Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Are Our Students Allowed to Flex Their Decision Making Muscles?

"Simply put, we have fallen in love with the illusory certainty of making a choice, and abandoned any shared commitment to investing in the long and careful deliberative process that is necessary to ensure that the decisions we do make are both well informed and thoughtfully constructed."

These sentiments came from: the Education Week article In Modern School Reform is it We the People or Me the Individual?

I agree whole-heartedly, I just haven't articulated it the way they have. As a middle school teacher, this is what you lose when you create "zero-tolerance" policies. This is what you lose when you evaluate instruction with selected response assessments. There's no wiggle room, no second chances, no mercy and no grace. We are teaching our children that making "good" decisions is a natural innate ability. We give little room for growth to reflect that one's ability to make the right decision comes more easily over time and maturity, or that decision making is more like a muscle and only gets better with exercising. When an adolescent makes a mistake now-a-days, they are severely punished ...imagine how this discourages their faith in their ability to make good choices throughout life? 

I know that is not the central thesis of this of this article, but I couldn't help but pull it out. It is definitely a problem in our schools. 

Time is a major factor. So much as to get done in a certain amount of time, and we simply ignore the differences in time it takes different individuals to process information. 

How can teachers and parents help students flex their decision making muscles?

How do you feel about "zero-tolerance"? 

In what ways can we teach children to enjoy the process instead of focusing solely on the product?

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