"Bureaucratic solutions to problems of practice will always fail because effective teaching is not routine, students are not passive, and questions of practice are not simple, predictable, or standardized." —Linda Darling-Hammond from her award winning book, The Right to Learn
W. Edwards Deming, the guru of quality, said, "What is most important cannot be measured. The variables are too great."
Educational theorists have attempted to bring the educational profession to the same status as professionals in the physical and biological sciences. This is exemplified by using the same criteria for teaching as is used in the physical sciences. For example, in order for a new project to be federally funded, a pre and post or an experimental and control approach is required.
As you read the following recent communication to me, reflect on how it would fit into the "scientific" mode:
Greetings from Benchmark School in Phoenix!
I have been using your program for over 5 years now and am still amazed at how wonderful it is. This year I was given the tough class—the class that no teacher has ever been able to control.
It was a tough go at first. This particular group of children has had control of their teachers for years. I am happy to say that we are now in control. My teaching partner (not familiar with your program) thought that we were putting in so much effort and time at the start of the year to teach procedures and the levels, but the students were still terrible. I promised her that if she stuck with it and stayed consistent that they would come around, and I am proud to say they have.
My partner is amazed at how we spend so much time teaching now and not disciplining. We have also heard from parents of students who always made good choices that this year was a great year because the other kids don’t do what they have always have done.
Their children love coming to school because I am not punishing the entire class for the poor choices of the other students. I hold each person accountable for his/her own behavior.
Another thing I wanted to share with you is how the parents reacted at conferences. Many of the parents shared that their child was now acting more responsibly at home—especially getting home assignments done without fights.
I hear this every year and I believe that because the students are being guided to be more responsible citizens at school that they are carrying it into their lives at home.
Thank you again,
Wendy Brady, Benchmark School, Phoenix, AZ
How do you measure or quantify success such as this?
Bill Page, a contributor to the Gazette, has a set of DVD’s that could substitute for any college course designed to prepare prospective teachers for the classroom, K-12. If you were to view them (well worth the small investment) and ask yourself how can this artistry of teaching be quantified, you would be hard pressed to create a solution.
Hopefully, the new United States 111th Congress and the new U.S. President’s administration will lead us down a path that will bring much needed change. The first step in this direction would be to recognize the art of teaching by using an appropriate yardstick.
His approach is the only system that is proactive, totally noncoercive, and does not use external manipulatives or threats. He INDUCES students to WANT to act responsibly and WANT to put forth effort to learn.
His book, "Discipline without Stress® Punishments or Rewards - How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning" is used in schools, universities, and homes around the world. The book clearly and concisely demonstrates how external approaches of relying on rules, imposing consequences, rewarding students for appropriate behavior, and punishing students to make them obey are all counterproductive. His approach reduces stress and is more effective than traditional approaches that focus on obedience because obedience does not create desire.
A prime reason that the approach is the fastest growing discipline and learning system in the country and is taught in so many universities is that it teaches students to understand differences between internal and external motivation. A second reason is that the focus is on promoting responsibility; obedience then follows as a natural by-product. A third reason is that the system separates the deed from the doer, the act from the actor, a good kid from irresponsible behavior, thereby eliminating the natural tendency for a student to self-defend.
He offers the following resources to learn and support his approach:
http://www.marvinmarshall.com This is the foundational site that links to the teaching model, shares how a school can conduct its own in-house staff development, and contains free information for implementation. For a quick understanding of his approach, link to "THE HIERARCHY" and "IMPULSE MANAGEMENT."
http://www.disciplinewithoutstress.com This is the website for the best-selling book on discipline and learning. Three sections of the book are online: Classroom Meetings, Collaboration for Quality Learning, and Reducing Perfectionism.
http://www.AboutDiscipline.com explains reasons that external approaches - such as rewarding appropriate behavior, telling students what to do, and punishing them if they don’t - are not used to promote responsible behavior.