Don’t Shout! Oh Yeah?


“Hey Man.  You don’t have to shout!

“Oh Yeah?”

What do you think?  The vast majority of books and teacher trainings tell us don’t shout.  Shouting teaches shouting, not quiet compliance.  That’s fine philosophy but there are times when it seems counterintuitive.

Back when I first started teaching, I was given a most excellent book called Teaching Children Self-Discipline At Home And At School by Thomas Gordon, Ph. D. (author of the best-selling Parent Effectiveness Training and Teacher Effectiveness Training).  In it, Gordon ‘shows why traditional disciplining doesn’t work at home or in the classroom, and how to change children’s behavior effectively using skills of cooperation instead.’  I agreed with everything he said until I got in front of a classroom and I crash landed on Planet Reality.  I still believe he is right.  I just believe there is more to it that is missing from his books – that’s one reason why I write.

Here’s what happened:

At home I’d read, ‘…children will use self-control to follow rules when they have been given the chance to join with adults in deciding what those rules should be.’  Then the next morning I’d get a call to substitute teach at some troubled school and wham!  Reality set in.

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Excessive Force

7.3.15 Newton's 2nd LawShocking video

“Next on the nightly news, a shocking video of excessive force used on a young, mentally handicapped child.  We warn you that the video you are about to see is disturbing.  It shows two adult males (a middle school administrator and a teacher) forcefully wrenching the arms of a much smaller 13 year old Special Ed. student as they slam him into a chair.”

Wow!  Is your righteous indignation heating up?  Are you ready to abandon due process and fire those vicious adults?   Or did you ask yourself, ‘Does the video really show the whole story?’

Questions regarding excessive force

Claims of excessive force have been in the news of late and it seems to me that not enough details are being discussed to give a genuinely clear picture of when force is necessary or what force is necessary.  I’m not talking about the clear cut cases where someone has submitted to authority and then suffered a beating – that is excessive.  I want to examine the cases where it is obvious that the suspect or child is not compliant.  I want to ask these questions of all those advocates out there, “How many fights have you ever broken up?  Have you ever been in a situation with a child where safety of the child or others was at stake and the child refuses to comply with your authority?  What did/do you do?”  I call this ‘Catch 22’ situation ‘extreme behavioral management’.

I don’t have the video of the situation I described in the first paragraph but I will tell you about it.  I was the teacher!

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