Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Creating a Disciplined School Environment

I'd like to see more discussion of instituting what Democracy Prep calls its "Respectful School Culture and a Disciplined Environment," (and the equivalent in other "no excuses" charters) in regular public schools. I mean, it isn't like nobody has thought of teaching this to sixth graders before:

Preparation Academy includes direct instruction in academic and study skills including how to: organize binders, come to class prepared with necessary materials, take notes, put a proper heading on papers, raise hands in class, submit homework assignments, study for a test, ask respectful questions, etc. Preparation Academy also includes social lessons as basic as how to walk in silent lines in the halls, hold the door for a classmate, say please and thank you, give a firm handshake, make eye contact, apologize for mistakes, and leave a place cleaner than one found it.

And it is not as if doing more of that is controversial in most communities, is it? And if you go down the rest of the page, there is nothing here that's really shocking or challenges the traditional structures of schooling. So what's the problem? Teachers' unions are always worried about the lack of discipline. If the charters have figured out a better way of teaching and handling this stuff, exactly what is stopping other schools from doing the same?

I mean, I'm not arguing that I think this approach is the best way to educate 12 year olds, but I've seen worse. I'd just like to pin down why this is a "charter" thing.

Later... I guess this might provide an opportunity to compare and contrast.

1 comment:

Doug Noon said...

Let's try, "What are you gonna do to me if I don't?"

Seriously. A lady I taught with for several years transferred to a local charter school. In an email, she told me that she enjoyed working with kids who were willing to work hard and make a connection with their teachers.

I asked her what happened with kids who don't do that, and she said, We send them back to their home schools.

Where do we send them? I asked. And I'm still waiting for an answer.

We teach manners and study skills. But our power to insist is more limited.