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Why and How to Let Students Decide By Alfie Kohn The essence of the demand for freedom is the need of conditions which will enable an individual to make his own special contribution to a group interest, and to partake of its activities in such ways that social guidance shall be a matter of his own mental attitude, and not a mere authoritative dictation of his acts.
But what if, hypothetically speaking, this syndrome also affected students? Teachers around the country to whom I have put this question immediately suggest such symptoms as disengagement and apathy — or, conversely, thoughtlessness and aggression.
Either tuning out or acting out might signal that a student was burning out. In both cases, he or she would presumably just go through the motions of learning, handing in uninspired work and counting the minutes or days until freedom. Of course, no sooner is this sketch of a hypothetical student begun than we recognize it as a depiction of real life.
The fact is that students act this way every day. But now let us ask what we know from research and experience in the workplace about the cause of burnout.
The best predictor, it turns out, is not too much work, too little time, or too little compensation. Rather, it is powerlessness — a lack of control over what one is doing.
Combine that fact with the premise that there is no minimum age for burnout, and the conclusion that emerges is this: The mystery, really, is not that so many students are indifferent about what they have to do in school but that any of them are not.
To be sure, there is nothing new about the idea that students should be able to participate, individually and collectively, in making decisions. This conviction has long played a role in schools designated as progressive, democratic, open, free, experimental, or alternative; in educational philosophies called developmental, constructivist, holistic, or learner-centered; in specific innovations such as whole-language learning, discovery-based science, or authentic assessment; and in the daily practice of teachers whose natural instinct is to treat children with respect.
But if the concept is not exactly novel, neither do we usually take the time to tease this element out of various traditions and examine it in its own right. Why is it so important that children have a chance to make decisions about their learning?
How might this opportunity be provided with regard to academic matters as well as other aspects of school life? Finally, what barriers might account for the fact that students so rarely feel a sense of self-determination today?
A close inspection of these issues will reveal that the question of choice is both more complex and more compelling than many educators seem to assume. Several years ago, a group of teachers from Florida traveled to what was then the USSR to exchange information and ideas with their Russian-speaking counterparts.
What the Soviet teachers most wanted from their guests was guidance on setting up and running democratic schools. Their questions on this topic were based on the assumption that a country like the United States, so committed to the idea of democracy, surely must involve children in decision-making processes from their earliest years.
The irony is enough to make us wince. As one survey of American schools after another has confirmed, students are rarely invited to become active participants in their own education.DEVELOPING AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE EXPERIENCES OF PARENTS WHOSE CHILD HAS COME OUT OF THE CLOSET. By: Jan C.
Kircher, Ph.D. and April Ahlijah, MSW LGBT persons have been denied equal rights including not being able to marry and not being able to Several common themes emerged during the data analysis. Common themes included initial. Oct 17, · Bullying: What Schools, Parents and Students Can Do. • Post classroom signs prohibiting bullying and listing the consequences.
Be calm and validate what is being said. Remind your child. Choices for Children Why and How to Let Students Decide. By Alfie Kohn. The essence of the demand for freedom is the need of conditions which will enable an individual to make his own special contribution to a group interest, and to partake of its activities in such ways that social guidance shall be a matter of his own mental attitude, and not a mere authoritative dictation of his acts.
educational psychologists in the UK, at a school for children identified as having social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties. The project focused on how teachers use con- Alexander () proposed that classroom talk should be used to engage construc-tively with children’s thinking and ideas, probing understanding across curricular.
This article provides an overview of factors to consider in creating positive school experiences for students with disabilities and suggestions for intervention efforts.
Individuals with disabilities often are stigmatized, encountering attitudinal and physical barriers both in work and in daily life. Political analysis that you won't find anywhere else. show/in-school-babies-teach-older-children-empathy.
Email; to stop bullying — bringing infants into the classroom to demonstrate the.