Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Going Green

In the elementary school system we have something called a behavior chart. Most of the classrooms that you walk into will have some kind of color system - green, yellow, and red. The obvious color to avoid being red.

There are also teachers who have a "Bad List" on the board. I'm sure you can recall a teacher who added students names to the board when they did something unacceptable.

Children who act out do so for a reason. They want (and possibly need) attention. When we call them out in front of the class, ask them to go move their stick to red, or plaster their name to the white-board for all of their peers to see, we've given them that attention. You might as well pull back the curtain and let them have center stage.

Then you have the almost perfect student who never gets in trouble and makes straight A's, but you never seem to pay him/her any attention. Do you notice how backwards we do things? It makes more sense to point out a students positive behavior and display their name on the board so that their choices can be brought into focus.

Think about it.

When a child makes a scene in class all of the other students' heads turn and they place their attention on him/her; the negative behavior. But if we were to instead continually be enthusiastic about those who are making the right choice, heads would then turn and the focus would be on the positive behavior that we are seeking.

Sure, it makes it very challenging on a teacher. It's so easy to ignore the good kid who makes straight A's and is never a disruption in your class while giving all of your time to the one kid whose actions do not deserve your attention. But challenges are fun! They bring an opportunity for growth.

A teacher who reverses her behavior system and makes students earn their way to green is going to have to learn how to begin looking for the positive. That is going to take time, but I think it's worth it in the big scheme of things.

Could their quite possibly be a biblical parallel here?

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