Using your reflections about teaching to become a better teacher

One of the things I love about psychology is that it encourages people to be courageous about looking inward and evaluating self honestly. This kind of thinking, in my opinion, should extend to your teaching practice. If you think honestly about “how things are going,” in the classroom or in the home, or inside your own motivations (i.e. are you bored with your teaching?), it provides you with an opportunity to think about what you can do differently to produce a different outcome. Be brutally honest about where the gaps are between what you want from your students, and what you are getting, and then, use those reflections about teaching to craft new approaches. When working with (or parenting) children, it is important to remember that you are in control. While there are certainly a lot of other influences on children’s behavior, while a child is in your care, you have the authority to dictate the climate and the rules in that situation.

In short, teaching and parenting is most usefully thought of as a connection between inputs and outputs. The inputs are your behaviors and decisions, and the outputs are the responses of the children. For me, the essence of being a good parent and teacher is a matter of intentionality. Think about what you intend to teach, what lesson you intend to communicate, and what type of learning you intend to inspire, and then intentionally craft lessons and practices that are most likely to produce those intended results. I wish to provide you with a quick overview of how I used this focus on my reflections about teaching and intentionality in my own teaching practice. Continue reading “Using your reflections about teaching to become a better teacher”

Discipline without spanking

The integration of my practice as an educational psychologist and my daily life as a father has compelled me to avoid the use of corporal punishment with my children. Decades of psychological research on effective parenting discipline* emphasize three main methods for teaching our children right from wrong without resorting to physical punishment.

  • The most important thing we can do as parents is to provide our children with the ability to learn from their mistakes. Think about this: Haven’t your mistakes been times when you have incommensurately grown as a person? Humans are wired to seek equilibrium in our lives. When we make a mistake, the brain’s main focus becomes the understanding of what we did wrong, and the creative search for alternative ways to approach similar situations in the future. The same processes are true for children. When we discipline our children, we trigger in them a desire to understand what happened, so that they can get back to feeling like the world is a comprehensible place.

Continue reading “Discipline without spanking”