The Alternative Educator's Handbook
Author: Paul J. Pattavina
Publisher: Brown Walker Press
Book Summary: The Alternative Educator’s Handbook, by Dr. Paul J. Pattavina, is a comprehensive, practical collection of strategies and researched practices to be implemented with students who present social, emotional and behavioral challenges in school. It is a handbook intended to serve as a practical resource for teachers and staff who work with students whose progress in school is interrupted by social and emotional issues – kids who tend to, either intentionally or unintentionally, ‘pluck your last nerve’. It reviews student characteristics and intervention procedures, as well as specific forms and procedures created or adapted over time and experience. The ideas in this book will serve as a guide for educators and mental health professionals who are responsible for these kinds of difficult students, in whatever educational setting they might be placed - alternative schools or programs, private clinical or therapeutic schools, intensive behavior support classrooms or flexible resource room classrooms in public schools. This is a book that should be read by special and regular education teachers, school social workers, counselors, clinicians and school psychologists; paraprofessionals and child care workers; principals and assistant principals; school superintendents and board of education members; juvenile probation officers; parents and concerned community members; and college instructors who train special education teachers. The need for effective, alternative programs for students with challenging emotional and behavior patterns continues to be a pressing issue for public schools nationwide. The concern has been exacerbated in the past several years by continued school shootings and violence, creating a grave sense of fear among students, parents and staff, by the actions of kids with guns and other weapons in school. Legislators and public officials have been called to take actions that will keep kids safer in school, focusing particularly on gun control, limiting access and adding guards. And although such measures will be essential towards preventing some school violence, the kinds of programming and resources available for our public schools must also be closely examined. In effect, schools will need to find ways to identify and provide programming options for students who may be disgruntled, alienated, unconnected, impulsive, and who may be looking to be recognized, seek revenge or put an end to bullying, perceived harassment, injustice or a life of ignominy -- kids who feel they have nothing left to lose. Readers will initially learn about important issues within our public schools that require school staff to be trained to manage a range of social and emotional issues that kids bring to school. In the next section, readers are provided snapshots of related background research about students' social-emotional learning needs and effective intervention practices--including PBIS, restorative practices, behavioral programming, social problem solving and affective teaching. Finally, the book outlines a number of specific recommended practices for managing students' social and emotional learning needs. These practices are presented as a cognitive-behavioral model of programming that includes a range of specific competencies, all clustered into a teacher's 4 "bags of tools" -- structure, climate, instruction and discipline. Being an "alternative educator" is not viewed in this text as an official job title. Alternative educator in the context of this document includes anyone who is always searching for different ways to work with difficult kids -- because that's the only way to help such students learn.