Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Teach Them So They Will Learn

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Teach Them So They Will Learn

Article excerpt

Dealing with misbehaving children is a challenge. No question about it. It is right at the top of my list of least favorite things. Why can't they just do what I want them to do? I'm certain that I uttered that ridiculous phrase at least a thousand times while my three children were growing up.

To which Ross Greene would say: If they could, they would. This month's Kappan excerpts a chapter from Greene's newest book, Lost at School, in which he presents a new way of thinking about kids with behavioral challenges and explains why traditional discipline isn't effective in addressing these difficulties.

Bad behavior is hardly new. Regardless of your faith, you surely know the tale that not even God could ensure the good behavior of the beings that he created. He gave humans everything they needed. He told them the consequences if they didn't behave. But along came a snake, and Eve succumbed to a clever sales pitch. Adam succumbed to peer pressure. Cain forgot how to play well with others. Everything went to heck.

Fast forward to the 21st century, when teachers, especially beginning teachers, routinely report that classroom management and behavioral issues are among their greatest challenges. Four of 10 teachers report problems with student behavior in the 2006 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher. High school teachers report more behavior problems than elementary teachers. Teachers in urban schools and those with large proportions of low-income and minority students rate this issue as the most severe. …

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