Research Using CosmoKidz continues...
In cooperation with the Kettering Foundation, the CMM Institute worked at Mountain Vista School in Oracle, Arizona for a second year in 2014-2015 on a research project involving all kindergarten through second grade classes. The purpose of the research is to describe and analyze changes in the children's abilities to engage in "cosmopolitan communication" through the use of CosmoKidz and SOAR activities. We are defining cosmopolitan communication as the ability of children to empathize with others, handle conflicts in productive ways, connect with diverse children who are not like them, manage their strong emotions, and name their own feelings and emotions. SOARing behavior includes, Sense what's around you; Open your hands to help others; Act with Kindness; Respect other people. The children are also engaging in "modified deliberations" on topics related to their social worlds. The research will continue this academic year (2015-2016)." Click here to read the summary of the 2014-2015 research
From John Inman — Interested in working with me on CosmoKidz? If so, read on…
With the unrelenting pressure to eradicate inquiry, dialogue, problem solving, and critical thinking from our schools as they try to comply with legislative demands for creating children who know the “one right answer” and are able to select it on a bubble test, CosmoKidz has emerged as a beckon of hope for k-2 grades. Would we expect less from a social and emotional learning (SEL) solution based on CMM? I think not.
For those of you in the CMM community who have not gotten excited about CosmoKidz, I am reaching out to ask you to get excited. CosmoKidz is the first foray into helping schools make healthy social worlds. Kim explains to us that we are trying to improve children's abilities to engage in "cosmopolitan communication" through the use of CosmoKidz and SOAR activities. We are defining cosmopolitan communication as the ability of children to empathize with others, handle conflicts in productive ways, connect with diverse children who are not like them, manage their strong emotions, and name their own feelings and emotions. SOARing behavior includes, Sense what's around you; Open your hands to help others; Act with Kindness; Respect other people. The children are also engaging in "modified deliberations" on topics related to their social worlds.
This is in and of itself a noble cause. However, this is only the beginning. As teachers engage in 10 minute daily conversations with their students, they too develop cosmopolitan communication. Students take home their new communication capabilities and transform their relationships with their family. Then with the help of CMM professionals, that is us folks, we can help bring cosmopolitan communication to the whole school social system. We have envisioned new Cosmo solutions developed in partnership with teachers in 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 grades. And with a CosmoLeader solution, workshop and consulting based, for the adults in the building, we can transform schools from the traditional top down, command and control cultures, to cultures based on cosmopolitan communication. This is downright exciting.
The SEL field is a crowded one. My research indicated that there are no less than 250 SEL solutions in the market, 25 of which have the majority of the schools using SEL. So why would we enter such a crowded field? CMM is the answer. We have such a powerful story to tell to an industry in serious need of help. The last 15 years have been challenging to students, teachers, and school systems. As CosmoKidz is not curriculum, is not prescriptive, is inexpensive (some solutions are $150 per student per year, CosmoKidz is only $70 at list and $50 for the pair of puppets per classroom) and develops inquiry, dialogue, problem solving, and critical thinking skills in children, it is the right solution at the right time to help children thrive in the 21st century.
Why did I get involved? Well if the above is not enough, I just finished my doctorate in education from Fielding and my dream is to help transform school systems into those communities can be proud of. This work can make a tremendous difference in children’s lives and that is what I hope to do with the rest of my career.
So where do we go from here? We need to develop our presence in the market, find schools or school districts interested in our solutions, find funding to help us reach out and make the connections and deliver the solutions, and we need a few passionate CMM folks who will help write grants, create strategies, and help implement going to market. Katrina Rogers at Fielding is happy to support our work, but first we need a team to do the work to be supported. My ask to you is who would be willing to work with me to move CosmoKidz forward? Do you have connections with foundations or corporations willing to grant for such a project? Do you have expertise in building a new organization in this space or in any space? Do you have a passion for making a difference in children’s lives? And would you like to help create a field of CMM practice in school systems for ourselves and fellow CMM practitioners? Would you like to help create collateral materials? A web page? And of course do you have contacts in school districts where we might introduce CosmoKidz? A lot of asks, but we are at a critical stage where we really can use some help.
If you are interested in this work, please reach out to Kim, Marit or me, John Inman, and let’s see where we can go from here.
John Inman Ed.D., M.A., Ed.M., DDPE
Creating educational solutions where learners
develop individual gifts and realize their potential
Future Chapter about CosmoKidz in the National Communication Association's Book Series
John Chetro-Szivos, Marit Eikaas Haavimb, and Kim Pearce have just had their proposal for a chapter about CosmoKidz accepted in the Children's Communication Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is edited by Tom Socha and Narissra Punyanunt-Carter and should be available in late 2016 or early 2017.
More articles from the 2015 Newsletter