I was utterly inspired when I was first introduced to the language of choice. The instruction goes, that when telling a student off, you give them a choice. You either carry on misbehaving, and this will happen. That’s a bad choice. Or, you could behave well, and this will happen. That’s a good choice.
I liked it because it let’s students know that they are choosing punishments, and that they don’t have to. It puts responsibility for their behaviour and what happens to them at their own door.
I think it’s bullshit because everybody in the whole world knows that the responsibility for their behaviour lies at the teacher’s door. If the student continues to make the bad choices, it’s the teacher who will get it in the neck for not being able to manage the behaviour properly. Students know this.
Obviously, a student is at all times responsible for their own behaviour, because that choice thing is true: it is ultimately their decision whether they behave or not. So why punish teachers by saying they are poor managers of behaviour? Are they not just in charge of a group of students who refuse to make the good choice? It is completely contradictory.
Those who are the best at behaviour management are those who make the students think they have no choice at all. Those who don’t pander to students egos by giving them an array of choices: you do it this way, because I’m the teacher and I’m the responsible one.
Do you feel in control of the choices your students are making?
Read the full series: Top Ten Things That Are Bullshit In Teaching
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