Wednesday, March 05, 2008

You Can't Make Me! (CEC Blog)

This week’s topic is compliance, student compliance, that is,…not legal compliance... I had been keenly aware prior to this conference that every time I make a request (or a demand) of a student, I give that student the opportunity to defy me, because “no” is always an option. If the teacher admits to the students, “I can’t make you do anything” (which is SO true), then you gain some credibility with them because they already know that! Dr. Maag asks the question, do we want compliant students or do we want to develop students who are independent thinkers? If the answer is the latter, then perhaps we can rephrase our demands as questions (e.g., “What do we do next?”) Doing so puts the student in a position of power, which by the way, does NOT diminish the teacher’s power. They will only respect you for that. One more point that he makes: Compliance in one area leads to compliance in another area. If you can get the student to agree with you on ANYTHING, such as the fact that you’ve never been able to get the student to complete any work, then at least you’ve made some progress. More...

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