These are Framingham State University 3-credit graduate courses that can also be taken for 67.5 professional development points. They are taught at approved, off campus sites through the Plymouth County Education Association (pcea.massteacher.org) and the Norfolk County Teachers Association (myncta.org). The courses are available to anyone and are offered intermittently throughout the year at a very reasonable cost. Please feel free to contact me for any additional information.
1. Understanding and Preventing Violence in Schools
The high risk personality with a propensity toward violence often leaves a trail of evidence that can help thwart dangerous, and destructive situations. This evidence is in the form of observable behaviors, the spoken/written word, and the nonverbal messages of one’s handwriting, drawings, scribbles and doodles. The many developmental and environmental aspects of the volatile personality will be explored as well as some of the effective strategies for early intervention and prevention.
2. Academic Strategies for Developing Social Skills
This course is designed to assist participants in acquiring the attitudes, knowledge, and strategies that contribute to effective social skills in an educational environment and throughout one’s life. The impact that one’s early programmed belief systems have on the individual’s decision-making process will be explored. Various theories on the brain’s need to connect to others, and the pros and cons of memory, empathy, attunement, and contemporary forms of social networking will be investigated.
3. Handwriting Enrichment and Implementation
Why do we write the way we do? Why does writing change? What is the effect of drugs and alcohol on handwriting? How can illegible handwriting improve? What are some of the nonverbal messages sent by the handwritten word? Why does someone write anonymous and harassing notes and bomb threats? This course will address these questions and many other contemporary concerns connected to the field of handwriting. Selected topics of discussion will include identifying energy levels, learning processes, concentration, dysgraphia and other writing problems.
4. Developing a Positive Culture in Today’s Schools
The growing cultural emphasis on external accomplishments, image and material rewards has resulted in many negative consequences in the development of one’s genuine sense of self- worth because what the person does or has is more important than who the individual is. This shift has elevated stress levels and has interfered with one’s concentration, decision making and problem solving capabilities. Selected topics include the ego, the paradox of perfection, and the significance one’s need to belong. Effective strategies that contribute to becoming a healthy, productive citizen are also discussed.
5. Cooperative Learning
Students learn the various components of the cooperative process, skills that can ultimately be transferred from the classroom to productive citizenship in the community. Some topics include strategies for acquiring a mindset of flexibility and adaptability, cause and effect issues in relationship building, team building techniques and leadership development, equitable responsibility distribution, and the impact of mental, emotional and physical stress on goal-setting, performance, and productivity.
6. Action, Reaction, Interaction
This course explores the many ways to enhance an individual's nonverbal and verbal communication skills so as to implement effective coping strategies. It also discusses various personality theories with emphasis on identifying the triggers for one’s reactions and overreactions. Approaches to this end include the components of Howard Gardner's theory on the intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences, Daniel Goleman's concept of one’s "Emotional IQ," and an in depth study of each of the unique aspects of the 9 Enneagram personality types along with the graphic marks that are associated with the various types.
7. Self-esteem and Character Education
One's sense of self-worth has a major impact on the healthy development or demise of one's character. How does it impact an individual’s ability to make responsible decisions, problem solve, concentrate, learn and ultimately lead productive lives? This course will explore answers to those questions. Primary focus will be on the "at-risk" individual. Topics include bullying, lying, cheating, stealing, rage, self-mutilation, and suicide. It will also discuss effective coping strategies to deal with day to day stressors.