Monday, August 24, 2015

America’s 21st Century Teacher: Security, Character, Pedagogy

The 2015 school year is upon us and the 21st century teacher must safeguard, inspire, and instruct students throughout America.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 50.1 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools in 2015.

The public school system will employ about 3.1 million full time teachers in nearly 98,500 schools.

An additional 4.9 million will attend private schools and 20.2 million students are expected to attend American colleges and universities.

This educational system is the heart of America's future.

School Security Is Indispensable

One of many training initiatives for educators must include “Early Warning Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools” by the U.S. Department of Education. This classic document includes intervention for student warning signs including the following:

• Social withdrawal
• Excessive feelings of isolation or being alone
• Being a victim of violence
• Feelings of being picked on and persecuted
• Low school interest / poor academic performance
• Uncontrolled anger
• Patterns of impulsive and chronic hitting, intimidating, and bullying
• Expression of violence in writings
• History of discipline problems
• Past history of violent aggressive behavior
• Drug and alcohol use
• Affiliation with gangs
• Intolerance for differences and prejudicial attitudes
• Inappropriate access to, possession of, and use of firearms
• Serious threats of violence

This document is compulsory because as we continually see with tragedies, warning signs were ignored and the violence was preventable.

Character Education

America’s teachers must also make character education paramount.

Our character crisis, expressed through continuous scandals throughout society, did not happen overnight. It will take generations to transform
America and we must begin now with full-force dedication through our schools.

Our youth must light the torch of character and keep the flame burning bright. Their energy, enthusiasm, and generosity will build a better world.

The youth of our nation are a priceless treasure and deserve encouragement. Their families, communities, educators, and nation are entrusting them with America’s future.

Our youth deserve good example, commitment, and guidance to ignite a renewal of character within the nation.

The Preventive System

In my opinion, there are essentially two basic forms of educational pedagogy in American schools.

There is the repressive system which makes rules known, watches for transgressions, and is quick to discipline a student by inflicting condescending correction and punishment.

The misguided zero tolerance policy in so many schools is an example of this bureaucratic, impersonal, and repressive rigid system.

An effective pedagogy is the preventive system of education. In this system, educators are vigilant in a caring manner and offer inspirational guidance from the heart consistent with kindness, character, and reasonableness.

The preventive system of education builds trust and connections with students, coworkers, and the community.

Opposed to zero tolerance, the preventive system is a measured intervention approach promoting reasonableness, dignity, and respect.

Simply expressed, the repressive system is dictatorial and may temporarily stop a disorder but will not inspire students. The preventive system speaks the language of the heart and is transformational.

These are some of the principles of the preventive system of education, deserving cultivation in America’s schools:

• Teachers inspire admiration from youth entrusted to their care
• Teachers are respected as individuals with character and motivate the same in their students
• The edifice of the preventive system is character with pillars including respect, responsibility, fairness, and citizenship
• A vigilant, caring presence is exercised to prevent inappropriate behavior and reward proper behavior
• Improvements with behavior are motivated through kindness and respect rather than accentuating punishment
• A collaborative and speedy intervention to warning signs takes place due to the educators' presence and awareness
• Educators influence through positive attitudes, professionalism, and approachability
• Discipline can be as effective as an expression of disappointment or a reproachful look because the student admires the teacher and is loyal, respectful, and courteous
• Students are affirmed for their qualities and do not lose heart when mistakes are made
• Students are encouraged to do what is right through the teacher’s patience, guidance, and understanding

Final Reflections

The American school system is critical to the future of the nation.

America’s reawakening will take place when security, character education, and the preventive system of education are made paramount by our teachers throughout our schools, colleges, and universities.

Note Well

Linkedin: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

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As authored for Vincent’s weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times, 35 countries, 21 languages and growing.

1. Cover- Teacher in early childhood setting, May 1, 2008. (Public Domain / woodleywonderworks)
2. Copies of "Early Warning Timely Response..." presented to all North Arlington Public Schools (New Jersey) professional development program attendees, Vincent J. Bove keynote, Sept. 3, 2013. (Vincent J. Bove)
3. Students from the Union City Public Schools attend Vincent J. Bove presentation titled "Be a Person of Character: Change the World, February 27, 2009 (Vincent J. Bove)

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