On Friday, October 25th in for Manitoba’s Educators it was a day of Professional Learning. Our Special Area Groups of Educators (SAGE) Conference provided a wide-range of learning opportunities designed for educators across the Province of Manitoba. One of the most difficult decisions as we approach this day is which session are we going to attend. After reading through the program filled with topics around literacy, numeracy and other curriculum based ideas I decided to attend a session organized by Manitoba Council for Exceptional Children called Motivating the Unmotivated with Chick Moorman.
Myself along with three hundred other educators made our way to the Garden City Canad Inns to gain some new insight and more importantly to take the words from Chick Moorman what are we going to do ‘Next time’ or what can we do Monday in our schools and classrooms. Having done presentations in the area of ‘Teaching Behaviours’ throughout Manitoba as well as attended sessions by some of our leading educators like Randy Sprick (Safe and Civil Schools), George Sugai (Positive School-Wide Behaviour), Dr. Robert Brooks (resilience) as well as more specific behavioural sessions to support students with special needs like ‘Gentle Teaching’, FASD, as well as children with Autism is was not surprising the overriding message in Chick Moorman’s teaching supported all the previous professional development I have given and taken that Discipline is about Teaching and Learning and not punishment.
Although the information confirmed my belief system based on caring, teaching and learning there were some interesting concepts developed in his presentation which coincide with some of the challenges we are facing today. When it comes to teaching children our expectations for what we feel is appropriate behaviours as they relate to their interactions of others (social skills, respect, bullying) as well as creating a child that believes in themselves. The importance of modeling teaching children by touching their spirit was a big part of Chick Moorman’s strategy. Often as parents and educators we use shame and criticism and concentrate on what the child has done wrong instead of teaching them what we need for them to do. Teaching and re-teaching our expectations. ‘Next time’ I need you to…and then teaching them what you need them to do. Concentrate on the behaviour well showing the child you still care.
Perhaps I am in the minority, but I don’t remember my parents ever shaming me or using criticism as their tools to teach me to be respectful, to stand up for myself have a good work ethic. I always knew my parents loved me, that they thought hard work and responsibility was important. Modeled reading and community involvement and neither of them completed high school but both my mom and dad went to work everyday, were kind to others and loved their family even in those times we made choices that didn’t fit into their expectations of us. Chick Moorman and others speak of the importance of parents, teachers and media modeling respectful behaviours.
Research indicates the harm Gossiping does in regards to an individual’s development of appropriate social interactions. Chick Moorman indicates that for Teenage girl’s Facebook and other social media tools are the number one place they gossip. This gossip defined as cyberbullying is often done unanimously. If we remember the premise of teaching as our foundation we need to as George Couros talks about teach and model what we expect from our students and children. So as a parent if I don’t want my children to gossip I need to model and teach those expectations. As an educator George Couros would tell us we need to provide our students with models of how to use the Internet for learning and connecting in an appropriate way.
Chick Moorman also speaks of the inappropriate models on television and the responsiblity of society to teach and model the expectations of responsibility and respect. Many of our shows that our students watch do the opposite. Many of our Politicians are currently modeling behaviours that we would never accept in our homes, in our schools and we certainly shouldn’t accept from those people in public office who need to be held to a higher standard than the average citizen.
Perhaps this was a long way of saying we need to teach our students and children with dignity and respect. To teach behaviour it is like teaching curriculum it is done through Demonstration (Modeling), doing it together (sometimes over and over again), providing guided or short times of them doing it independently, to eventually having the student or child being able to fulfill the expectations independently.