Non-Fiction Review for Teachers: Safe Within These Walls


Safe Within These Walls by Andra Medea M.A.

Paperback: 176 pages

Publisher: Capstone Classroom (December 1, 2013)

Series: None

Genre: Non-Fiction (Adult)

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book:

In the wake of school tragedies and the growing concern about
creating safe environments for children, teachers, parents, and school
personnel, this resource provides practical techniques and guidelines
for de-escalating aggression with insight and finesse rather than with
force. Andra Medea, an instructor in conflict management and nationally
recognized expert, developed the Virtual Tranquilizer, a set of
non-contact de-escalation techniques used by psychiatric staff, school
administrators, and even court personnel. In this readily accessible
book, she explains how to manage aggression from tantrums to mental
health issues and school shootings, using anecdotes, research-informed
techniques, and, at times, humor. Readers will find the concrete tools
they need to create a positive climate in which they recognize signs of
building aggression and use practical techniques to head it off:
demonstrating that the best way to handle violence is to keep it from
happening in the first place.

• Strategies for de-escalating aggression and violence
• Specific techniques with anecdotes and examples that bring those techniques to life
• Research-informed practices in conflict management from an expert in the field

Ideal For:
• Teachers, administrators, counselors, security personnel, support staff
• Creating a safe climate with actions and words, not just external security
• Crafting a blueprint that sets the stage for entire schools and districts to be safe zones where all can thrive

Find the Book:

About the Author:

Andra Medea is the developer of the Virtual Tranquilizer®, a
de-escalation system that’s been implemented for psychiatric staff,
child protection workers, college staff, veterans, judges and lawyers.
She has taught conflict management at Northwestern University and the
University of Chicago, and is the author of Conflict Unraveled. Andra
was raised in a volatile part of Chicago, where she experienced school
violence first hand. She translated that knowledge to a successful
system of violence prevention and self-defense which was taught to over
20,000 students. She holds a M.A. with a concentration in conflict
management from DePaul University.


My Thoughts:

I am really glad there is a resource like this available for teachers.
This book helps teachers learn how to diffuse situations at school
before they get out of hand. Not only can problems be intercepted, but
the methods in this book can help kids learn to keep their emotions in
check. This is a very important skill, especially with all the
frightening things that have happened in schools recently.

I found a lot of the methods to be very interesting. I could suddenly
recognize why some teachers are effective at keeping control in their
classrooms while others are not.

Although this book is intended for teachers, I found it useful as a
parent as well. I applied several of the methods talked about in the
book when my kids started fighting. I also used the advice to help in
the Sunday School class for 5 year old kids that I teach. I was very
impressed with it’s effectiveness.

Some of the book is repetitive, and other things may have been a
stretch, but overall I think the advice is sound. It’s all about
creating a safe, welcoming environment for children to learn in.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Reply
    Andra Medea
    January 6, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Would appreciate hearing how you used advice from Safe Within These Walls to help with a Sunday school class of 5 year-olds. Also, how you used tips for your own kids. Could you please say more? Thank you!

    • Reply
      January 7, 2014 at 3:01 am

      The body language section was extremely helpful for the Sunday School class. Using my lower voice register worked like a charm! The kids pay attention better and are more willing to cooperate. For my own kids, the advice about flooding, and how to avoid it in myself, as well as recognize the signs of flooding in my kids and redirect their attention to other things has been very helpful.

  • Reply
    Andra Medea
    January 8, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Interesting that a group of five year-olds noticeably paid attention better when you lowered your voice register. And yes, dealing with flooding can make all the difference with your own kids. You know, it really helps to hear what happens as readers try techniques in real life. Thanks for taking the time to explain. Very much appreciated! If you have more adventures, please let me know.

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