The purpose of this task is to help construct a better understanding of the overall problem-solving process and assist with the many questions in your future use with it. The logic is quite simple. Learning is learning, whether it is social learning or academic learning. Why we use instruction for academic learning and discipline systems for social learning is a mystery, especially in the twenty-first century.
Not that long ago, educators in our early church schools actually believed disruptive students were possessed with an evil spirit. The use of paddling was to drive the evil spirit from the student's body. Teachers were responsible for the three R's and behavior was the responsibility of the family and church. As naïve as this may appear to be, there are still people today who believe this to be true.
If teachers and principals are going to be successful with helping students learn to solve problems and actually quit disciplining and just teach, they need to believe that answers to social learning are the same as for academic learning. Since principals and teachers are experienced with academic learning, finding answers for social learning comes quite easily.
Most discipline systems use strategies that seem absurd for teachers trained and experienced in academics. If a student has problems with reading or math, would the loss of privileges, assignment to detention hall, or suspension help them read or solve math problems better? Certainly not, yet many discipline systems have teachers writing names on the board, giving out tokens, sending them to in-school suspension, and a host of other reward and punishment methods. Few, if any, involve teaching, which is exactly what the student needs, if he or she is to improve in reading or math.
Teachers find that some students will learn to problem-solve very quickly, while others need to go through the process numerous times. They find that some students can perform a new behavior quite well, while others have very little competence. They also find that some students can define the problem and explain the whys very well, while others simply have no clue. The teaching of social knowledge and skill has the same challenges as teaching academic knowledge and skill and students possess a wide range of current learning and performance ability.
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