What is Constructing a Caring Community?

•April 28, 2011 • 1 Comment

What is CACC?

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, 
and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.” 
-George Bernard Shaw

What is a community? A community is a group of people who share. They share a common space. They share relationships. They share things that exist environmentally. How these commonalities are shared is what creates the tone of the community. If they’re shared in a hostile and self-centered way the community will be a harsh one to participate in. If they’re shared in a selfless way that recognizes and acknowledges the value of each piece of the community, it will then be more harmonious and gratifying for its members.

“Constructing a School Community” (CASC) is a unique approach to solving socially and educationally detrimental behaviors in a school setting. It is a guide to the “Art of Teaching.”

So many times I’ve seen behavioral programs that attempt to teach their lessons on what I call a two-dimensional level. They treat only the symptoms of behavioral issues without ever addressing those issues on a systemic level. They do little or nothing to help students and teachers develop an intrinsic motivation to exhibit beneficent social skills. In many cases behavioral science is a three-dimensional convergence. It’s a dynamic coming together of the environment of the community, the relationships in the community and the constitution of each individual member of the community. As you will see, with the CASC model students and teachers will learn how to gather information that will motivate them to behave in a generous and selfless way. They will learn how to recognize the value of each member and all of the components that make up their community. They will realize that the personal benefits of contributing to this atmosphere in a positive manner include the freedom of self-expression. They will develop the courage to take risks and will gain the security of knowing that the community will grant them a foundation on which they can rely when they have a need. The combination of these factors will raise the levels of effective teaching and learning in your school.

The CASC model can be applied in part or as a whole to staff, classroom, or entire school situations. Individual teachers have successfully utilized its concepts and tools to produce more meaningful and cooperative relationships with their students and classes. Curriculum department staff members can use the CASC model to create more supportive relationships between teachers and allow them to collectively and effectively teach curricular areas while using each teacher’s individual strengths. Athletic departments can use this model to strengthen the character component of their teams and individual members. The development of solid, positive character will translate into a more successful interscholastic sports program and will instill in team members a genuine respect for coaches, officials, equipment, and each other.

The lifelong lessons that CASC teaches are ones that students will take with them when they leave the school community. Their application of these concepts outside of the school setting will strengthen the society at large. Those who learn the concepts of CASC will be able to apply them in their careers, within their families, and with the general population.

I have witnessed the ineffectiveness of rote pledges and activities that do nothing to produce selfless, empathetic, and compassionate behaviors. Though CASC is not a panacea for solving all of the complex problems that sharing a society creates it does go very far in producing an intrinsic incentive in students and staff to see beyond their own wants and needs and act for the benefit of others and the good of their community.