I often link to resources on LearningandViolence.net, so I thought I’d give it a little blog post of its own.
Learningandviolence.net is a treasure trove for people who work in adult basic education, literacy or essential skills programs. Many students in such programs have experienced violence in their past, or are still dealing with violence now. And violence affects learning.
I assume that in any class, there will be students who have difficulties learning because of their experiences with violence, but I don’t want to be a counsellor for these students. I’m not trained and not interested in counselling.
However, as an instructor, I’m interested in helping people learn. I want them to succeed in my classes. So over the years I have learned some strategies for dealing with the effects of violence on the ability to learn, and developed some of my own. (My classroom rules “Just say ‘Pass!” and “Refuse to be bored” are two of those strategies.)
Learningandviolence.net is a huge site, full of resources; a great place to begin is the Teachers’ Room in the student kit in the new section on Changing Education. Did you know, for example, that students who don’t ask for help when they need it, or who constantly put themselves down, may be using old patterns of behaviour that were useful in violent situations? (Not useful in a learning situation, it goes without saying.)
Click on the books and other objects in the teachers room for information, strategies and new insights into situations you will recognize from your experience in the classroom.
In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll say that I have done a little work on editing or writing a few of the resources on the site, and that Jenny Horsman, the guiding spirit behind the site, is a friend of mine.