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Thursday, October 01, 2015

Teaching the Golden Rule in School

Recently, we caught up with Brooks Gibbs, co-founder of Golden Rule School, a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) program for resolving conflict on campus. 

In this interview, he talks about his upcoming conference for School Counselors in Boca Raton, FL as well as his passion to help victims of bullying.

What is Golden Rule School?
Golden Rule School is a professional development organization I co-founded with School Psychologist Izzy Kalman to help schools take a psychological approach to resolve social conflict on campus. We have over 1,500 schools in our network and we are probably the fastest Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) program in North America.

What will School Counselors learn at your upcoming conference?
We are holding an all-day training conference for educators and school counselors on October 16, 2015. The conference will be held in Boca Raton, but will be broadcasted online for those who can't make it to Florida. 

Those who attend the conference will never be the same- in a good way! It is common for our attendees to tell us that we brought joy back to their profession. So many school counselors don't feel like counselors at all. They feel like law enforcement officers or detectives. They have the seemingly impossible job of addressing every bullying complaint and resolving every social dispute. It's exhausting.

We teach them how to totally re-think social aggression from a psychological perspective rather than a legal one. We introduce "magic responses" to complaints that instantly resolve simple problems. For the more complex problems, we teach counselors how to play improvisational games with the student to cure them of their victimization complex while empowering them to face their adversary with confidence.

We essentially teach The Golden Rule guide for the most common social problems they will face at any given day. Our approach works like magic and educators/counselors return to doing what they love- teaching/helping kids.

Do you address bullying?
Yes, we spend some time discussing bullying from a psychological perspective rather than a legal perspective. The two approaches are in diabolical opposition. The legal approach unfortunately labels students bullies and victims, assuming that the victim is innocent and powerless to solve their social problem and the bully is guilty of committing a criminal assault against the victim. However, the psychological approach recognizes that both parties involved most likely feel like victims and view the other as the bully. The psychological approach to bullying focuses on each persons reaction to an offense and teaches both parties how to use The Golden Rule to resolve the conflict and avoid future conflicts.

Bullying experts say that "bullying" is not a conflict. Do you agree?
I think that statement is a logical absurdity. Bullying is not peace, love, and harmony. It's a conflict. I think what bullying experts are trying to say is that bullying must involve a real or perceived imbalance of power. They say that "conflict" happens to people with equal power, but "bullying" is a terroristic assault upon an innocent and helpless victim. 

However, School counselors know that most problems students are facing every day in school would not fall into their definition of bullying. Verbal insults, social exclusion, rumors, and crude jokes create true social conflicts that can and should be resolved quickly before they escalate into a more dangerous situation involving student retaliation.

What will your conference attendees love most about the training?
I think they will love laughing. Seriously, our conference will be the most informative and entertaining conference a counselor could ever attend. We bring our audience onto the stage to play improv games and you wouldn't believe how mean some counselors can be! It's all done in good fun and our games are designed to demonstrate why kids are picked on and how to stop it. We do a ton of laughing, but more importantly what educators and counselors will learn could very well save a child's life who feels like there is no way to solve their social problems. Teaching kids how to make their own friends and solve their own social problems is one of the most important gifts you can give a child.

About Brooks:
Brooks Gibbs is an author, speaker, and co-founder of Golden Rule School. He's spoken to over 1 million students and has been featured as an expert in publications like the Huffington Post, Fox News, and the New York Times.
To learn more about the Golden Rule School conference, visit: www.GoldenRuleSchool.com

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