Reading this book may be much like a first session of new training. The concepts presented may match many of your current beliefs or may not. The recommendation is to note the beliefs you agree with and the ones you do not. You will most likely find that you have some conflicting beliefs. For example, you believe students need hope, but you also believe in giving zeroes. You believe students should learn from their mistakes, but do not believe in makeup or extra-credit. You believe that some students need extra help, but believe discipline should be administered equally. You believe students should learn to problem-solve and make good decisions, but you also believe students must obey.
If you are going to be successful in empowering students, quitting disciplining, and only using teaching, you need to believe in it. If your beliefs are not a match or you have too many conflicting beliefs, perhaps you simply need to try it with an open mind. We write this because we have had many teachers tell us years later that they had doubts about it at first. Only after the experience of positive results did they change their beliefs and attitude.
We believe in these methods because we have seen them work with special education, gifted, regular, primary, intermediate, middle, high school, and many other descriptors of students. The task is for you to write and reflect on your beliefs, even if some conflict with the beliefs presented in this book.
Our list would look something like this:
We believe -
- All students can learn and unless brain diseased or damaged, can learn to read, write, and do mathematics at the 10th grade level.
- When students reach puberty, they have a natural need to make their own decisions, make their own mistakes, choose to decide what to believe, and need help as young adults, not child like treatment.
- Everyone needs help.
- All students have natural gifts, even if some are not related to school.
- All students are basically good, but must meet their natural needs.
- Whatever you give to others will be returned to you tenfold.
- Up to 10% of your students will be exceptions and each student will be an exception up to 10% of the time - no one is perfect all of the time.
- We retain more learning if it is learning from our mistakes.
- No one is comfortable with obeying another but always appreciative of another's help.
- Most do not respect others playing a role, but like those that they truly know.
- Fear of making mistakes, failing, or not being accepted is extremely detrimental to students.
- Students have a right to have input into their education.
- Students live up to the expectations we set.
- Principals and teachers deserve to be remembered and appreciated for the help they give, never the punishments they give.
- Change is good and stopping the discipline and just teaching may be the best change you will ever make.