What Does It Mean to Be Safe? by Rana DiOrio (digital version):
Building a Psychologically Safe Workplace:
A Flicker of Hope by Julia Cook:
Access the student reflection APP which provides an opportunity for students and teachers to reflect and respond to topic-specific prompts.
Together, safety and physiological needs make up the “basic needs” for human survival.
Physical safety includes knowing that your basic needs are being met and that you are not in physical harm or danger.
Psychological safety is a shared belief that you can express ideas, opinions, and feelings without being punished, embarrassed, or made fun of. A psychologically safe environment is a place where people are comfortable expressing and being themselves and are willing to take risks to learn and grow.
Psychological safety starts with having conversations about what it means and why it is important. The lesson today is all about setting the stage for psychological safety in the classroom. This lesson is also about being proactive and inviting students to participate. “What are you seeing? What concerns do you have?” It is important that all students feel like they can participate. It is important that the norms or commitments to each other are in place so that everyone can participate. It is critical that the teacher responds in a forward-thinking manner.
Please watch this TEDx video (Edmondson) while you prepare to teach this lesson. She has 7 statements, which have been slightly altered to include classroom-oriented language. They are as follows:
Activity 1: (25 minutes) PHYSICAL & PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY T-CHART
Watch the video of the book, “What Does It Mean To Be Safe?” Display the diagram of Maslow’s Hierarchy. Point out the “Safety” layer on the pyramid. Explain that safety, along with physiological needs, makes up the basic needs for human survival. Read the definitions of “physical safety” and “psychological safety”:
Pass out the T-chart and invite students to write the definitions in their own words for each corresponding section. Invite students to pair-share their definitions with a partner.
Further explore the difference between physical and psychological safety by passing out the scenario cards and having students sort them into the 4 groups on their T-charts (examples and non-examples of physical and psychological safety). Have students cut them apart. Model a few examples for the whole class. Then have the students work together in pairs to sort through the scenarios. Once they are sure of their placement, have them glue them into the corresponding sections on their T-chart.
Activity 2: (15 minutes) NON-EXAMPLES TO GOOD EXAMPLES
Have students take the non-examples from both physical and psychological safety and rewrite them to be good examples. Invite groups to share with the class. Have a discussion:
Activity 3: (10 minutes) SAFETY QUESTIONNAIRE
Students will be taking the Edmondson Safety Questionnaire. Feel free to print off or create a digital copy that students take online. Remind students to think about each statement and respond honestly. You may choose to have the questionnaire be anonymous so that students feel more comfortable being honest. Collect when completed. Use the questionnaire responses to reflect on your classroom culture, and how you can change it to help students feel more safe.
Activity 4: (40 minutes) SCHOOL SAFETY POSTER WALK
Prep for this activity by writing one of the discussion prompts listed below at the top of each chart paper or butcher paper. Pin, tape, or stick these up around the room. Divide students up into 5 groups, and give each group 1 marker (preferably a different color for each group).
Explain that each group will start at one of the posters, and will be given 3 minutes to discuss and answer the question at the top of the paper. Instruct students to take turns being the scribe at each poster. After 3 minutes are up, students will rotate to the next poster. Challenge them to contribute something different than what has already been written. Continue rotating until each group has written on each poster.
Once the rotations have finished, have each group share the responses written on the poster they ended at.
Based on the student suggestions, divide the class up into groups and have each group take a suggestion and further explore ideas that you can implement that create physical and psychological safety. Invite students to explore different areas at the school and brainstorm solutions (lunchroom, bathrooms, playground, drop off/pick up, etc.).
Activity 5: (45 minutes) PRESENTATIONS ON SAFETY
Share the picture from New York City and discuss. Have a discussion:
Invite each group to create a digital presentation (video, visual, written) to promote safety in your classroom and at the school. Invite students to meet with the principal or other interested administrators and share their ideas.