Teaching the ABCs of self-control

Schools are teaching the ABCs of self-control to help disadvantaged students succeed, reports the Washington Post.  The story starts at D.C. Prep Public Charter School, a “no excuses” school for students in grades four through eight.

The children do not speak in the hallways or classroom unless spoken to by a teacher. They navigate the hallways single file. Throughout their eight-hour school day, they bring to each class charts on which they record, as the teachers decree, behaviors, both good and bad, listed on a key. This key lists 26 behaviors, A through Z. Failure to meet any of them results in detention.

Students serving in-school suspension wear green mesh pinnies over their navy-blue polo shirts and leave the classroom last. They are not allowed to speak for the day and nobody speaks to them.

Ibby Jeppson, DCP’s director of resource development, said students need to understand the “expectations of the broader culture” they hope to enter.

In an e-mail, Jeppson says that the message needs to be clear to students and parents alike: “The small-stuff expectations are linked to important life skills: being on time, being dependable and being there every day, dressing appropriately.”

. . . “Research shows that willpower and self-discipline are stronger predictors of success than pure intellectual talent,” Jeppson says.

Others schools have turned to character-based education, “mindfulness meditation” and “social emotional learning” to teach self-control, reports the Post.  It’s all part of the campaign to build persistence, resilience and “grit.”

A 2012 documentary, Room to Breathe, describes an attempt to calm a troubled San Francisco school by teaching meditative breathing and body and mind awareness. 

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  1. What a horrible thing to push on young people, especially of such subcultures. Did it ever occur to the admins that maybe speaking one’s mind and being heard is a good thing? That maybe disagreeing with ‘the man’ is not necessarily a bad thing? That some subcultures (like that of the African American) do not favor being slient over being heard? Sure, go ahead and suppress some more subcultures… Why not?

    • GEORGE LARSON says:

      Good Trolling

    • Stacy in NJ says:

      This is a charter school and parents are choosing to enroll their kids. I, for one, respect the rights of parents to seek out the environment they feel is most appropriate for their child rather than being forced into a local district school with no other option.

    • Sure, go ahead and suppress some more subcultures… Why not?

      To be honest I can’t think of any reasons not to. I can think of many reasons to support a policy of surpressing subcultures? How about because they lead to generations of failure and dependency?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Rock of Aegis- no, in a school situation, kids need to respect the teacher, whether they agree or not. Think of it this way – could they get away with that behavior at a job? If no, then certainly the minmum acceptable level of behavior has not been met.

    • Am I the only one (besides possibly Geo Larson) who read this as sarcasm?

  2. Richard Aubrey says:

    So how’s that subculture doing unsuppressed?

  3. wahoofive says:

    Sounds more like preparing them for life in prison than in the work world. How many of you aren’t allowed to talk in the hallways at your job? Great power trip for authoritarian-minded teachers, though!

  4. As an African American black woman, I am glad to see this type of thing being promoted in our communities (I am assuming this is a predominately black charter school). The mayhem and foolishness I witness in our culture on a daily basis is a mess. Previous generations went through slavery and Jim Crow and compared to those times the levels of disrespect and blatant disregard for others is intolerable. Doesn’t this go along with the “it takes a village” crowd that says “we” (the village) have to step in and do what the parents refuse to do? My grandmother once told me that the reason why her generation was so strict in disciplining was “better I whoop you out of love and to set you straight than have someone whoop you upside your head because you have no sense.”

  5. No surprise really….school is just glorified childcare, turning out naive, infantile, compliant, ignorant, selfish, frightened, lonely people. Perfect consumers and cannon fodder, yes men, and haters-on-command. Homeschool, if you can. If you can’t, don’t bother with the trouble of being a foster owner of a state drone. No, not the flying kind.