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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: Teacher-student relationships

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October 31, 2014 at 5:00 AM

NYU research: Don’t punish students for their temperaments

It’s easy to overlook and underestimate shy children, and they can suffer academically because they aren’t the squeaky wheel getting the grease.

But you can’t just force them out of their shells anymore than you can turn an antsy kid who easily flips out into someone who handles stress calmly and quietly.

Sometimes parents and teachers believe a shy kid (or a typically jumpy kid prone to disruption) can just be forced to change. But core personality traits ­— a complex amalgam of genetics and early experience — can’t just be transformed on command to fit the requirements of school.

“To discipline or punish a child for their temperament is really cruel because that’s not going to change,” said Sandee McClowry, a professor of counseling psychology at New York University.

So rather than trying to change a child’s temperament to fit the school, McClowry is looking for ways that schools can work with different types of kids, easing them into more productive behaviors.


Comments | Topics: school discipline, Science of learning, Teacher-student relationships

October 15, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Kids need a second chance to make a first impression

Kids’ reputations often precede them as they move from grade to grade, with teachers giving each other a heads up about who’s a troublemaker and who’s likely to ace every assignment.

But Brooke Perry, a sixth-grade teacher in the Kent School District, says she’s learned to keep an open mind about her students, regardless of what she’s heard about them, according to a recent post she wrote reflecting on her first month of the new school year for the Puget Sound Educational Service District.

Full disclosure: kids change. Here’s another hard hitting fact: not all student-teacher relationships are created equal. Because of these two things, I’m come to understand that I cannot rely solely on word of mouth, and that it is absolutely paramount to allow time to build your own unique relationship with your new students, before passing judgment.

Word of mouth is not the only way that teachers can form misleading snap judgments about students.


Comments | More in News | Topics: Teacher-student relationships