Debunking the Myth of ControlPosted by Pamela M. Jones in Fair Is Not Equal on Aug 05, 2012
Embracing the Potential of "Letting Go"
With the new school year quickly approaching, many teachers are no doubt thinking about how to establish their "voice" and "role" in the classroom. Becoming effective "managers" of student behavior is a skill that many administrators have privileged for quite some time. We're challenging you to submit to a paradigm shift when it comes to the teacher-student dynamic--from a control-driven mindset to one guided by learning to let go gradually of the reigns of control in the classroom. When teachers aim to "control" students' behavior, little room is left for information-sharing, honest dialogue, and (most importantly) relationship building.
A focus on control usually means a top-down dynamic whereby the teacher's voice is privileged over the students'. The challenge with this scenario is the following: If we're aiming to support our students' growth, we need to open our minds up to the potential inherent in a democratic approach to behavioral intervention where students' voices and ideas are heard and factored into the daily life of the classroom.
At this point in the posting, you may be asking yourself about those "rubber meets the road" moments (or, stated even more plainly, the more "practical" matter of you [the teacher] being responsible for your students' academic, behavioral, and socio-emotional growth). We hear you!
The onus on you IS different from that on the students, for sure; you will need to do all of the things that effective teachers do--namely, clarify and establish your role. Just remember this important point: establishing your role and voice does not mean that you should seek to control your students. Though seemingly counterintuitive, releasing the reigns of control can actually lead to you being a far more effective (and "in control") teacher: taking you from manager to interventionist.
How do you feel about being challenged to "let go" of the control mindset? Does this shift resonate with you, or are you still wrestling with the potential drawbacks associated with releasing control (and if you are, it's totally normal)? Either way, we'd love to hear your thoughts!tagged control, learning to let go