Circle of Courage
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The Circle of Courage is a model of positive youth development based on the principles of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity. The model integrates the cultural wisdom of tribal peoples and findings of modern youth development research.
The Circle of Courage model portrays four growth needs of all children: Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity. This philosophy emerged from collaboration of Martin Brokenleg, a professor of Native American Studies, and Larry Brendtro, a professor in children's behavior disorders. They studied how traditional indigenous cultures were able to rear respectful, responsible children without resorting to coercive discipline. The Circle of Courage is illustrated as a medicine wheel with four directions.
The model was adopted to youth services in South Africa during the administration of Nelson Mandela under leadership of Minister Geraldine Moloketi and Lesley du Toit. This led in 2005 to the Response Ability Pathways (RAP) curriculum which provides training on applying the Circle of Courage to all who work with youth.
The Circle of Courage provides the philosophical foundation for the work of Reclaiming Youth International (RYI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit company dedicated to helping adults better serve children and youth who are in emotional pain from conflict in the family, school, community, peer groups or with self.
Annotated bibliography: Related publications
Reclaiming Youth at Risk by Larry Brendtro, Martin Brokenleg, & Steve Van Bockern. An overview of the Circle of Courage model which applies Native American principles of child rearing to education, treatment, and youth development.
Reclaiming Children and Youth journal, edited by Larry Brendtro, Nicholas Long, & Martin Mitchell (Published quarterly from 1994 to present). Includes topical issues on a full range of strength-based interventions for children experiencing emotional and behavioral problems. Published by Circle of Courage Institute at Starr Commonwealth, Sioux Falls, SD.
Positive Peer Culture: A Selected Bibliography edited by George Giacobbe, Elaine Traynelis-Yurek, Larry Powell, & Erik Laursen. Summarizes research on peer helping grounded in Circle of Courage principles of attachment, achievement, autonomy, and altruism.
The EQUIP Program by John Gibbs, Granville Potter, & Arnold Goldstein. Integrates Positive Peer Culture with research on Aggression Replacement Training.
Strength-Based Strategies for Children and Youth: An Annotated Bibliography edited by George Giacobbe, Elaine Traynelis-Yurek, & Erik Laursen. Reviews research on Positive Peer Culture, teamwork approaches, and cognitive restructuring.
Reclaiming Our Prodigal Sons and Daughters by Scott Larson & Larry Brendtro. Applies Circle of Courage principles to faith-based organizations and those concerned with spiritual development of youth.
Restructuring for Caring and Effective Education by Richard Villa & Jacqueline Thousand. A text on the paradigm shift and strategies for creating inclusive schools and classrooms.
Schools with Spirit: Nurturing the Inner Lives of Children and Teachers edited by Linda Lantieri. Discusses Circle of Courage values as central to social and emotional learning in this exposition on transforming schools.
Mentoring for Talent Development edited by Ken McCluskey & Annabelle Mays. Integrates concepts from gifted education, creativity, and mentoring marginalized young people.
Troubled Children and Youth: Turning Problems into Opportunities by Larry Brendtro & Mary Shahbazian. Presents research based strategies for using crisis as opportunity and cultivating strengths in young people.
Response Ability Pathways: Restoring Bonds of Respect by Larry Brendtro & Lesley du Toit with foreword by Martin Brokenleg. This text accompanies RAP training which provides practical training on connecting with youth in conflict, clarifying problems and challenges, and restoring harmony.
Kinder stärken Kinder [Children helping children] by Gunther Opp & Nicola Unger. Applies strength-based principles for building positive peer cultures to emotionally troubled students.
Conflict in the Classroom: Positive Staff Support for Troubled Students by Nicholas Long, William Morse, Frank Fescer, and Ruth Newman. An exhaustive compendium of articles on all aspects of building safe and reclaiming schools.
Connecting with Kids in Conflict: A Life Space Legacy by William C. Morse. Historical perspectives and principles by a pioneer in the education and treatment of troubled children, William C. Morse [1915-2008] of the University of Michigan.
Deep Brain Learning: Pathways to Potential with Challenging Youth by Larry Brendtro, Martin Mitchell, & Herm McCall. Identifies evidence-based principles for effective interventions with challenging children and youth through a consilience of neuroscience, positive psychology, practice wisdom, and expertise of children and families.
Kündenorientierung-Partizipation-Respekt [Client focused-participation-respect] edited by Karen Sanders & Michael Bock. Highlights new directions in youth work including Positive Peer Culture and RAP models.
Classroom Management: Engaging Students in Learning by Tim McDonald. Develops a "Positive Learning Framework" based on Circle of Courage principles with strategies for developing environments where students can flourish.
TherapyWise: Creating Courage from Within by Robert Foltz (in press). The essential guide for teens in therapy (and their parents) for getting most out of treatment with psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors.
- http://www.circleofcourageinstitute.org/content/our-history, retrieved July 13, 2010
- Brendtro, L., Brokenleg, M., Van Bockern, S. (1990, 2002). Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future. Solution Tree, Bloomington, IN.
- Giacobe, G., Traynelis-Yurek, E., Powell, L., Laursen, E. (1994) Positive Peer Culture: A Selected Bibliography. National Association of Peer Group Agencies, Richmond, VA.
- Gibbs, J., Potter, G., Goldstein, A. (1995) The EQUIP Program. Research Press, Champaign, IL.
- Giacobbe, G., Trayelis-Yurek, E., Laursen, E., (1999) Strength-Based Strategies for Children and Youth: An Annotated Bibliography. National Association of Peer Group Agencies, Richmond, VA.
- Brendtro, L., Larson, S., Reclaiming Our Prodigal Sons and Daughters. (2000) Solution Tree, Bloomington, IN.
- Villa, R, Thousand, J., (2000) Restructuring for Caring and Effective Education. Paul H. Brookes, Baltimore, MD.
- Lantieri, L. (2001) Schools with Spirit: Nurturing the Inner Lives of Children and Teachers. Beacon Press, Boston, MA.
- McCluskey, K., Mays, A. (2003) Mentoring for Talent Development. Reclaiming Youth International, Sioux Falls, SD.
- Brendtro, L, Shahbazian, M. (2004) Troubled Children and Youth: Turning Problems into Opportunities. Research Press, Champaign, IL.
- Seita, J., Brendtro, L (2005) Kids Who Outwit Adults. Solution Tree, Bloomington, IN.
- Brendtro, L., Ness, A., Mitchell, M. (2005) No Disposable Kids. Solution Tree, Bloomington, IN.
- Brendtro, L., du Toit, L., (2005) Response Ability Pathways: Restoring Bonds of Respect. Claremont, South Africa: Pretext Publishers
- Opp, G., Unger, N. (2006) Kinder stärken Kinder. Körber-Stiftung, Hamburg, Germany.
- Brendtro, L., Larson, S. (2006) The Resilience Revolution. Solution Tree, Bloomington, IN.
- Long, N., Morse, W., Fescer, F., Newman, R. (2007, 6th ed.) Conflict in the Classroom: Positive Staff Support for Troubled Students. Pro-Ed, Austin, Texas.
- Morse, W. (2008) Connecting with Kids in Conflict: A Life Space Legacy. Reclaiming Children and Youth and Starr Commonwealth, Sioux Falls, SD.
- Brendtro, L., Mitchell, M., McCall, H. (2009) Deep Brain Learning: Pathways to Potential with Challenging Youth. Circle of Courage Institute at Starr Commonwealth, Albion, MI.
- Sanders, K., Bock, M. (2009) Kündenorientierung-Partizipation-Respekt. VS fur Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden, Germany.
- McDonald, T. (2010) Classroom Management: Engaging Students in Learning. Oxford University Press, Melbourne, Australia.
- Foltz, R. (in press) TherapyWise: Creating Courage from Within. Circle of Courage Institute at Starr Commonwealth, Albion, Michigan.