Friday, December 7, 2012

Deborah Meier on ' How children succeed ' - character education

In my blog post on Paul Tough's ' How children succeed'  I said that trying to promote the 'non-cognitive ' skills such self control, grit and self discipline not in the context of community and cooperative learning,, addressing needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness , using intrinsic motivation and passion to drive learning and solve problems in a collaborative way taking into account kids concerns as well , all we end up is promoting docility and compliance.
I came across Deborah Meier's response on the Dianne Ravitch's blog post on the book.  
The blog post and comments focused mainly on Paul Tough's important contribution on the education and poverty debate and ignored the issue of character education as reflected in KIPP schools. Deborah Meier's insightful comment is on character education.
'Good points re Tough. Diane. But I worry that so many, Tough too, miss the special character strengths that the poor (and stressed) often bring with them to school. Their very strengths (especially if they are males) are seen as weaknesses, including their indomitable feistiness, their independence, their networking, etc. They are seen as traits to be “broken”, and then remade in another image. Kids fight back. And in doing so they are seen as incorrigible! I saw it all the time in 4 and 5 year olds–and, of course, 14-18 year olds. . But instead of encouraging them to hold onto their self-respect, we put it down as a sign of lack of character.
It’s a big subject, and I think you are on the same trail–as has become usual for us–as I am–to see what this “grit” term means when it comes to schooling, and then–who needs to change? The kids or the way the schools (and the larger society and media) respond to them?
I learned a lot just from sitting in the park and watching kids in the sand box–of a most diverse type–and how the adults responded to them and their behavior. Ah well, more another time.'

1 comment:

  1. Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking. – h. jackson brown, jr.
    Children spend lot of time in schools, that's why school can be a better place for character education. Teachers can play important role in character building of students.

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