PART 2 – How to Save America’s Schools With A Shift in Paradigms About Education

September 10, 2010

 

It’s time for a paradigm shift in education. The current ways and policies for solving discipline problems in American schools are leaving us empty. Things must change and paradigms must shift if we want to see radically effective changes in discipline in our schools. It starts with us and the way we think. In this blog, I’ll discuss why we need a paradigm shift and how we can do it.

The use of Lecture and Pester with Proactive and Persistent School Discipline changes schools. As the tardy problem disappears, you are now able to work on other big problems, such as: chaos in  the cafeteria, the dressing room in the gym, late arrivals to school, etc. These problems are recognized and finally given attention to and become minor problems instead.

As problems in these areas become small, a transition to the second phase of the discipline plan begins. Administrators and hall masters bring these discipline processes to the door of the classroom. Teachers and administrators agree, that if a classroom is controlled and focused during the first five minutes of class, the rest of the period will be the same.

Teachers and administrators work together to identify and solve big and small problems at the classroom door. School discipline quickly becomes more effective and efficient. Massive hours of work are eliminated as there are less referrals to the Assistant Principals’ (AP) office, which also causes a major reduction in paperwork. A teacher’s authority and classroom discipline improves as students realize the problem will be addressed  immediately at the doorway, with the AP and teacher working together, in front of classmates.

As the adults of the school bring a school under control and discipline is established in the classroom, the next phase of the discipline program begins. Just as a self-disciplined person can set goals for higher achievement, so can a school set goals for higher achievement. The school can ask students to strive for a higher average daily attendance goal or have a study hall with 500 extra hours of study each week. Whatever the goals, they can be focused on more, now that the discipline problem is under control.

The use of this discipline program changes how people look at schools and educational problems. This program creates new paradigms about solving the daily problems of our school system. It is time for a change and the current system of solving these problems is not working. Paradigm shifts must happen to see these discipline problems solved and American school systems under control!

First, we realize that 99% of our students can become self-disciplined and productive. We learn that 99% of our teachers can have disciplined and productive classrooms. We are amazed as administrators become effective disciplinarians. A paradigm shift occurs when we realize the discipline problem was not us. A poor discipline plan and system was the problem. This leads to other paradigm shifts in thinking about other  educational problems.

Let us start with a paradigm shift in thinking on how to solve the drop out rate. The first step has already been taken. Students walk out of a school when they feel the school is not safe and/or a waste of time. The school is safe now and is setting higher goals for student achievement. When proper school environments are created, dropouts will walk back into the school.

When a school becomes well-disciplined another paradigm change of thinking takes place. The realization that a majority of schools in America are boring, dismal, and provide few fun activities for students. Pep rallies, fun assemblies, and exciting events rarely, if ever, happen in schools today. Administrators and the school faculty are scared to bring students together in large assemblies when a school has little discipline. With disciplined students, the school needs to provide as many fun, exciting, and educational events as possible.  When schools become fun and exciting, the dropout numbers will go down drastically.

Fun and exciting schools improve discipline. First, students do not have to create  excitement to break the oppressive cycle of boredom. Gang fights, fist fights, and confrontational behavior currently be used to relieve boredom can be greatly reduced. Also, having the consequence of not allowing a student to attend a fun event is a powerful persuader to follow school rules.

When I had the paradigm shift that 99% of students can become self-disciplined, I had another paradigm shift in thinking. I realized the way we tie together grades, discipline, failure, and punishment together must be overhauled. Texas House Bill 72 has been a success and an extreme failure at the same time.

I was there when former Texas Governor Mark White spoke to the Texas Legislature Education Committee. He was presenting arguments to keep House Bill 72 and the No Pass- No Play amendment in force. He spoke powerfully and eloquently about his classroom failure and removal from the football team. Governor White then went on to make an argument for No Pass-No Play. The argument and linkage for No Pass- No Play is generally:

fail a subject–>expulsion from extra curricular activity–>desire to get back to activity–>change behavior–>study hard–>earn a passing grade–>be accepted back to banned activity–>success

This No Pass- No Play scenario may work in highly successful schools and suburban schools. The success rate of students is high, so only a small percentage of students have to deal with No Pass- No Play. Extra curricular activities and sports teams are big and successful. Failing students have a large desire to get back to the activity. The No Pass -No Play linkage works in these schools and they become schools of success.

The No Pass – No Play section of House Bill 72 has been a disaster for education in inner-city schools. The education philosophy created by No Pass – No Play has created schools of failure in the inner city. The argument and linkage of  No Pass – No Play works in reverse in low-performing schools. How can this be so? First, at any given marking period at least half the school is ineligible for extra curricular activities. Therefore, most teams and organizations are small and unable to compete at a high level. Students on these teams are ridiculed, harassed, and called fools for being on a team by half the school. A downward cycle of less participation, more failures, and less competitive teams is created. No Pass – No Play produces  failing environments and messages. The immediate message, to half the school, is you are a failure. Because you are a failure, you can not participate in school activities and you are not part of the school.  The feeling grows that the school and teachers are “out to get me,” they will not allow me into an activity where I can be happy and successful.

Half the students in the school are labeled failures and never allowed into programs where they may experience success. The adults of the school lose control over  half of the school population. The process of success in one area being transferred to other areas and subjects never occurs. Students see themselves as incapable of being successful.

So who is around to pick up the students who are rejected, disfranchised, unwanted, angry, and not in an adult managed activity? The gangs are there telling these students they are valuable to them. The school cares little for you but we care. The school is a failure and had the nerve to call you a failure. We know you have skills and you can be successful with us. If you come join us, we will make you successful and respected.

The gangs are in the schools giving the students the messages the schools should be giving to them. The problem is the law of the land (HB 72) sends the wrong messages.  HB 72 does not allow the adults of a school to reach half of the school with the right messages.

How do we correct this situation? It requires paradigm changes in thinking. We must develop school strategies and ideologies that are inclusive not exclusive. Every student must be allowed to develop his/her special talent or skill. When you believe that 99% of a student body can become self-disciplined, the paradigm change occurs.

The only real connection between grades, discipline, and success is that a self- disciplined person is usually a successful person. A disciplined person has failures, but has a process of behavior, thinking, and goal setting that leads to success. Schools must allow all students a chance to experience success. By experiencing success in one area, students can begin to develop the behavior, thinking, and goal setting processes to be successful in other areas.

Schools must become inclusive and allow success. How is this done?  One step to take is to change the eligibility requirements for extra curricular activities. After age, there should be only two requirements for participation in school activities and extra curricular activities.

1)Come to school according to attendance policies
2) Do not be a discipline problem

If after you read these two requirements and immediately thought of a massive breakdown in student and school discipline, you need a discipline system that allows 99% of you student body to be self-disciplined! You need a paradigm change in thinking, about how to solve the school discipline problem in America.

If a student fails all his subjects, he is still eligible for extra curricular activities. Now teachers and coaches are not restricted in allowing students into activities, where they can be successful. The sports teams, band, cheerleaders, debate teams, etc. can become bigger, competitive, and successful. Cycles of success are created in students and the school. Student success in one area allows transfer of success to other areas of endeavor. Teachers can give a true grade without major conflicts with coaches, administrators, parents, or students. Classroom behavior improves as conflicts between students and teachers over grades is greatly diminished. The massive classroom problems caused by exclusion from school teams and activities for poor grades is eliminated. There are less attitude problems that disrupt the education of all the other students in the classroom. As conflicts over grades are greatly reduced, teachers can reach out and help more failing students change their behavior and become successful.

Increased student achievement, competitive teams, and  feeling you are part of the school builds school pride and community pride. Administrators, teachers, and coaches, eventually, have 99% of the school under adult control and authority.  The school and local community can come together to set higher goals for student achievement. We have created a school of success.

A large amount of schools in America are in big trouble and can see no way out of the problem. There is a solution. The solution is  a few paradigm changes of thinking and one school discipline plan away.

 


Advertisements

One Response to “PART 2 – How to Save America’s Schools With A Shift in Paradigms About Education”

  1. It’s always great to hear someone advocate for a change in discipline policies, recognizing that it affects so much about the education system. I have had to hear administration scold teachers that there would be no discipline problems if their lessons were engaging.

    What is the Lecture and Pester process?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: