Is there a parallel between dogs and students?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Linguist92021, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jan 1, 2014

    Ok, I know it sounds mean and that's not how I mean it.
    But I just came across a website about dog training and I've learned so much about my dog, and then I started to think about my students, and found a lot of similarities. Not between the dogs and the students, but in how we train them, how to be accepted as a (pack)leader, as an authority figure, what and how to allow things.

    This is the website: www.dogbreedinfo.com

    For example:
    dominant behaviors that are not so obvious to everyone
    - claiming space: dog jumps on the couch or bed. he's claiming that space and shows the owner that he's the leader.
    student sitting not in his assigned seat, even though he knows he's supposed to. He looks innocent, but he's testing to see if he can get away with it. If he can, he just got a little bite out of the power-pie.

    - barking / growling. No dog should growl, that is a dominant behavior.
    This is similar to students back talking, or even talking out turn. Or even just blurting out answer without raising their hands, even though they know the rules. That is a way to assert dominance.

    - we're not supposed to lower ourselves to our dogs (as far as status goes). This will confuse the dog as to know who the leader is. Most dogs are born as followers, and it's natural for them to follow one leader (human or dog). Anytime we do something (usually out of love) that lowers us to their level, it confuses them.
    It's the same thing with students. When we feel comfortable, (especially with high school age this can happen) and talk to them like equals, we blur the lines. This confuses them, and they're not sure who the leader is anymore.

    I think I'm guilty of this. I have a good connection with the kids (my P said that is one of my strengths, that I connected with them right away), but sometimes I overshare. I don't share personal information that they shouldn't know about, but I do share about my past experiences when we have discussions (usually this is in small groups). I still think this is ok, but I need to make sure they know that I choose to do this to help them (learn from my experiences), and this only happens when I choose to, not because all of sudden I'm one of them. I still need to maintain that I'm the pack-leader.
    It's the same with dogs. If I lay down with him on the floor, he needs to know that I'm still the leader. He can only jump on the bed or couch with me when I invite him, and he must get down when I tell him to, otherwise he'll be jumping there all the time, thinking we're equal.

    Thoughts?
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I'm a firm believer in going with a metaphor that's persuasive, and in switching metaphors at points where the original metaphor stops bearing the load well. This sounds like a fine metaphor for you, Linguist.
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Like I said I don't mean that dogs and students are equal or the same by any means.
    But as I was reading all those articles how to train a dog, how to ensure that he knows I'm the leader and he's the follower, I couldn't help but think about how I need to make sure my students know I'm the leader.

    It made me remember certain instances when a student sat in a different seat than he was supposed to, innocently, and said something like "I'm gonna sit here today", or "can I sit there, I can see better" and I let him, because he was displaying the desired behavior. Only to see him misbehaving later, or realizing he sat there because he wanted to talk to a student how was sitting nearby. He was testing to see if he could dominate me, and getting away with something so small was a small victory and showed him that maybe he could get away with bigger things.

    All I'm saying is that I had a lot of these AHA moments reading this website. Not trying to degrade humans.
     
  5. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    I think you're onto something here, Linguist. Your posting also brings to mind that old High School favorite Lord of the Flies where the absence of accepted social restraints (and adults) allows the kids to become little more than pack animals.:eek:hmy:
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Reading about how to be a leader for a dog really shed some light on my problem 5th period. I wrote about them before, they were freshmen, more immature and needy than others, feeding off of each other, fearless because they were not on probation so no one could touch them, also hungry because it was almost lunch time. Very challenging group, and not just for me.
    I have learned a lot, but I never really took responsibility for them 100 %. (well, even my P said some things were out of my control).
    But now I realize I was not a strong / good leader.
    We had a high turnover in that class, some got locked up, some got dropped due to their behavior, so obviously we had some real problems there that not even my admin. could handle.
    But after every time a problem student left (or even just got sent out of the classroom) the problems continued.
    My P said "even if you remove a problem student, another will take his place for the spotlight and the others will feed off of him".

    And she's right, but now I fully understand it. Because I was not a strong enough leader for that group, a student always stepped up to lead.
    I'm not saying it was total chaos in that classroom, usually after 10 minutes everything was ok, but even then the rest of the time I still had students trying to goof off, seek attention, etc.

    This website (about the dog mentality) said that if the owner is weaker minded than the dog, the dog will assume the role of the leader, because there has to be a leader. And that's what happened. I wasn't strong enough.
     
  7. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    OMG. When I was director of a day care center, my secretary was an intelligent woman. She did not have much higher education, but was trained as a dog groomer. She said she watched the teachers and the children. She came to me one day and said that she had it all under control She just used her dog training knowledge and it worked well with children. It was the same as the teachers were doing, and it worked well.
     
  8. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    I understand exactly what you mean Linguist. When I was student teaching, I remember asking the classroom teacher how to keep my kids under control as well as she did.

    She said, "Children are a lot like dogs. They need positive reinforcement to 'train' them. What I do is in the beginning, every time one of them do any correct, I praise them and give them a piece of candy or a sticker. Like for EVERYTHING. Then, after a few weeks, I back off a bit with the rewards and just my praise becomes enough, though I do still occasionally give out the treats."

    My coworkers and I also discussed once how being a teacher has a lot of parallels to being a prison guard. The kids "outnumber us", but by presenting a united front, backing each other up, quickly identifying and squashing any students that will rile the others up, the 5 of us are able to control almost 150 kids
     
  9. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I think there are definitely similarities! There are no bad dogs, people make them bad. Just like kids- kids only misbehave if you let them/train them to be that way.

    My aunt-in-law has this terrible dog that bites her all the time and instead of giving negative reinforcement, she'll give her a treat to calm her down. She also has a daughter (now adult) who is the most selfish, indifferent, egotistical person I know. She treads all over her mother and her mother gives the world to her. Correlation? I think so.
     
  10. ajr

    ajr Rookie

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    Clicker training works on both dogs and humans. It's used in sports.
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    "Pack leaders are not aggressive, angry or bossy. Lower members of the pack are not fearful of the pack leader, but rather respectful. The pack leader is the stronger minded being, calm but very firm. Pack leaders set rules and they expect them to be followed; they set boundaries and they expect them not to be crossed; they place limits on what the others are allowed and not allowed to do and they expect everyone to stay within the limits. Pack leaders are not dominant-aggressive, they are calm-assertive."

    Are they talking about good dog-owners or good teachers? :)
     

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