Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Is teaching all about Control?

“Do you have control over your class?” “ She does not have control over her class.” “ He does not control his class at all.” “ You need control over your students.” I have heard questions and statements like these a lot in my teaching career. It would appear that teaching is all about control, control, control. It is not. It is about building relationships with students. Learning follows. Get away from the “mind set” of control. Then sit back and watch the results.

For more on this topic see Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community, Alfie Kohn, http://amzn.to/kLSQzD as recommended by Scott McLeod below. @mcleod


  1. Yes! The only thing a teacher should control in their classroom is what they eat for lunch. As for the students, it's THEIR learning! Great post!

  2. Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community, Alfie Kohn, http://amzn.to/kLSQzD is a GREAT read on this topic!

  3. Ahhh . . . so true. It's not about control but rather setting clear expectations and acting as a strong (dare I say likable?) leader whom the students will naturally want to follow. The second a middle grade or high school student senses the teacher is trying to control him/her, the teacher has lost.

  4. At my kids' school two intermediate teachers didn't come back after Spring Break, apparently on stress leave. I have a feeling their approach to control was at the core of the issues they were having in their classrooms. My thoughts on demanding compliance being a way of faking engagement are posted here .

  5. During the era of industrial education, a teacher could be placed on probation or on the unsatisfactory track if s/he could not manage student behavior. That skill was more important than content knowledge. During the era of globalization teachers are now expected to build communities where troublesome behavior is solved as a community. To promote the risk taking and maverick thinking necessary to be successful in an innovation-based and technology-based economy, teachers must learn to "share power".

    During industrial era of education,students were rewarded for obedience, physical quietude, punctuality with graduation. Relinquishing their power and control to the teacher prepared them for a life made prosperous by taking orders from a foreman in a plant, or through the repetitive tasks of an office, or the armed services.

    The game has changed. Classrooms and teachers must move from compliance to community.