Using the Levels of Development with Very Young People

The Levels of Development uses just four (4) concepts, or vocabulary terms, to describe two unacceptable behaviors (Level A and Level B) and two other terms to describe the concepts of external motivation (Level C) and internal motivation (Level D). The use of these terms leads to improved self-discipline.

Some primary teachers feel uncomfortable using the terms associated with unacceptable behaviors—anarchy and bullying. Rather than ignoring these negative concepts, young people are empowered when they can identify, articulate, and resist them.

The way to learn a concept is to have a way to describe it. This is the reason that one of the most fundamental approaches to success in school is vocabulary development. Vocabulary words are taught as soon as youngsters enter school.

When negative words are used, the person conjures up negative thoughts and feelings about them. That is the very point and the reason these terms should be taught. These negative thoughts and feelings arise in young people when they describe these unacceptable levels. Young people are in the process of becoming adults, and the way to develop responsible adults is to expose young people to negative ideas so that they grow up being able to discern what is negative and what is not.

The following is a communication I received from a kindergarten teacher shedding light on the point.

“I have used the hierarchy in Kindergarten and was surprised how quickly the Kindergarten students were able to pick up the language and were able to label situations as ‘Anarchy’ and ‘Bullying.’ It was a particularly challenging class. We used the Happy Face poster and discussed how Level A and Level B usually result in tears. We talked about what C and D levels are like in the hallway, in the bathroom, etc.

“It was very effective. Kindergarten students were certainly able to reflect on their behavior and discuss how to change it. It works and it was great!”

Read  more about the Levels of Development.