Rethink Discipline

Here is a table of contents for the blog posts I have written that encourage parents and teachers to rethink the way they interact with children.

I guide my interactions with children with two principles. The first is from Jerome Bruner:

Students should experience success and failure not as reward and punishment but as information.

And the second principle comes from Alfie Kohn:

Good teaching and parenting is less about doing things to kids and more about working with them.

 Keeping these principles in mind, here are some posts that may help you rethink discipline, classroom management and behavior programs.

When are challenging children challenging? - Should we focus on children's misbehaviour or their lagging skills?

Working with explosive children - Here's an example of how I work with some of the hardest kids to educate.

Working with children when they are at their worst - Here's how I work with kids who are at their worst without using punishment.

Primitive Moral Development: PBIS - Because our misguided use of rewards and punishment perpetuate a preoccupation with self-interest and predictably stunts moral development, it's time we stop blaming the kids and start questioning our own practices.

Consequences for whom - I do believe there are consequences for people's actions, and kids really do need to learn this, but when people imply that children need to learn consequences, they almost always mean the consequences to the child.

Collaborative Problem Solving in the Classroom - Here's how I used Ross Greene's Collaborative Problem Solving (Plan B) with a student.

Killing communities with token economies - Want to kill collaboration and community, use a token economy.

Are children in control of their misbehaviour? - For the most part, every child is in control of their behaviour. But focusing on the idea that children are in control of their behaviours and are choosing to behave or misbehave can lead to a predictable and unfortunate mindset.

More on solving problems collaboratively with Ross Greene - I spent the day with Ross Greene learning about solving problems with children collaboratively.

What if you were treated like this at your workplace? - I have so many objections to this kind of classroom management that I have a hard time figuring out where to start but here goes.

Collaborative Problem Solving with Curtis - Here's how I worked with a student through Collaborative Problem Solving.

Crucial Conversations in the Classroom - here's how we can rethink how to talk with students about their behavior.

Do you want a time-out? - Time-out is short for time-out from positive reinforcement. In theory it was designed and implemented by behaviourist B.F Skinner on rats and pigeons, but today in practice it's used by parents on their children.

Punishment: it makes people mad - Like other forms of control, the use of punitive consequences often enrages whoever is on the receiving end, and the experience is doubly painful because he or she is powerless to do anything about it.

Why Punishment Fails - "When kids do something bad, something bad must be done to them."
Is it just me or is it time we rethink this archaic strategy?

Strapping Defiance - I was talking to my wife's 94 year old grandfather, and he told me of a time when he was in grade 9 in 1935.

Treating Kids Like Pets - When teachers or parents make success, rewards, gifts, excellence, treats, fun, grades or opportunities artificially scarce, we alienate and marginalize the very children who need us the most.

Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems - Use Ross Greene's Collaborative Problem Solving, here is an example of an Individual Program Plan or Case Formulation.

Collaborative Problem Solving - Ross Greene's book Lost at School has played a critical role in how I frame my conversations and interactions with students who are having a hard time navigating through their day.

Kids don't go bad, they get lost - There's a big difference between believing "kids will do well if they can" and "kids will do well when they want to".

Ross Greene's Lost at School - At the heart of Ross Greene's philosophy is that kids will do well if they can. The point being is that we all aspire to be successful, but sometimes we lack the skills in order to be so.

Undemocratic classrooms of a democratic society - If children are not afforded the opportunity to learn how to participate in a democratic classroom by being in a democratic classroom, when shall they learn how to participate and perpetuate the democratic ideals that you Americans and we Canadians have come to love so very much?

Alfie Kohn interview with Dr. Ross Greene - Alfie Kohn talks about parenting and teaching at its best and worst.

What does working *with* kids look like? - There's a big difference between working with and doing to.

Working hard and being nice are not enough - If we want kids to grow up to be democratic citizens, we have let them be so in school.

Disengaged kids are inconvenient - The misbehaviour is not the problem - rather it is a symptom of a far larger problem that has more to do with forces external of the student.

What we have here is a failure to communicate - sometimes what we say is not what kids hear.

Kids need our presence not our praise - In my experience, praise is less for the kids and more for the adults.

Bait and Switch - here's why we shouldn't use reward programs to bait kids' interest or compliance.

Catching Kids - here's why teachers and parents shouldn't focus on catching kids being good or bad.

Why the Why Matters - here's why motivation matters

The Behaviourism Infection - we have been infected and we don't even know it

Education and Sports Analogies - here's why sports and learning and living life are not analogous

Bad Apologies - sorry isn't a word, it's a feeling

Collaboration Agent - none of us are as independent as we might thing

Blaming the kids - at some point we have to look at our own practices

Unconditional Recogntion - here's an alternative to awards ceremonies

Bullying Perspectives - here's a better way to work with bullies

Kids need our presence not our praise - praise is hollow, our presence is real

We inherit but we also become - natural ability is a hoax

Praising effort vs ability - praise can be dangerous

Why am I smart - how kids rationalize their intelligence is very important

IQ: Misused and Misunderstood - here's how IQ can be so very harmful

Teach them a lesson? - sometimes we need to be understanding

Two Classroom Management Models: Fireman vs CSI - misbehavior is the symptom not the problem

Simple and Easy = Intimidating - telling kids something is easy is at best unhelpful and at worst harmful

to err is human - mistakes are our friends

The Folly of Chasing Perfect - here's why chasing perfect is a bad idea

Using Learning as a Punishment - be careful what you turn into a chore

Taylor Mali is a joke - a bully is a bully no matter their age

High Stakes Testing and Zero Tolerance - zero tolerance has no place in raising children

what does working *with* kids look like - working with trumps doing to every time

Prescriptive vs Personalized - one-size does not fit all people and kids are people too

Caring ally or judge-in-waiting - which are  you?

Sometimes they are just tired - sometimes we need to just relax