No-Nonsense? Nonsense!

DSC_0107Our local CBS affiliate posted a public opinion question this morning. The “No Nonsense Nurturing” is rearing its ugly head once again because teachers and schools using this program (see link ) have gained some news cycle traction: teachers are being told not to use “please” or “thank you” with students.

As Amy Berard, former Lawrence Public School teacher, so eloquently wrote, the program requires teachers to speak with students according to a script. Don’t say please. Don’t say thank-you. Be direct, speak without inflection. Don’t give students a choice.

Oxymoronically named, the program does anything but nurture. Teachers are commanded not to use polite language as it might cause the teacher to appear to be less powerful, to lose “control”. Is this what education has come to? Power and compliance?

As a classroom teacher with thirty years experience, this trend in education policy to find the one program that will magically turn all students into acquiescent sheep troubles me. Educators don’t need to be trained and practiced professionals who have the skills in child psychology and classroom management to read the room and respond to what the students’ needs might be. No, all one needs is the magical script, training and consultant available for an extra fee.

I spent the whole of my teaching career empowering students to learn by making choices, modeling acceptable social interactions, and still managed to keep 20-30 young learners from swinging from the light fixtures. Students need to learn from decision-making and practice making good choices. As a colleague in my last school used to say, “you win or lose by how you choose”.

An educator recently made this thoughtful observation:

One of the Great Truths of Ed. Reform is that we cheer on reforms
that affect Other Peoples’ Kids, but that we would never tolerate for our own

Is this the kind of nurturing we want for our children? Puh-leeze.