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Learning to Trust: Transforming Difficult Elementary Classrooms Through Developmental Discipline

Learning to Trust: Transforming Difficult Elementary Classrooms Through Developmental Discipline

Marilyn Watson, Laura Ecken

ISBN: 978-0-787-96650-8

May 2003, Jossey-Bass

352 pages

Select type: Hardcover


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Faced with increasing numbers of children who are difficult to manage and the pervasive presence of high stakes testing, many teachers feel frustrated and compelled to reduce their attention to building relationships with and among their students and their focus on social and ethical development. In Learning to Trust, an educational psychologist and a classroom teacher collaborate to demonstrate through an in-depth case study of an inner-city classroom the power and importance of caring, trusting relationships for fostering children's academic growth as well as their social and ethical development.
Marilyn Watson explains and describes the ups and downs of Laura Ecken's classroom through the lens of attachment theory, while Laura describes in vivid detail the ongoing life of her classroom, revealing throughout her challenges, thoughts, fears, failures and successes. Together they explore a fundamentally new approach to classroom management and present many practical strategies for helping all children develop the social and emotional skills needed to live harmonious and productive lives, the self confidence and curiosity to invest wholeheartedly in learning, and the empathy and moral understanding to be caring and responsible young people.
Foreword (Alfie Kohn).



Introduction: A Classroom Where Everyone Belongs.

PART ONE: Building Trust.

1. Building the Teacher-Student Relationship.

2. Teaching Children How to Be Friends.

3. Building the Community.

PART TWO: Managing the Classroom.

4. Meeting Students’ Needs for Competence and Autonomy.

5. Managing Mistakes and Misbehavior: Taking a Teaching Stance.

6. Managing Mistakes and Misbehavior: When Teaching and Reminding Aren’t Enough.

7. Competition in the Classroom.

PART THREE: Putting It All Together.

8. Showing Students How to Compose a Life.

9. Finding the Conditions for Success.

Epilogue: Bringing It Back Home.

Afterword (Laura Ecken).

Appendix 1: Attachment Theory: A New Way of Looking at Children.

Appendix 2: Annotated List of Resources.


About the Authors.


  • Test new QA1 environment SMS/S-USERS 2-3 days
  • Carefully upgrade GEMINI (environment and components) SMS 2 – 3 days
  • Adjust directories, and other implementations/changes from QA1 etc. SMS/HOSTING  1 - 2 days
""This is a wonderful resource for teachers on how to change classrooms by sharing developmental discipline in step-by-step process."" (Childhood Education; Winter 2004/05)

""If you read one book on discipline during your teaching career, this should be the one."" (Rethinking Schools, Fall 2003)

""...presents a strong case for an alternative approaching utilizing Developmental Discipline."" (Education Review, 10/2/03)

""...I've attended workshops and read numerous articles...but nothing has inspired me as much as Marilyn Watson's new book..."" (Rethinking Schools Online, Winter 2003)

""Learning to Trust should be required reading for any elementary or secondary school teacher..."" (Education Review, 12/2/03)