Q&A About AVERT
Training for Teachers
was the AVERT Project Created for Teachers?
role of a teacher is complex and multi-faceted and has evolved considerably over
time. But what has remained
constant is the powerful image they represent to their students and the powerful
impact they play on their studentís personal and social development.
Most students view teachers as role models and authority figures
representing society. How the
teacher responds to them is often interpreted by the student as how society
views them, and will be remembered by the student for many years to come.
In essence, teachers are mandated representatives of society.
Depending on how they administer their powerful role, they can elicit
hope, courage and the seeds of self-respect and empowerment.
Just as easily, they can promote apathy, despair and rage.
AVERT project for teachers was created to foster teacher empathy because
increased teacher empathy helps enrich teachers relationships with their
students, decreases school violence by decreasing alienation among youth,
decreases the problem of eroding motivation among teachers, and ensures safety
in the school setting, where levels of stress often run high.
AVERT project was not designed to expose dysfunctional behavior or to single out
individual teachers performing their jobs badly. Instead, the AVERT project strives to encourage and honor the
many fine educators already doing a splendid job while, at the same time, to
help those teachers at risk.
Does Empathy = Safety for Teachers and Students?
understand that a teacherís role is to require them to comply with societyís
educational demands and to report on their progress. However, teachers must keep
in mind that the everyday business of enforcing rules, inhibiting studentsí
physical movements, and holding them responsible for their actions can be more
than just a routine course of action for some students.
In fact, for the emotionally stressed, such experiences can be
frightening and traumatic and lead to violence, either immediate or delayed, and
possible harm to the teacher and/or student. It is therefore an appropriate
protective measure for todayís professional educators to gain an empathic view
of their studentsí emotional states and processes.
ability to comprehend another personís cognitive and emotional perception on
an empathic levelówhile differentiating oneís own perception and how it
might affect othersóis invaluable knowledge for any professional educator.
Such an ability will decrease the resistance felt by students who will
come to perceive their teachers as respectful and worthy of respect, thus
cultivating a safer and healthier school environment for all.
is Empathy and How Can It Prevent Violence?
Empathy is the process of
stepping outside of oneself and into the shoes of another.
It is our human ability to understand the thoughts, emotions, and
perspective of another human being by drawing on our own life experience for
insight into their situation. Itís understanding, both emotionally and
intellectually, what it might be like to be standing in the shoes of the other
person and how we might respond if in a similar circumstance.
addressing the issue of school safety empathy is extremely important because it
allows teachers to do several things. First,
it gives them a chance to predict the behavior of their students, and second, it
allows them the possibility to affect the outcome before itís too late.
Empathy Be Developed Through Training?
Through the use of
specifically designed role-training exercises, one can develop a cognitive as
well as affective understanding of anotherís experience.
Social role-taking is an exercise that helps an individual or group
develop empathy by having them assume the role of another.
This method has two distinct components: cognitive role-taking, wherein
an individual becomes able to think about what another person is thinking, and
affective role-taking, wherein an individual becomes able to understand
anotherís feeling states.
long is the Training?
training is designed to be completed two in different formats.
The first is a (four-hour) training and the second a (six-
or eight-hour) training. However,
where special needs are concerned, the training format can be tailored to meet
the needs of the respective agency. If
you are in a situation where you are able to give more time to this training,
you will be able to expand the format and elaborate wherever your trainers feel
it to be appropriate.