Sunday, November 3, 2013

Procedures learned in a boarding school have applications in schools. Join me in applying these procedures in your classroom...

I received a comment from a person who went to a boarding school.  She has noticed a change in the policies of her old school....  

I teach college and I too use many of the techniques described in the list you had. Most of those techniques were not as a result of research or pedagogical learning but seemed to be intuitive. Yes, probably internalized from many experiences at BCD Boarding School. It seems just common sense to know that people/students want to be treated with respect, that they want to know that they are cared about and that as in anything when people are allowed to participate/contribute they have some ownership in the outcome and with ownership one starts to care more.

Anyway, that’s another discussion. Regarding BCD Boarding School, I must say that I have long ago given up on the school today. It is not the same school that I attended in the early 90s, even given societal changes etc. It is regrettable, but I do not feel the same compunction as you do to ‘make the administration see/understand what they are missing’.  It seems that the main aim today is to run a competitive and profitable school. BCD Boarding School’s original  objective was different. It was driven by the vision of educating the whole person. I doubt that is the current (real) objective. 

I think the efforts to preserve what we had is useful and that such a store of memories/knowledge might guide people when they are ready to be guided.

my comments:  BCD Boarding School is located in North America.  Its identify is obscured to make the discussion generic.  It doesn't matter what school it is... the point is that schools go through changes... Any school that goes through a change has this sort of discussion, where new management misses the opportunity to listen to the alumni and former staff.

The key issues here are related to "how does the system get improved"?  Dr. Deming had some comments about this process of innovation.  SEE "14 Points Dr Deming" -- I post these comments here to ask teachers to share their perspective about "how do you find good procedures"?   The writer and I both pull many of our procedures from "what makes sense" and procedures that we internalized from our boarding school days.

Where do you get your procedures that work (to building character in students)?  send your comments to 

The list of procedures...
From the core guidelines of "delayed gratification" and "planned hardships," we can derive values and procedures:

1. What do we value? Learning to appreciate nature. Procedure: Reward the students with points for spending time in nature.

2. What do we value? Teenagers who know how to make conversation and see the good in each other. Procedure: Ask teachers to eat with the students, preferably lunch and dinner.

3. What do we value? Time spent by teenagers thinking about big issues and important ideas. Procedure: A Thought for the Day. The entire school sits to listen to a short talk, usually given by a teacher, and then the group ponders the words for at least three minutes in silence.

4. What do we value? Time spent by teachers and other adults with students outside the classroom. Students can see their teachers following passions away from academics. Procedure: The teacher leads an activity, usually an extracurricular club (chess, fencing, cultural expedition, field trips, weekend trip to another city, hike in nature).  

5.  What do we value?   What a gift it would be to see ourselves as others see us.  Procedure:  A system to tell students what we see in them and underscore their moral evolution with awards.  Labels like “standard bearer” and “standard bearer candidate” communicate the level of responsibility that the student has achieved in the school community.

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