Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New Teaching Styles: Self Esteem vs. Embarrassment

We begin today by going over to the west coast. There, a principal of a school has come up with a new method of trying to discipline his students. If the kids are being idiots, he tells them that they are idiots. If they do stupid things in class, they will be summarily embarrassed. In his view, self esteem needs to be put aside and discipline restored in the classroom. Student response to this program is rather optomistic. Students feel the need to try and make sure that they do their best and not get onto the principal's radar screen. However, this whole system is not one sided. In fact, the principal has done a quid pro quo with the students. If a student has perfect attendance, the principal will pay them with hard cash right out of his pocket. To date, 80% of his 8th grade class is well on their way to earning a hundred dollars each.

In looking at this, as a teacher I got to admit I wish I could do this. There ARE some students who need to be told exactly what kind fo people they are. If it shames them, good. There is an obvious character flaw that needs to be addressed and worked upon. While parents who are critics of this program point out that teachers should not be bullies in the classroom, I can't help but point out to parents that students aren't meant to be a bunch of heathens who think it is their duty to challenge everything in the classroom and try to make themselves the centerof attention.

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