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Philosophical Meanderings

Heightened Control

Despite what conventional wisdom tells us, heightened control and demands for obedience are the worst responses to defiance.

Where there’s no relationship, there’s no trust.

Where there’s no trust, we resort to manipulation and dictates. Compliance and obedience become the name of the game, and for most kids this spells disaster.

About joebower

I believe students should experience success and failure not as reward and punishment but as information.


4 thoughts on “Heightened Control

  1. It’s difficult to observe what’s really going on through a closed fist.

    Joe, had did you experience control in your own education and what has been most helpful in keeping yourself from resorting to it as a teacher? I’m curious to learn about your current work on this with kids –

    All the best,

    Posted by Chad Sansing | July 8, 2011, 6:13 am
  2. Joe my friend, Why did you become a teacher?

    I relate to you, of course, as someone who has placed herself in an environment that is not at all congenial to me: rigid, bureaucratized, hierarchical, suspicious of innovation (see Paula’s post of today), slow-moving, not joyful about learning. I’ve put myself in a place where I don’t really belong, and work to transform it. And often feel Sisyphusian. A longer conversation.


    Posted by Kirsten Olson | July 9, 2011, 10:30 am
  3. @Chad: Reflecting on my personal educational experiences in K-12 is not something I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on. I witnessed and experienced first hand injustices that I’m sure have affected me in ways I’ve yet to reconcile.

    In regards to how I work to avoid resorting to repeating some of the same inappropriate practices, I would have to say that I’ve worked hard to have an acute awareness for what I say and do in the classroom with my students. I know that even the smallest action and seemingly benign statements can have profound consequences.

    @Kirsten: I’ve asked myself if I’m in the wrong field many times, and I’ve had lots of others label my desire for change as nothing more than the ramblings of a disgruntled employee. So why do I stay in a field that I’m not necessarily happy with nor am I particularly welcome?

    Sometimes, I don’t know why. But on my good days, I think to myself: it’s because of these injustices that I know that I am doing exactly what I should be doing.

    Posted by Joe Bower | July 15, 2011, 1:12 am
  4. I think Princess Leah said it best “the tighter you squeeze your fist Lord Vader, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” Control is an illusion. But it is pretty cheap day care.

    Posted by Jamie Steckart | July 19, 2011, 7:30 pm

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