To treat students like adults or not?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Peregrin5, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 26, 2013

    I've recently read one book 1-2-3 magic which extols the issues of treating students like "little adults". It claims that students are not little adults and they would benefit more and your management would benefit more if you took an approach that was more akin to 'training' them. Giving them appropriate consequences without getting emotional or talking too much whenever they make a poor decision and letting them eventually realize that if they continue their behavior that the consequence will follow.

    Another book I am reading right now is Teaching with Love and Logic. It states that we need to have as much respect for students as we do for adults, and explain things out to them, offer them choices, and keep the onus on them to solve their own problems without making them our own.

    I was wondering what your take on this might be.

    For me, at some levels, I can see where these two ideologies clash, but then at others, I can see where they might actually coincide. For instance, I think students can be counted up to three for their behavior, but offer them a choice as to what their consequence might be, or even offer them a choice before they get to three, where they can choose to continue their behavior or accept the consequence.

    I think students should always be treated with respect, but I also think that because of their mental maturation, they may also need to experience things many times before they begin to learn (i.e. being trained).

    Then again treating students with respect doesn't need to mean treating them like adults.
     
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  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I'm not sure any of the above discipline techniques involve "treating students like adults." For example, "having as much respect for students as adults" does not mean treating students like adults, but having as much respect for them.

    The danger with broad statements that may be intended to communicate something more specific is that we can take unintended (or inaccurate) inferences from those statements. If we "treat students like adults," we run the risk of making many poor choices.

    From my experiences, this is a big problem with many of those behavior management books written by consultants seeking to sell books and sell programs - they need to differentiate themselves, so rather than speaking in terms of evidence-based strategies or specific techniques, they like to come up with general theories that they believe will help teachers think more efficiently about behavior management. My experience has been that those theories end up causing as much harm as good something because of the inappropriate generalizations that result.

    So, I'd evaluate specific strategies but not try to validate a generalization such as "treat kids like adults."
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 26, 2013

    Good advice! Thank you.
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Giving them appropriate consequences without getting emotional or talking too much whenever they make a poor decision

    I agree with this. I cut down on how much I lecture students, and I just give them the consequence calmly and quickly. It is better this way. It saves time and allows me to put more energy into the positive things I see going on in the classroom.
     
  6. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    I treat my eighth graders like "young adults". I give them choices, use reasonable consequences and make sure they're treated with respect. I keep their self-esteem in tact by praising in public, punishing in private. However, they still need guidance and training to make appropriate choices, accept their consequences and learn how to give respect back using fair and reasonable criteria.

    I take the in-between approach :lol:
     
  7. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    My first year teaching I lectured, cajoled, explained, questioned... Now I have students take part in the rule making process, make consequences clear and post both the rules & consequences, discuss, practice, role play, model, and practice some more up front and every time we have a long break. Now I give consequences and move on. They make choices every day and I honor those choices, good or bad. It was so freeing when I realized that it was up to them if they received consequences or not- not up to me.
     
  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    That was another thing Love and Logic was mentioning. They said it's not really worth it to create specific consequences for certain behaviors and that we should tailor consequences to specific students for specific cases, or let students choose their own consequences as the behavior arises.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Is there a mechanism in place to prevent students from abusing this policy?
     
  10. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Kids aren't adults and they don't always understand the logic. I do explain things to my kids so they will better understand that their consequences are a direct result of whatever action. They do deserve respect just as we would respect any other human being so I never yell at my students or say things that might humiliate, embarass, or undermine their right to be treated fairly and justly.
     
  11. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I wish I could go with the idea of "never yell" I prefer not to. I tell my students, "don't make me have to yell".
    As for treating them like adults; I probably go over board when I lecture them, eventually I see the glossy look on a student or two and know it is time to move on.
     
  12. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    For me it is just a personal choice. I know some teachers yell and feel it is effective. However, as adults we wouldn't communicate that way with colleagues or other adults, so why would we communicate that way with our students? I am not condemning any teacher who does yell, though I don't feel it is the best choice. I tend to lower my voice when I am upset with my class and they know I mean business.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I have to say, this is hypocritical since we tell students they are responsible for their actions and no one can make them act a certain way. They would be in trouble if another student needled them so far they blew up at them in another way. We would tell them that they are responsible for controlling their actions and then they would receive a consequence.

    This comment to me sounds like the abusive husband telling the wife "don't make me hit you!" Not saying you are an abusive spouse, callmebob.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I'll gladly stand up and say yelling at the students is wrong and those that do it are wrong when they do it. I will also go as far as saying anyone that uses that method often needs to move on. Few here would accept their principal yelling at them when they do something that the principal doesn't like and take responsibility for making the principal act that way.

    I'm not saying that people are going to be perfect all the time, but if a slip is made and someone does yell, it is still wrong. To me yelling is about tone and words. Yelling the word, "Stop!" when someone is doing something that is dangerous is not "yelling" in this case. Raising ones' voice for effect in a lesson is not yelling.
     
  15. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I'll gladly stand up and say yelling at the students is wrong and those that do it are wrong when they do it.

    I agree. The problem with yelling is that when a teacher yells at a class, the well behaved sensitive children hate it and it scares them. The poorly behaved students don't mind it and sometimes find it funny that they got their teacher upset. It gets everyone's attention, makes the teacher feel good to let off some steam, but it impacts the wrong group of students.

    A better alternative is to use a simple signal to get the class' attention. If it doesn't work, try it a second time. Those who don't comply the second time get a small consequence. Also, praise the class when it does it correctly. This has worked well for me.
     
  16. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I think yelling in order to get a point across is unprofessional in just about any setting.
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    They gave the caveat that if a student wouldn't solve their own problem by coming up with their own consequences or didn't come up with an appropriate consequence, that you will have to come up with your own. It said that you don't have to give the consequence immediately either. You can just tell them, "I'm going to do something about this. I don't know what it is yet, so talk to me tomorrow and I'll let you know."
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I agree. I have to say however, while I never yell in anger, I do sometimes raise my voice to get attention when everyone is engaged in a lab or some loud noisy rambunctious activity as is often the case in my class. Usually something like "Alright Ladies and Gentlemen, I need everyone's eyes and ears up here!" I am getting rather tired of it. Some people use bells, but I've seen bad things happen with those bells. They get overused and lose effectiveness. Kids get their hands on them and abuse it.

    When I discipline, I get really quiet, and the students all do too. But during the course of the day, I find I have to talk loudly just to be heard during certain common science activities.

    I do a 5 point focus thing, (I count to five and by five they have to be quiet) but they rarely ALL quiet down. Most do but one or two don't and I have them all practice the five-point focus again and they hate that but the same students keep talking after the five counts, so I have to give them consequences. I naturally seem to revert to an announcer voice for some reason. I need a new method because I think I'm overusing my voice. Any ideas?
     
  19. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Yelling can occur for a few different reasons. If the class has gotten louder and doesn't hear you when you are kindly and quietly asking them to pay attention and follow directions, it can be used. I never yell to start with. Usually it would be after twice asking and not getting their response when they don't hear me, the voice gets raised. There is only so much time that you can wait for them, a teacher needs to move on, if that means yelling so that they can hear you, then so be it.
    Other occasions, I have yelled at individual students when they have just gone way too far on their actions. Is it my favorite thing to do? By all means no. But I do think sometimes they have earned it.
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    My sixth-grade teacher yelled at us. It was real yelling, like screaming. His face would turn red and he sometimes threw things like chalk or erasers. It was scary and I didn't like it. I was a good student who did my work and followed the rules, but I still had to listen to the yelling when he was upset with other students. I felt like it was unfair. I didn't feel safe or secure in his classroom. I don't think I learned as much as I could have from him because of all the yelling.
     
  21. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    That's true. I actually don't even put this in the 'yelling' category, this is more like raising your voice simply so they can hear you. Yelling usually is couple with emotions (anger, fear, frustration, etc), this is simply raising the volume. I don't like to do this either, and the very few times I've done it, I always explained myself, so they didn't mistake this for yelling, I wasn't mad, etc. But I also told them I didn't want to have to do this again.
     
  22. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    It was scary and I didn't like it. I was a good student who did my work and followed the rules, but I still had to listen to the yelling when he was upset with other students. I felt like it was unfair. I didn't feel safe or secure in his classroom.

    Thank you Caesar for describing so well with how countless well-behaved students feel about yelling. I feel that is exactly how most well-behaved students feel when yelled at.
     
  23. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Last year when I worked at a k-8 there was a middle school teacher who was constantly yelling. Not just a slightly raised voice- real yelling like screaming with the red face and sometimes even stomping her feet! It did not work at all, and the annoying part was that she thought she knew it all in regards to management and that she was the only one that was "strict enough." I remember a fire drill where my (extremely well behaved) kids were next to her class and she was throwing one of her fits complete with foot stomping. My students were staring and several of them were covering their mouths and laughing. She just looked absurd.

    I have wondered about the "little adults" theory and the research that shows students can't process certain "adult" emotions until a much later age, like empathy for example. I always wondered if young students can't process empathy, why do so many teachers use this as a main classroom management tool. "You can't do that because it makes ______ feel sad" or even "Don't yell out because that makes me (the teacher) feel sad." If a kindergartner isn't old enough to care whether he's making the teacher sad, why is that seen as an effective tool?

    I also agree with pp's that treating a child with respect is different than treating them like a "little adult."
     

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