We all have high expectations for our students, but how do we convey that? Do we elicit fear or respect?
Respect is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone or something considered important or held in high esteem or regard. It conveys a sense of admiration for good or valuable qualities. (Wikipedia)
If our teaching is fear-based, we cannot expect students to be respectful of us as teachers. When we put ourselves at the centre of their classroom experience, rather than their learning, their mental energy goes into survival mode for dealing with their fear, rather than promoting their thinking. Ultimately, education needs to be liberating. Fear has the opposite effect.
Respect vs Fear
- In our desire to have an orderly classroom, do we instil fear?
- Is punishment our go-to method of motivating students?
- Do we value compliance rather than creativity, rote learning rather than discussion and thoughtful engagement?
- Do we use sarcasm or other kinds of “jokes” to humiliate or belittle students who are non-compliant?
- When technology is brought into the classroom, automatically the teacher is no longer the centre of attention. A computer cannot be judgemental or sarcastic, so the class becomes less threatening.
- Because the students are working on their own on a task, it frees you as the teacher to engage in one-on-one discussions in a less threatening manner; this could even be virtual via online comments.
- Students are freer to work at their own pace, and have the opportunity to incrementally correct and develop their ideas rather than having the pressure and consequent fear induced by a once-off task.