The factory model of schooling undermines teacher nurturing

Don Berg said:

I suspect that most teachers are nurturing, or at least want to be, and that they already make a meaningful difference in the lives of some small proportion of their students despite the nature of the system.

But as wonderful as that is, the system has no mechanism for supporting, let alone encouraging, individual nurturing behaviors. In fact, the system suppresses nurturing behaviors.

In 2009 the peer-reviewed journal Educational Psychologist published a literature review article by Professor Johnmarshall Reeve on why the majority of teachers act in ways that thwart the primary psychological need for autonomy.

He suggests that both the system and the individuals in the situations studied reinforce behaviors that are exactly the opposite of nurturing in a variety of ways, not because of back room conspiracies nor venal depravity, but because of tragic misunderstandings.

The deleterious effects of the system overwhelm the positive effects of nurturing individuals because the system is currently organized in a manner that undermines nurturing, the very foundation upon which education is built.

Ironic, don’t you think?

The system is not all-powerful, so it does not always undermine the foundation completely.

But it does its undermining work relentlessly day after day after day and it does more harm than most people want to acknowledge.

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One Response to “The factory model of schooling undermines teacher nurturing”

  1. Just yesterday I was having a conversation with a kindergarten teacher who works at a school with a very high population of students who participate in the free and reduced lunch program due to low family income. This person has been teaching for 15 years and has a masters in school counseling. She has always been received well by her students, administrators, and parents. She was being reviewed by her administrator and was told that her student data was too low and she needed to do more of what the other kindergarten teachers were doing. (test prep) There was no mention of pedagogical practices, community building, social emotional development etc. It was clearly stated that her students needed to perform better on 1 specific standardized assessment. If she fails to bring up her students scores she will be considered an ineffective teacher. This is kindergarten!! For a majority of these students this is their first experience with a school type environment. She is being told to forgo spending time on things that will develop these children into confident learners and that she must spend more time on test practice. Did I mention these kids are in kindergarten!! We’ve reduced these kids to mere numbers and forgotten that we are actually teaching children who will grow up to be adults who will have very little use for what we are “training” them for in school.

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