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ESE504 : The Class : Adolescence : Proclamation

Proclamation of Well-being


I Am Me
In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me.
Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine because I alone chose it.
I own everything about me - my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions,
whether they be to others or to myself.
I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears
Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me.
By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with me in all my parts.
I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me,
and other aspects that I do not know -
but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and for ways to find out more about me.
However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time
is authentically me.
If later,some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought and felt turn out to be unfitting,
I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest and invent something new for that which I discarded.
I can see, hear, feel, think, say and do.
I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive,
and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me,
I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me.
I am me

by Virginia Satir in Peoplemakers

For many teens, adolescence is rather like being in a house of mirrors. The physical changes can warp the student's ideas about appearance. Attractiveness, body image and ability to fit in with peers may redefine self image.

This proclamation of a right to understand and accept self may be a direct contradiction to the feelings of most teens. Can you remember feelings of confusion and contradiction during adolescence?

Why do so many people remember adolescence with fondness and a wish to return to that time of life?

What do you think about this definition of mental well being? Feel free to share your thoughts about it at the VCC.

You may also wish to address how this set of beliefs might impact work with adolescents.

If you wanted to present this way of viewing the self and life to students at the jr. high or high school level, how would you go about it?

One Proposal

If students previously experienced working in a classroom setting that competently utilized cooperative learning, they have group skills, and relationship concepts. Those adolescents who have not experienced this can benefit from being offered the training and understanding of group dynamics and the power of shared learning. Cooperative learning and group process can continue and be enhanced with better conflict resolution skills and communication skills. Those adolescents who have not acquired organizational, thinking and problem solving skills may be offered this training before a schedule is developed to continue academic work.

Students demonstrate readiness to participate in a Service Program and participation is seen as a “graduation into” more mature learning avenues. Students must be nominated by a teacher, parent, or community leader. Once the student is nominated a portfolio is presented to the school committee to establish readiness for preparation.

The portfolio might include

Evidence of satisfactory acquisition of high school level literacy.

Evidence of appropriate deportment and developmental readiness to work in the community.

Letters of recommendation.

Student request for service opportunity, outlining strengths and areas of interest.

Parental confirmation of student’s readiness to provide community service.

Once the student is admitted into the service program, the program can be maintained much as a service club. A sponsor teacher could provide the organization and maintain contact with the community and parents with assistance from student members. To facilitate ease of running, the following documents might be part of the process once the student is admitted to the program:

A participation contract, signed by self and parents

List of off campus rules, school handbook, privilege and consequence lists

Self management plan and monitoring sheets

Calendar (weekly or monthly) noting good days, record of infractions

Self reflection sheets, developing personal insights into strengths and areas of vocational interest as growth occurs through service to others.

Life skill or process lessons (Content Lessons, Capstone)

Picking up fine points of communication , listening and observation skills.

Program Preparation

  1. Assess personal philosophy for consistency and human centered beliefs.
  2. . List procedures and routines which can be taught to assist students to take personal responsibility and maintain a secure work environment.
  3. Determine to model a pattern of consistency, concern, self discipline.
  4. Set rules and provide natural and logical consequences, including removal from the program,in the place of punitive measures.
  5. Set up a role sheet or computer process for keeping track of Daily location Hours served Progress Means of transportation Volunteer site coordinator Commendations and evaluations Infractions

Role of the Teacher

Establish uniformity between work site practices and school policy, being certain parents are alerted to policy and willing to reinforce school and teacher actions. The role of teacher has already been discussed at some length, since it is such a vital part of the interactive atmosphere necessary for good education. Again, it is the individual teacher who makes this possible through a personal life of self value and modeling the valuing of others. Elements of such a creed of living might start something like this:

Show respect and courtesy for all - especially a reverence for self.

Display patience and love in even the most trying situation.

Never belittle others or allow them to be belittled in our presence.

Practice and speak a respect for goodness.

Praise and display a joy of learning and joie de vivre.

Celebrate learning in as many ways as possible.

Express gratitude freely and frequently.

Show humility through appreciating personal strengths of self and others.

Recognize the human right and need to err through patience and use of true apology.

Communicate personal needs to others.

Negotiate conflicts rather than allowing them to stack up or feel victimized.

Develop and practice a personal and professional code of ethics.

By accepting the responsibility of valuing self as a person, the teacher gives students an honorable model. Through the process of recognizing personal areas of strength and weakness, the teacher automatically provides an environment of safety for self and for struggling adolescents to become more secure in energizing personal growth through self management. Through living, modeling and verbalizing personal acceptance, the teacher gives the gift of compassion to self as well as to students. As the students become involved in the lives of others, the modeling of the teacher and mentor will surface repeatedly.

Day One: Enhancing current practice

The Value Rules, which are to be developed at this level include Give - You can make a difference and Show self respect in your choices. The developmental process, based on the emerging philosophical reasoning for this level is differentiating between personalized ideas and a global vision. The students work to accept and value personal strengths, achievements, and traits. They focus on recognizing the complexity of life, moral issues and ideals. Many students are also involved in building relationships and valuing intimacy.

Implementation steps:

  1. Introduce students to the rules, procedures, routines and the learning contract for community service. * Explain reasons when necessary * Drill those things that promote appropriate routines * Set up a time weekly, for discussing the community service experiences * Develop and distribute the student contracts, parent permission slips and guideline packet for discussion and signatures
  2. Explain grading policy.
  3. Go through the Self Management worksheet showing how it will be used.
  4. Review the disciplinary process for students and provide the levels of infractions which might lead to dismissal from the community service program.

The are numerous benefits from a program that balances self control and community service.

We provide a setting with stability, structure and consistency.

We further the development of community and respect for the rights of others as a practice.

We guide students in dispelling the ‘we - they’ gang as society perception.

We develop a sense of ecological balance as vital for community.

We provide opportunities for students to understanding higher moral reasoning, to practice the concepts and to explore the impact of self and others, thus moving students toward valuing, and therefore assisting in maintenance of a democratic community.

We assist students in the development of being and doing esteem through the utilization of time, energy and personal strengths.

We guide students in self recognition and valuing of true gifts and strengths through volunteer opportunities.

We involve students in looking for the meaning of being human, valuing human life, and working to develop an understanding of human nature - self and others.

We prepare students to enter the world of work since this preparation to work as a volunteer in the community provides training in: resume and portfolio preparation job interviewing phone answering skills proper dress attendance and punctuality service demeanor with customers and clients professional ethics loyalty to a company and importance of honoring a contract work ethic and commitment to task

What do you think of this type of discipline? What are the pros and cons?

Should schools move from the school to work model that places students in employment during high school and encourage service to the community?

If you wish to discuss these ideas with others in the class, you can go to the VCC.

You should:

Go on to PEPSI for Late Adolescents
Or . . .
Go back to Adolescence

E-mail J'Anne Ellsworth at


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