Although this is part of the title of the book, it is so important and vital that it must be considered one of the major tasks. The greatest lesson that can be learned by students is that they have the power to change things in their lives. It is surprising how few students realize this and how long it takes for some to finally know this to be true. We believe that the best way to show and convince students that this is true is to problem solve.
Problem solving forces students to look at their choice of actions and the results of those actions. They cannot deny the facts or shove the blame to anyone else. They know what they did and they know what happened as a result. Although these are usually the negative behaviors and negative results, they soon begin to see how new choices are producing positive results.
The realization of this power causes increased self-esteem. Who would have thought that numerous incidences of misbehavior would result in such an enlightening truth? This is simply because every incident requires self-refection and learning. And those who once caused most of the classroom disruptions are now the ones learning, maturing, and finally feeling better about themselves.
In a large California elementary school that began using problem-solving, the young the vice-principal laminated the seven problem solving steps and taped it to her desk. Every student who came in had to go through the steps. She noticed that several things happened. First, she liked her job much more because she felt she was teaching, instead of investigating and punishing. She also said that many students would come and see her, even if they were not in trouble. They wanted her advice and to talk more about problem-solving. Her final remark was extremely satisfying when they finally realized they could solve their own problems, and she never saw them for discipline again.
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