Real Talk for Real Teachers with Dr. Becky Bailey and special guest Joy Winchester
In 1996, Dr. Bailey set out to help teachers and children from her guest bedroom. Even with no strategy and no marketing, word spread about the transformational results. One teacher found it helpful and told another teacher, who told more teachers, and the movement grew. 20 years later, Conscious Discipline has reached 47 countries and counting, inspiring more than 3.5 million educators and caregivers and impacting an estimated 17.4 million children.
This powerful grassroots approach has also swept the state of Alabama. Joy Winchester, who works for the state’s Department of Early Childhood Education, gained a reputation for having a special ability to work with children who had challenging behaviors. That “special ability” was Conscious Discipline. Two teachers reached out to Joy for help, and she began conducting a Conscious Discipline book study via e-mail. The teachers got excited, and so did their classroom coach. Word spread, and 300 teachers completed Joy’s book study in one year.
From there, Conscious Discipline gained the support of administrators, superintendents, and the Department of Early Childhood Education. It’s now implemented in preschool classrooms and with infants and toddlers statewide. Interest has also spread to K-12 and even to higher education. Colleges in Alabama are interested in blending Conscious Discipline with their teacher education curriculums, and the University of Alabama’s neurology department is studying Conscious Discipline’s impact in the state.
In this episode, Joy Winchester, the Director of the Office of Early Childhood Development and Professional Support, tells the story of how the buzz created by a simple book study led to Conscious Discipline implementation at the state level. She also shares Alabama’s innovative approach to bringing an entire state to Conscious Discipline fidelity.
- When Joy is asked how she’s changing an entire state, she responds, “Through teachers.” Teachers saw that Conscious Discipline was working with their students and it spread to administrators, then to superintendents, and then to the state level.
- Alabama started by training the most effective teachers who were willing to implement Conscious Discipline first. After a very thorough selection process, 76 teachers were selected as the starting point. These teachers could then serve as model classrooms and teach the powers and skills to others.
- Conscious Discipline Instructors have also coached in the 76 selected classrooms and are coaching Alabama’s classroom coaches as well.
- The coaches are working with teachers at their own pace and allowing them to become comfortable with one step at a time. After just one year, many teachers are already implementing to fidelity.
Steps For Tomorrow
- If Conscious Discipline is working for you and for your children or students, share it with others.
- For large-scale implementation, it’s most effective to start with the best teachers who are willing to learn and implement Conscious Discipline. These teachers will teach and model for others.
- Classroom coaching is another essential element of large-scale implementation. Classroom coaches should move at the teacher’s pace. Conscious Discipline is a transformational process that requires willingness and can’t be mandated.
- :21 What is Conscious Discipline?
- :38 Conscious Discipline as a grassroots approach
- 1:42 Background on implementation in Alabama
- 3:36 Introduction of guest Joy Winchester
- 4:24 Joy’s story of how the Conscious Discipline movement started and grew
- 10:12 Alabama’s approach to Conscious Discipline implementation
- 13:20 Classroom coaching in Alabama
- 15:27 How Joy got buy-in from state leaders
- 19:15 Why Conscious Discipline is needed in a changing world
- 21:42 Summary – How statewide change started with teacher buzz
Thank You for Listening
There are many ways you could have spent this time today, but you chose to spend it with me and I am grateful. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it with others via your favorite social media platforms.
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On behalf of our Conscious Discipline family, we wish you well.