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Cliff's Corner - 3/22/2018

posted Mar 27, 2018, 3:18 PM by Admin at Winterhaven   [ updated Mar 27, 2018, 3:19 PM ]

Hey everyone, A quick shakedown of the week before vacation:


I’m out of the building a bunch this week for both training and family stuff so there isn’t too much to report as I’ll be missing most of the classroom visits. If I do make it to the K-5 classrooms, we will talk about assertive communication some more, zooming in on “I messages”. I messages are structured ways for people to communicate disagreements. They look like this: 


  • “I feel _______________ (emotion) when you _____________ (action).  
  • Could you please ________________ (request for action, change, etc.).” 


They help people own their feelings and others to feel less attacked and therefore less defensive so they can hear what you are trying to communicate.  We will do these at all grade levels K-5. Mostly after Spring Break, it appears.


In 6th grade we are starting Sex Ed / Health. Students should have a talking sheet to go over with you every week for homework. These are graded assignments, please sign them on the bottom. This is your chance to state your family’s values around this topic and share out what the students are thinking. They can be difficult conversations, but necessary ones. Trust me, they are far more nervous about talking to you about this than you are to them. This week’s lesson is on basic vocabulary and the worksheet is on puberty for next class. As an aside, I read a terrifying statistic: The average age of kids being exposed to porn is now 8 or 9. They need to have some education around healthy relationships instead of just relying on that. Yes, they are tremendously uncomfortable and goofy as all get out in these lessons. The feigned disgust trying to cover obvious interest is pretty fun to see.


And to our weekly question: How do different culture’s “normal” means of communicating cause friction when communicating with other cultures? I’m thinking of a friend of mine who spent a few years living in Ghana. She shared with me that Gha is a very direct language, a lot of the niceties and manners are done non-verbally as the structures aren’t present in the language. Contrast that with some First Nations’ cultural avoidance of directness, choosing to often speak in metaphor rather than confront. Even our stereotypical East Coast vs. West Coast communication shows this friction. We communicate in a way that is socially normed for us which does not necessarily fit well with other cultures. Can you think of a time that something like this happened in your life and share it with your kids?


Cliff Shaw
School Counselor
Winterhaven School

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