Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Do we need a rule that says "Don't throw dead fish at people?"

People or programs?  https://twitter.com/ToddWhitaker agrees to weigh decisions for people's benefit and not for the sake of the rules.  Do we serve the rules or do the rules serve us? 

 What is this?  Why is it important to us?

The book Teaching with Love and Logic aligns with this question and alludes to the fact that procedures and programs are established to outline the way citizens interact in a culture.  The classroom has it's own culture, as does the school.

What does it mean to say "love and logic?"

In the middle of this book there is an invitation for a paradigm shift, not to force a method but to reveal a clear perspective on the differences of interpretation.  A discussion on the principle of discipline or the system of discipline.  These two schools of thought demonstrate the wide variety in addressing behaviors. 

Building a system of discipline is wonderful way to help students learn boundaries.  If students co-design the plan, they will possess far more ownership due to their active creator status.  This fosters future dialog in consequences and punishment but leaves little room for interpretation or extenuating circumstances.  But there are lots of rules.  Many rules and more opportunities to break them, as well as keep track of them.

Do not walk on the grass.   Do not run in the halls. Do not...  Do not...  Do not...


Instead of having a rule for everything, a principles system limits the specific rules, but infers that we know what we should do but often do the opposite.  Since there is no way to really have a rule for everything, this system guides behavior by using mutually agreeable principles to establish the way we should act as well as consequences.  (This quick essay will never fully describe the depth of difference between the two perspectives, but articulation helps solidify the ideas.)

The principles system may have a very limited number of rules, like:

Treat others how you want to be treated.
Do what you want, as long as it doesn't bother anybody else.

This does not eliminate the need for procedures!  In fact methods and operations become easier to establish once the concept of equitable treatment for all is truly understood.

Operating inside a principled system is a wonderful way to empower students, give them ownership over their behavior and apply the principle that we serve children best by helping them change their own behavior and not coercing or forcing them to change.

The arch is important to this lesson because it was built from the ground up, the north and south legs, at the same time, but when they got to the top, they did not exactly align!  http://tinyurl.com/9j5q46w The builders, engineers and firemen had to adjust things, use contracting temperature differences of the south side, which got hot and expanded and the north side that stayed in the shadows. 

How do we as educators get things to fit, if they just don't quite fit together?  How do we get our friends to fit, if they just don't quite get things together?  We massage, mold, shape, using our relationships sharing experiences together.  Once we can win the right to influence others, we have done the first step in establishing a true learning and dynamic environment where students feel comfortable enough to take an educational risk.

Teaching with Love and Logic, Taking control of the classroom
Jim Fay and David Funk 

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