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How Social Connection Can Heal, Empower, and Educate Kids

  • Dustin Bindreiff - Special Education Coordinator, Nevada County Superintendent of Schools

January 2023 | 184 pages | Corwin

Develop a sense of safety and connection in our youth

Research shows that a sense of belonging has a profound effect on the physical, mental, and social well-being of children and adolescents. Yet current events, including the decline of community and rising tensions over racial and economic inequalities, have endangered that fragile and critical component—and nowhere is this felt more acutely than in schools.

In Belonging, the author, who has spent decades working with the most challenging students, provides research-based strategies for strengthening relationships, building inclusive classrooms, developing trust, and fostering a sense of psychological safety. Readers will find

  • Vignettes demonstrating how belonging applies to a variety of learning contexts
  • Research around mindsets, the development of empathy, and community building
  • Sections dedicated to equity and inclusion
  • Strategies teachers can directly apply in their classrooms

With his deep knowledge of education, behavior, and neuroscience, Dustin Bindreiff offers a fresh look at the troubling issues our students face and provides practical strategies for building a more hopeful future.

Chapter 1: Belonging, A Basic Need
Chapter 2: The Decline of Community
Chapter 3: Competition and Rivalries
Chapter 4: The Underdogs, Outcast, and Marginalized
Chapter 5: Psychological Safety
Chapter 6: The Warm Demanding Teaching Style
Chapter 7: Belonging and Mindset
Chapter 8: Teacher Mindsets and Empathy
Chapter 9: Creating Data Driven Communities

“I so enjoyed reading this book. It helped me rethink the struggles I am observing in students as we return to school during and following the pandemic. We know kids need connection and belonging and quality relationships to learn, but when we are in survival mode ourselves, it can be hard to remember. This book explains it all and provides helpful examples and research to support what we know is good for our students and ourselves. I can’t wait to share it with colleagues and put the ideas presented here into practice.”

Heidi Guadagni
Learning Specialist, West Linn-Wilsonville School District, OR

Dustin Bindreiff

Dr.  Dustin Bindreiff has worked at every level of education beginning his career as a teacher’s aide to currently providing technical assistance to schools for special education services, equity and social emotional learning.  Working with underserved students for more than twenty years gave Dr. Bindreiff firsthand experience on the rising need for behavioral and mental health supports for kids throughout education.   These experiences have been paired with extensive research into equity, mental health, neuroscience, and building systems of supports.  This blend of research and practice has allowed him to help... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781071876190