Reflection for Improvement vs. Competition

The following focuses on how to establish a learning community where competition is at an absolute minimum and collaboration is optimal. It is how Kerry and her teaching partner, Darlene, continue to share how they use the Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model.

We try to focus on improvement and effort at academic times instead of on achievement. We don’t assign marks on anything and never mention specially those who have done very well. We focus on having students judge their own work (by comparing it to previous work) and make their own goals for improvement. We offer encouragement on a private basis and try to offer positive feedback rather than praise. We aim to have all students, regardless of ability, focus on doing their personal best and feeling proud of their efforts. Students who feel capable and in charge of their own learning are eager to focus at work times and be as productive as they can be. With this mindset, they aren’t focused on getting into mischief.

We focus on good intentions rather than on at-the-moment-behaviour that might not be top-notch. If something isn’t going well for students and they start to misbehave, we acknowledge what we know to be true—that inside they want to do well; they don’t want to cause problems. With such a discussion we can often get them back on track.

(MM COMMENT: This is a choice. It is a mindset. The teacher chooses to think that the student has a problem—that the behavior is an attempt to resolve a frustration. This type of positive self-talk to help the student help himself is in contrast to a teacher’s impulse and mindset to coerce the misbehaving student. NOTE: This is the key point of chapter two: “Motivating: Theories We Use” that refers to Theory X and Theory Y of the book.)

More of Kerry’s posts are available at her blog.