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“You cannot teach self-control if you are totally in control


At a private psychiatric residential treatment center in the Texas hill country, a new child-care worker experienced a valuable lesson. It was lunchtime and he was responsible for walking his group of adolescent boys from the bunkhouse to the dining room. All of the boys began walking except one that sat on the ground and refused to go. So, the child-care worker pulled, pushed, and carried him most of the way. When he arrived at the door of the dining room, the head psychiatrist stood a few feet away laughing.

He asked the child-care worker to come over and said he had two words for him:“Forget them”. He went on to explain that if we did everything for these kids, they would never learn to take any responsibility . If the boy missed lunch, he missed lunch. If he lost the afternoon privileges, he lost the privileges. He further asked“Are you going to carry him around for the rest of his life?”He told the worker to just tell him that you expected him to be at lunch and walk away; just forget him. Later that week, he tried it, and the boy followed with the group (although the last one to go) to the dining room.

In most countries in the world, if students disrupt in class or school, they embarrass themselves and their family. In the U.S., the principal and the teacher are embarrassed. This is because the principal and the teacher in the U.S. are held responsible for student behavior . In other countries, the student is held responsible. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Most students are led to believe that if they obey adults, things will go well for them. So, if things do not go well for them, the adults are at fault. They get angry with principals and teachers (and parents) because they do as they were told and their lives are far from wonderful. Why should principals and teachers, who give their lives for their students, receive criticism and blame for trying to teach and assist them? The rewards for being totally in control are not worth it.

The goal of student self-control and being responsible is an impossible dream if students have no control or responsibility to work with. Many educators believe that students who turn all their homework in, come to school regularly, and get to class on time are being responsible. In truth, they are only obeying. Unless a student takes an active part in developing the program, choosing assignments, or anything else, he/she has no responsibility for it. Giving students new or increased control or freedom requires that they accept new or increased responsibility . Likewise, asking students to accept new or increased responsibility demands giving them more freedom or control . It is crucial to give both some control and some responsibility . There is no other way.

Although this is a valuable thing to do for students, it is also valuable for principals and teachers. They do not deserve the weight of all the responsibility and the criticism and blame that accompanies it. They deserve to have good days, despite some students having bad ones. Students have their youth and all the energy needed to work hard in school. The educators should not have to do all of the work. It is time to shift more of the work and responsibility to the students. It is time to enjoy the students and assist in their efforts at being responsible, solving problems, and making good decisions.

Practical application

This task is more of a change of perspective than much work to do. It is also a guide or philosophy for future planning and use. It is part of the rationale for quitting disciplining and just teach. Be sure to review the role you defined for yourself and the students. Ensure that responsibility was given to the student for learning, learning from mistakes, and taking responsibility for their actions.

It is also recommended that you review all of the procedures and expectations that you currently have in light of who is responsible? Who is doing all of the pulling, pushing, and carrying? Ensure that student responsibility is at the challenge level, not at a primary level. You will be surprised at how quickly the 80% of the students accept and meet higher levels of responsibility . And, after the vast majority of students are demonstrating this responsibility , they have a tremendous positive impact on the other 20% of the students.

If you review what we have said so far, we have asked that students accept responsibility for their actions, solving their own problems, and meeting higher positive expectations . In return, we have given them input into the process, a greater degree of choice in their decisions, and the freedom to make mistakes. We are also ending all punishments . I would say they have gained a lot for the responsibility that we are now requiring them to take.

Expected outcomes

  • Principal and teacher stress is greatly reduced.
  • Responsibility is placed where it is needed–on the student.
  • Student self-esteem is increased.
  • Students learn and mature at a faster rate.
  • A healthier and more natural relationship between the teacher and the students is formed.
  • Disruptive behavior is greatly reduced.

Questions & Answers

how can chip be made from sand
Eke Reply
are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
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Source:  OpenStax, A learning approach to school discipline: problem solving instead of punishing. OpenStax CNX. Sep 07, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10443/1.5
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