You can’t change students (children) . . . you can care about them . . .

“A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.” – Horace Mann

Dr. Merrill Harmin, in his famous book, Strategies to Inspire Active Learning: Complete Handbook [for teachers], gives us the common-sense idea that if a student in the your classroom (or by analogy, a child in your home) is continually acting out of line, you can speak to them privately.

Line Drawing:Teacher lecturing student

From there on, though, his suggestions get seemingly odd.

Dr. Harmin says that the purpose of the private dialogue is just that, to have a private dialogue. Not to give them a lecture. It gets even odder. He then says that the goal of the private dialogue is not–as you might think–to get the student (child) to change his/her behavior.

What? I thought that was the whole idea. “Nope,” says my wise friend.

Guess what?

The goal of the private dialogue is to start to build a relationship between the teacher and the student (or between the parent and the child).

Amazingly, one of the key requirements is for the adult to listen, not the younger person so much. The younger person is not simply an inferior adult. They are persons in their own right, having their own life, and their own preferences about learning and their own dreams and life purposes.

If we as adults wish to actually influence younger people for good on a lifetime basis (not just get them to conform to our momentary demands), it is vital that we listen with respect, even if their performance or behavior is out of line.

The listening with respect, the building of a relationship is the basis for all change (learning).

Astute teachers and mothers know this without being told. Fathers can learn it too. šŸ˜®

Caring, Respect, and even Honor,

Doc Meek, Thursday, June 3, 2010

At Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA; not at South Jordan, Utah, USA

P.S. We as adults can have a lot of “fun” learning this change within ourselves: caring, respecting, honoring and listening to young people.

It is short-term so satisfying–in a perverse sort of way–to just lecture them. Our egos love it! Our lecture may change their behavior temporarily (as long as we remain present). It will not engender long-term self-responsibility and self-management in the younger person, which is, after all, ultimately the goal of all education (and all family life), right?

P.S.S. Hey this is really wacko! You mean to tell me that the purpose ofĀ  lecturing . . . uh . . . dialoguingĀ  with . . . a younger person is to get me–me–to change (learn), not them? Yup. Real challenge isn’t it? That’s how many students (and children at home) feel about the changes (learnings) being required of them.

Parents (and teachers) may wish to explore the idea that we may be yelling at our kids too much. Copy and paste this URL in your computer’s browser line:

http://ezinearticles.com/?Are-You-Yelling-At-Your-Child-Too-Much?-Nine-Ways-to-Getting-Better-Behavior-from-Your-Children&id=156475

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