Project Group: Social Learning
In response to an idea by the PTA and the former members of the DSW steering committee, the school’s administration founded the group “Social Learning” in the school year 2007/2008.
Group members include parent, teacher, and student representatives, the Elementary School counselor, Ms. U. Schweizer as liaison to grades 1-4, and the counselor for grades 5-12, Mrs. K. Fabina. Mrs. C. Vorwerk is the coordinator of the group.
- Conflict prevention and resolution.
- Helping students to strengthen key social behavior strategies through age-appropriate training activities.
- Strengthen self-confidence and communication skills.
- Foster contacts and relationships.
Annually, the German School Washington, D.C. offers a “social skills training” for grades 5-10. The training sessions are completed and documented by Gunzburg and Associates. The project group that created the program over the last few years will continue to follow its progress. Per year, each class will receive 3 training sessions (90 minutes each), which are spread out over the school year. Boys and girls receive separate training. Please note that the school reserves the right to make changes to the schedule as necessary.
The following are examples of topics for social skills training sessions:
Self Awareness/Self Worth/Self Esteem
How do I see myself? How do I think others see me? How do I want others to see me?
What is a good/bad decision? Steps to making a good decision. How does my decision affect others?
Respect for self, respect for others, respect for property
What is respectful language? What is respectful behavior?
What are conflicts? Are all conflicts bad? How do I handle conflicts? Looking from the others’ perspective.
What is bullying? Is it teasing or bullying – differences and similarities. Strategies to overcome bullying.
What does it mean to be a friend? How to be a good friend. Empathy and respect.
What is a clique? Why can cliques be harmful?
What is peer pressure? How does one handle peer/outside pressures?
(Alcohol and other drugs may also be discussed with the older students)
Who are Gunzburg and Associates?
Gunzburg and Associates are a private local organization that supports students and families not only in schools, but in private practice as well. More information on them can be found at www.gunzburgandassociates.com Joel Gunzburg was an essential part of the development of the act.now program from the very beginning and supported us as a trainer and coordinator for several years.. Working together with Mr. Gunzburg and his team assures a constant and professional management of the program that remains unaffected by the high fluctuation at the German School.
How often do the trainings take place?
The trainings take place over the course of the school years in grades 5-10. Each training lasts 90 minutes. Each class receives three training sessions per school year.
Does the program take place exclusively in English?
Yes. New students from Germany are supported by the classmates if necessary. The counselor can also function as translator if the need arises.
How is the sustainability ensured?
Together with Gunzburg and Associates the project group will continuously monitor the program to ensure sustainability.
Do parents have any influence over the program?
YES! The project group includes members of the PTA. The program was created with experts together with members of the project group. Feed-back and best practices from the program are discussed with Gunzburg and Associates.
Where is the benefit for parents and teachers?
A long-term strengthening of the students’ social skills, less conflict situations that require a teacher to interrupt class to resolve the issue and, consequently, less valuable class time “wasted” on conflict resolution.
Which classes will be affected the most?
No class will be affected more than another. Days and times for the trainings will be distributed over different subjects and weekdays.
Are teachers required to attend?
It is not recommended that teachers be present during the trainings, so the students will feel as comfortable as possible in an open dialogue with the trainer. Naturally, the teachers must be reachable.
Who decides when and on what days the trainings will take place?
The times are scheduled in accordance with the class schedule and in cooperation with the teaching staff.
Can parents contact Gunzburg and Associates with questions or concerns?
Yes! Although we are in constant contact with the trainers, parents may also reach out to Gunzburg and Associates directly. Mr. Gunzburg’s direct line is available upon request.