How-To Tips for Educators

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The following are some basic tips for those working in educational or training settings.


bullet Interpersonal strategies
bullet Providing supports to students with psychiatric disabilities


Interpersonal strategies

bulletMake personal contact to develop a working alliance with students.


bulletWhen you don't know what to say, say nothing--listen.


bulletAvoid advice and premature problem solving.


bulletDo not assume you know the studentís feelings, thoughts, and reasons for behaviors.


bulletAvoid relying on questions; attend, listen and try to summarize thoughts and feelings instead.


bulletBe as clear and concrete as possible.


bulletSeparate the person from the problem.


bulletAgreement does not equal empathy; disagreement does not mean disconnection.


bulletA good working relationship does not require approval or shared values; you can have differences. How to deal with differences:
bulletBalance reason and emotion
bulletDemonstrate understanding
bulletUse good communication techniques
bulletBe consistent and reliable


bulletNegotiation builds respect and works better than coercion.


bulletGenius of good communication is to be at the same time as honest and as kind as possible.


bulletPay attention to gender and racial/ethnic issues.


bulletDocument your communications and interactions.


bulletKnow yourself:
bulletWhy do you teach?
bulletWhat do you like/dislike about working with students?
bulletWith what emotions are you uncomfortable?
bulletHow will you deal with your students feelings for you?
bulletWhat your "hot" buttons? Who can usually press them?


Sources: Meier, Scott T. (1989). The Elements of Counseling. Belmont, California: Wadsworth, Inc.; Fisher, R. and Brown, C. (1988). Getting Together: Building Relationships As We Negotiate. Boston: Harvard University.



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Providing supports to students with psychiatric disabilities

bulletIdentify presence of disability.


bulletMaximize use of current, existing campus support services.


bulletRecognize and anticipate periods of academic inactivity (stops-outs versus drop-outs).


bulletClarify campus policies regarding acceptable student and classroom behavior.


bulletIdentify and consult with school or college's disability services office and /or Section 504 officer.


bulletSeparate treatment issues from education issues.


bulletApply same behavioral expectations/code of conduct to students with psychiatric disabilities as you would any other student.


bulletHelp students to become aware of their behavioral responsibilities in the classroom by setting concrete guidelines and clear academic requirements.


bulletDo not refer students with disabilities to support services in lieu of disciplinary measures. Referral to support services at the request of a student with a psychological disability who is disruptive is appropriate, but not as a disciplinary measure.

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