Book Review: Raising Human Beings

Have you heard of Ross Greene's book on collaborative parenting?

You may be wondering how it has anything to do with you as a teacher.

I (Janna, the Academic Lead at Seltrove) just finished reading the book and it is amazing. Not just for parents, but for all adults working with people -- people of all ages, from babies, preschoolers, elementary school students, pre-teens, teens, college kids, and adults. Everyone!

So here's a review of sorts (along with some advice extrapolated from the book for teachers). Hopefully it gives you a bit of information about collaborative partnerships and gives you some motivation to buy the book (or borrow it from your local library).
Collaborative Partnerships

Greene's book centers around the idea of creating collaborative partnerships with children, including students. He reminds us of the history of the relationship between adults and children, like:
  • Do as I say.
  • I'm always right.
  • Respect me no matter what, I'm the adult.
  • I can make you do what I want.

The problem with these ideas, obviously, is that they aren't centered on the idea of mutual respect. Students, no matter their age, are humans and deserve respect just like anyone else.

Greene writes, "It's all about balance, but the balance sometimes seems so precarious, so difficult to achieve. Fortunately [...] it's a partnership, and one in which collaboration, rather than power, is the key ingredient" (Greene 2).

How does it work?

Well, you will have to read the book, but here's a summary of some of the ways you can begin creating this partnership with your students:

  1. Lay a foundation for mutual respect by creating classroom expectations together with your students at the beginning of the year, posting them on your classroom wall, and referring back to them often.
  2. Think through your options: are you going to use Greene's PLAN A (telling a student what to do), PLAN B (collaborating to solve a problem), or PLAN C (let the issue go if it's not that important)?
  3. Use empathetic listening...for real, not just pretending to use it!
  4. Checking in to see how the solution is going.


If I give up power, won't my students STOP respecting me?

How do I get my students to do what I need them to do, if I'm always just compromising with them?

Will I be giving up my status as an authority figure? 

Read Greene's answers ALL these questions and lots more. It can teach teachers how to create collaborative relationships with their students that is mutually beneficial and in line with SEL. The CASEL competencies that you will most be working on while creating this partnerships is relationship skills and social awareness.

OK, so now what?

If you're ready to creating meaningful, lasting, respectful relationships with your students, I highly recommend you read Raising Human Beings. While the case studies in the book are parenting stories, the ideas implied in each case study is easily transferrable to your classroom.

Once you've read the book, you can find more support in implementing this type of classroom management style in the Seltrove SEL Foundations workshop bundle, which focuses on creating SEL routines in your classroom, using SEL-aligned classroom management strategies, and learning about appropriate expectations for your students.

Want to learn more?

Check out our all teacher workshops!

Teacher workshops are great ways to train teachers in SEL topics in an engaging and easy way! Each bundle includes 4-5 individual workshops that center on 1-3 CASEL competencies.
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