classrooms of conscripted students

[From Tracy Harms (980205.21 PST)]

quoting [Stefan Balke (970130)]

[Bill Powers (980127.0133 MST)]

I want to say, what all the others said before, thanks for that
great post Bill.

I concur, Stefan, and add my voice to this chorus of gratitude.

You ask Bill:

Do you mean that the teachers should better use the MOL process
with the students instead of making plans and giving advices? If
so, would this include to ask why-questions (e.g. why did you
disturb again?) in order to reach the higher level. Ed shows us,
that why questions will directly lead to excuses, but not to take
responsibility for the own behavior.

Having had the pleasure of being led by Bill, one on one, through some
casual (but not light) exploration of higher-control-level stuff, I'll
venture that your envisioned questions are not what he has in mind. The
trick is to catch the other person's interest in noticing something
which they are interested in but which they had not been *aware* that
they were interested in. (Interest always correlates with "control" qua
PCT, naturally.) That enlarged awareness may make changes possible
which were not previously possible. At the very least in this process
it is easy to be respectful toward the person in question because you
(1) actually interested in some fact or aspect of their life, and
(2) showing interest in something that *they* value.

Could it be a possibility to ask a student why it is so important
_not_ to be held responsible for a disturbance and how it feels to
be responsible?

To be blunt, this sounds like blaming and guilt-mongering to me.

A disruptive kid isn't really willing to deal with the teacher, at
least it doesn't share the goal of the teacher, that everybody in
the classroom should follow the rules. They control for other
perceptions like to be accepted by the others or having fun.
Could it be possible to do a MOL session, if the explorer has the
goal to hide his insights?

If 'making plans' and 'giving advices' doesn't go far and the MOL
is strictly based on a non-directive way, what else could work ?
To create a trustful relationship at first ?

Best, Stefan

Now I must make clear that I am about to speak my own mind, and not in
any way represent what Bill -- or any other PCT defender -- thinks on
these matters. I move into a realm of ethics where content goes beyond
what PCT alone can resolve.

I must also admit that I have not gotten to study Ed Ford's writings,
despite my intent to do so. For the moment I operate on the fragments
which have appeared on the internet, and commentaries such as Bill's
reply of (980131.0134 MST). I further want to make clear that I'm glad
Ed's work is published; I think it has much value and I expect to use
his advice and insights to improve my own parenting.

Why all these disclaimers? Because I wish to point out something which
most schools seem to work hard to avoid admitting: Students are
traditionally and habitually denied genuine choice.

One impressive thing about Ed's approach is that it keeps attention to
those places where effective choice is available to the student, and
takes the teacher out of the role of sometimes-offering,
sometimes-denying opportunities. That is important, but it is
incomplete. What is missing is a ready and complete recognition of the
choices the powerful ("teachers", "adults") have typically made to
restrict the autonomy of their captives ("students", "children").

There are atypical situations; not all children are systematically
victimized. But these exceptions are far too few. Regardless of
whether or not one joins me in rejecting the forcing of "direction" onto
the lives of children, one can see that PCT implies that such forcing
must be expected to be the source of conflict. So it is that I tend to
get livid at the routine presumption that "classroom disruption" is
indicative of shortcomings in the "problem child". The problems arise
mainly because some people are being involved against their willingness,
and no *morally* satisfactory address may be given to such a situation
without recognizing that fact front and center.

My experience indicates that many teachers take any move in the
direction of clarifying this as a disruption. They will go to amazing
lengths to dodge and deny it. Others, including Ed Ford, are more or
less quick to admit that there are things they do as teachers which deny
students basic liberties. That is better, and it is probably enough to
make a PCT-driven improvement effort work. But it is not enough for me.

Yes, Stefan, I would recommend to create a trustful relationship at
first. I propose that a trustful relationship is best built from a
complete acceptance of the autonomy of the person whose trust you seek.
It is unfortunate that most schools don't let teachers do this.
Correction -- it is not merely unfortunate, it is truly tragic.

Tracy Harms
Bend, Oregon