Friday, 11 July 2014

On 'Being' Naughty - and what the academics are saying

Whyalla Educators on the ball!

It is helpful that academics highlight that schools in many instances are applying 'behaviour management' principles and processes which are aligned to a 'one size fits all' philosophy, a punishment model. This model contradicts the constructivist model of learning and teaching promoted via the Australian Curriculum. Educators are required to assess personal capabilities and competencies, design curriculum content that will develop students to achieve personal best outcomes and to assess and report accordingly. When it comes to behaviour however some schools (many?) expect all students to behave according to a set of rules that all 'must' abide by. This duality of philsosophic confusion sends mixed messages to all; do students learn better when learning and teaching considers 'where they are at' in terms of constructivist theory or when it is assumed that they are all at the same level of general capability? Do we manage behaviour (i think this is appropriate for some students) or do we educate them according to constructivist principles of learning? Rational Emotive Behaviour Education is the application of constructivist theory in daily practice which helps students gain insight into how they have constructed their own personal philosophies about themselves, others and the world and how these constructions are linked to how they respond emotionally and behaviourally to happenings in their day to day learning and living. Accordingly I agree with this article that kids are not and cannot 'be' naughty, however they can 'act' naughtily. They (we) 'are' not their (our) behaviours. The label of 'naughty' is a nonsense that we perpetuate through a system of behaviour learning/management based on an 'everyone is the same' principle. Talk to teachers in Whyalla who have been teaching Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy principles in daily teaching practice for more that 3 years now. Talk to Cathryn Herbert, principal of Hincks Avenue Primary School and Jan Burton principal of Whyalla Stuart Campus R/7 or Bryan Rotherham principal at Long Street Primary and they will tell you that global rating terms like naughty, bad, good, a shit etc are not used as teachers are trained in providing behaviour and not person specific feedback to students who may choose good/bad behaviours but are not good/bad people! These educators oversee the application of Rational Emotive Behaviour Education across all curriculum areas according to constructivist theory and based on Albert Ellis' Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy. This is happening under the noses of academics who have not invested any time or interest in the great work of educators working in very demanding and challenging contexts in Whyalla. Or have I missed something?