligence
by Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson
In this book, children are introduced to NVC and the process of Observations, Feelings, Needs, and Requests.
Children also learn about Jackal Language vs. Giraffe Language, reading their Feeling Thermometer, and ways to get themselves to Calm Alert so that they can make Choices and avoid Black & White Thinking.
our classroom giraffe
Here is an excerpt: Prepare the Ground for Your No-Fault Classroom (PDF).
The book's premise is that two aliens, named Michi and Nao, visit the classroom and and help the children (the Earthlings) to better understand their Inner Space and how to read their Inner Operating System (IOS) Control Panel and use it to make every place they are into a No-Fault Zone.
We began by making our IOS Power Panels. Now we are learning the 9 Powers that Earthlings have. We spend a week or so on each Power.
The 9 Powers are:
- 1) The Power to Get to Calm Alert
2) The Power to Know Your Needs
3) The Power to Meet Needs
4) The Power to Read Feelings
5) The Power to Observe
6) The Power to Listen
7) The Power to Navigate the Fault Zone
8) The Power to Co-operate to Solve Problems & Conflicts
9) The Power to Create a No-Fault Zone Wherever You Are
So far we have done Powers 1 and 2.
Below are the four messages from Michi and Nao that we have received. Every message is followed by a classroom discussion or hands-on activity to help the children understand them better.
- Earthlings function best when in a state of Calm Alert.
- Knowing how to get to Calm Alert is an important skill for Earthlings.
- Earthlings have access to many choices for action when in a state of Calm Alert.
- Certain kinds of thoughts take Earthlings out of a state of Calm Alert into a Fault Zone filled with stress pools, anger volcanoes, and black holes of conflict.
- Use your IOS Feeling Thermometer to get a moment-to-moment read-out about the intensity of your feelings.
- Learn to read your Feeling Thermometer to find out how far you are from Calm Alert.
- Learn ways to get to Calm Alert whenever you choose to.
- When Earthlings think thoughts that stimulate stress, anger, or fear, up to 80% of their usual blood supply can leave the thinking center of the brain (the frontal lobes). Then thinking becomes fuzzy, feelings get intense, and Earthlings cannot function well.
- Fortunately, throughout history and in all cultures Earthlings have devised Energy-Shifting exercises to help them get to Calm Alert and optimum functioning.
- Take a reading of your Feeling Thermometer.
- Notice when your feelings are very hot or very cold.
- Do Energy-Shifting exercises.
When you want to get to Calm Alert:
- The well-being of Earthlings depends on learning how to meet needs.
- If they choose, Earthlings can develop skills for meeting needs.
- Earthlings have Surviving Needs (like air, water, food, shelter, and safety) and Thriving Needs (things that make life wonderful like friends, family, learning, play, respect, kindness, and many more).
- All Earthlings are born with and operate from the same set of human needs.
- Get to know your needs -- your Surviving Needs and your Thriving Needs -- so that you can meet them well.
- Notice that everyone operates from the same human needs.
- There is a need behind every action.
- Most Earthlings don't know this.
- When Earthlings understand why they do what they do, they can be more effective, create more understanding, and decrease conflicts.
- Add to your vocabulary of needs.
- Look for the need behind everything you do and say, and everything other people do and say, and see what you can learn from that.
Here is a useful list of human Universal Feelings & Universal Needs (PDF).
The children are really enjoying the Alien Lessons and I recommend this resource to all teachers and all families! And I will be forever grateful to the former superintendent of District 95, Mike Shimshak, for our wonderful meetings about progressive education and for turning me on to this book!!!
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