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ABS200 INTRODUCTION TO BEHAVIOR APPLIED SCIENCES
Reflect: Mr. Williams teaches tenth grade in a community where a student opened fire at another nearby high school. The students in his classes are upset at the news of the shooting and that the student has been identified as a recent transfer from their own school. He comes to you, the school psychologist, for direction.
Write: Your initial post
- Specify some strategies teachers can use to help students cope with stressful events such as this.
- Identify trends that may provide insights into and assistance with coping in the aftermath of this type of tragic event.
- Identify at least two of the theoretical perspectives discussed in the text (e.g., behavioristic, cognitive, social learning theory, humanist), and briefly discuss how you would address the question “Why did this happen?” that surrounds events like this from each of the perspectives you selected.
Lastly, examine the issue of personal responsibility. Defend your position by generalizing some of the pros and cons that might be associated with each of your recommended strategies.
Your initial post must be a minimum of 200 words, and you must utilize at least one scholarly source (e.g., the course textbook, a peer reviewed article from a professional web source) in addition to the video. All sources must be cited according to APA style .
Respond to Peers: Respond to at least two of your classmates who had different thoughts around why events like this happen. Ask questions that might help to further your understanding of the discussion or take the discussion to a deeper level. Also, consider your peer’s thoughts on personal responsibility. Do you agree with your peer’s conclusion? Why, or why not?
PEER 1 (Respond to the following post with at least 100 words)
School shootings are horrible, traumatic events that, unfortunately, can happen anywhere at any time. Many schools have implemented active shooter drills in order to try and keep the students and staff safe in the event this occurs. You always hear about the event itself and what happened immediately after, but there is less information or follow up about how students and faculty have to cope after this happens.
It is important for staff to allow students the time to ask questions and talk about their feelings after an event like this occurs. Staff should be encouraging them to speak to someone if they are having difficulties processing or coping with what has happened. The staff can then make sure that they are validating their feelings, while reminding them of all the things that went safely, while also reinforcing current safety measures in place.
Students may be hesitant to speak to an adult individually about what they are thinking or feeling and group therapy may be an option. Other methods such as drawing, or writing may be helpful exercises for them to cope without needing to use spoken words. It is important to recognize signs of distress if a student is unwilling to talk with an adult or says that they are fine. They may show changes in behavior such as problems with schoolwork, anxiety, changes in sleep patterns, or acting out. It is important to acknowledge these changes and attempt to give them ways of coping to manage their distress. Group activities, drawing or writing, role playing, or talk therapy could open up a safe space to discuss feelings and emotions about the shooting. (National Association of School Psychologists, 2015).
To address the question “why did this happen” using a cognitive perspective, the student can remember the events that occurred and become more aware of what they are in control of. They can know that this event was outside of their control by being controlled by the actions of the shooter. Maybe the shooter felt like they were out of control and created an environment where they were. At the same time, they can know that how they respond to these events (behaving, feeling, etc) is completely controlled by them. They can choose how they continue to respond to this memory or alter how they remember it all together by working through the feelings associated with each person’s choices.
To address the question “why did this happen” using a humanist perspective, the students can think about the shooter’s personal factors (beliefs, emotion, meaning, identity) and how they may have affected their decision. Maybe the shooter did not have the same ideas or values as the student, and therefore a new perspective needs to be explored. Maybe the shooter had a terrible home life. This does not mean that it makes the shooting ok, but it helps to see events through different eyes(McCarthy, 2016).
As far as personal responsibility goes, I think it is important to not lie to the student but also to very carefully pick how I am responding to questions and responses. It is important to explain it with sensitivity and respect. Group activities such as role playing or talk therapy might make student’s feel less uncomfortable than seeking individual help. It may also help for the students to know that they are not the only ones that are feeling this way about the events that happened. This may also open up the opportunity for silliness or acting out by students who are not taking the activity seriously or hiding their true feelings. Drawing or writing may be a great way for students to open up without having to actually speak about what they are thinking or feeling. This could create a laid back, safe way to communicate without pressure. Some students, however, may not be able to draw or properly express themselves by using written words. They may just shut down or participate minimally just to meet requirements. One method will not be effective on every student. Various options should be provided. Having a sign-up sheet for group or individual sessions to talk with the psychologist on their own terms when they are ready will allow the students to feel in control and more likely to work through this event.