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Alfie Kohn: Beyond Discipline
Transcript of Alfie Kohn: Beyond Discipline
"Punished by Rewards" 1993 Alfie Kohn Alfie Kohn Eliminating the need to "manage" a classroom is directly related to how students are taught. Constructivist Approach
(Progressive Education) Promote Authentic Learning If students are engaged and feel like competent, respected and listened to contributors, they are more likely to not misbehave. This gives them power. Prevent Need for Discipline
in the first place In the Classroom
Real Considerations Constructivist Approach to
Classroom Management Educator.Author.Lecturer
Born 1957 in Florida
BA Brown University 1979
MA Social Science U. of Chicago
Influenced by Dewey and Piaget
Lives in Boston, 2 children Questions many traditional aspects of Teaching and
including rewards and punishments. Background: Main Idea: It is not about maintaining control, it is about helping students flourish by promoting authentic learning.
Questions Posed: *What promotes authentic learning?
*What creates an atmosphere that requires "classroom management" anyway? *How can you have a classroom of
well behaved children without a system of rewards and punishments/consequences?*Should teachers be in control
of the classroom and get students to comply? Stop blaming kids.
All of this requires questioning what we are asking our students to learn as well as deep reflection on what our assumptions are about
children's motivations.A dim and dark view
of human nature is associated with controlling and punitive strategies. in order to
meet the Universal Human Needs of:
Autonomy and self-determination
Relatedness, belonging and connection with others
Competence and pleasure from mastering new things
Control vs. Nurture
Mindless Compliance vs. Encouraging Curiosity and Problem Solving
Restrictions vs. Care and Freedom
Consequences and Threats vs. Trust and Respect
Students as Passive Receptors vs. Active Participants
Solitary Learner vs. Community of Learners
Autocratic vs. Democratic
Teacher's Classroom vs. Everyone's Classroom
Teacher as Enforcer vs. Mentor/Coach
Power vs. Reason
Aggression vs. Compassion Goal: Dissolution of punishments and rewards to develop a community based on worth and caring. (Punishments work temporarily without lasting effect on motives and values. Rewards just as detrimental as punishments. Good behavior done merely for sake of the reward.) Discipline actively interferes with what teachers are trying to accomplish. It stops bad behavior rather than helping children become good people. "How do I get children to do what I want?" vs.
"What do children need and how can we meet those needs?" Create an "Auspicious Circle" Trust students to make good decisions and they will. The more we "manage" students behavior with rewards and punishments, the more difficult it will be for them to become morally sophisticated, think for themselves and care for others. Reflect on what we bring to them.
Simple and boring tasks? Too difficult? Not worth doing? Repetitive? Are procedures and materials developmentally appropriate? Is content relevant? Can student make a connection to self? Does it stretch thinking? Does it elicit curiosity?
Does it promote community? Autonomy within Community Misbehavior will diminish when children feel less controlled.
There are no pre-fabricated answers or packaged responses. Students learn to make good choices by making choices - not by following directions. Activity from
"Beyond Discipline, From Compliance to Community"
Alfie Kohn's questions: "What are the
of the students you work with?
What would you like them to be
- to be like - long after they have left you?
What words come to mind?" "Is there a difference between how we would like our students to turn out and how our classrooms and schools actually work?" Is anyone saying:
"I want my kids to obey authority without question, to be compliant and docile?" Teacher Relationship with students is mutually trusting
Help student develop Skills to resolve conflicts: listen, be calm, imagine the other persons point of view
When there is conflict, Diagnose what happened and why
Question our own practices: what can we do differently?
Maximize student involvement to give responsibility for implementing a solution that they can own
Construct an authentic solution without emphasis on explanations. Rather, explore motivations to problem solve
Assist to Make Restitution for wrong doing by helping to understand why it was wrong, and make repairs or apology
Check back later to see if plan worked, if problem got solved or if new strategy is needed
Maintain Flexibility: about logistics and about substance
Minimize Punitive Impact if you must resort to "consequence" or "punishment" Guiding Principle Care and trust are emphasized above restrictions and
threats, where unity and pride (of accomplishment and in purpose) replace winning and losing, and where each person is asked, helped, and inspired to live up to such ideals and values as kindness, fairness, and responsibility. [Such] a classroom community seeks to meet each student's need to feel competent, connected to others, and autonomous....Students are not only exposed to basic human values, they also have the opportunity to think about, discuss, and act on those values, while gaining experiences that promote empathy and understanding of others (Child Development Project 1991). from "Beyond Discipline, From Compliance to Community"
page 102, Alfie Kohn John Dewey 1859-1952 Founder of Progressivism, popular in 1930's, 1960's, 1970's
actively engage students with exploration and reflection
promoted Democratic schools Jean Piaget 1896-1980 Swiss Developmental Psychologist and Philosopher
Cognitive development based on adaptation and organization.
We learn by gaining knowledge through play experience. Students "construct" a personal understanding through having experiences and reflecting on them. In the 1990's
wanted to observe teachers
in extraordinary classrooms
how they handled discipline problems.
He found that he rarely saw children misbehaving, and was struck by
what the teachers were doing
as well as
what they were NOT doing. Authentic Learning What is authentic learning?
It occurs when students are active participants in the process of learning, not when they are passive receivers. Kohn's View: Positive view of children
Virtuous, generous and empathetic
Not motivated exclusively by self-interest
can learn "self-control" rather than "be controlled." Most theories on discipline rarely own up to having a dim view of human nature.
children's drive for power leads to misbehavior
students must be regulated with external control
misbehavior attributed to demand for attention Rewards actually serve to decrease interest in the activity one is doing for the reward, especially if it involves creativity. If you feel like you are being controlled, you lose interest. Rewards corrode intrinsic motivation. Punishments are done "to" a student and are pain based. Person is forced to avoid the punishment rather than change their internal motivation. Promotes temporary compliance, not altruism. The behavior is the surface
phenomena. What matters is the person who behaves and why! Teacher's role is to facilitate discussion and inquiry by leading students to come up with their own conclusions and building on what they already know. Students participate in creating their own learning environment and are responsible, significant individuals within the community. learning by doing
class discussions Process as Important as Product Constructivist Theory Student centered learning
Internally oriented learning
Actively participate in learning process
Learning constructed by interpretation of experiences
Collaborative interactive groups
Facilitate expression and evaluation Constructivism Promote Intrinsic Motivation
with the "C's of Quality" Choice
Content Community is Key Students who "truly feel part of a community are less likely to do things that bring down the weight of discipline on their heads." ~Alfie Kohn "Don't move a child roughly if you can move her gently, don't move her gently if you can tell her to move, don't tell her to move if you can ask her." ~Alfie Kohn Kohn in a Quotation