1. Compliance makes it seem like a negative experience for students and teachers. I would way rather be involved in relationships where we are both excited about what is happening with in the classroom.

    • George

      What do you believe they should be? Would love to hear your thoughts on what education needs to do to move forward.

      • Chris

        The main goal of education is to create a knowledgeable society. Empowerment is more personalized which in my opinion will foster an ignorant public

        • Angela

          I think this is a great discussion! I am glad that we can voice our thinking. I worry about empowerment to some extent. Yes, students SHOULD be motivated to learn. We should bring up children to be inquisitive and thoughtful. I am leaning towards what Chris thinks. We have our youth right now protesting / rioting and when interviewed many of them don’t ever really know why. But they feel entitled (empowered) to be able to smash buildings.

          Great discussion! I will follow!

          • Chris

            I agree with Angela. I think empowerment has been taken a tad too far. Her point on all of the rioting is a perfect example of the students skewed belief in empowerment, without any compliance or obedience. We need to be careful in how we are conveying these terms.

          • Lori Polachek

            i think empowerment – (having and expressing one’s own perspectives and voice), coupled with empathy and respect is how we might think about it.

            Detached from respect and empathy it is nothing more then anarchy and/ or disrespect or disregard for the property and/or well- being, or perspectives of others.

            I think empowerment is important for cultivating responsible citizens. It must be cultivated though, within the broader context of respect for others. These seem like really important skills and attitudes to impart on students.

  2. Lori Polachek

    I think the goal of education ought to be:

    1) Self discovery and awareness,
    2) Civic discovery and awareness,
    3) Personal and civic responsibility
    4) Applying ones personal gifts/talents/passions toward impacting the world around them for the better.

    The rest, in my mind, are strategies to get there.

  3. This graphic wonderfully mirrors the idea that I seek to fulfill with my HS Innovation class. We always start with the WHY. My students work towards creating their own WHY. I may be in my own “filter bubble” but I see this trending and hope it continues.
    May I credit you and use your graphic?

  4. Aaron Kammerman

    Frankly, I think you may be attacking a strawman of sorts. I get your argument about empowerment, AND I have no trouble with a teacher that would like compliance. Perhaps the teacher was talking about compliance with regard to simple behaviors – and not necessarily homework completion.

    I consider the behaviors I see in many classes I’ve witnessed over the past couple of years. Students who are completely defiant. Students who seemingly have no qualms about bold-faced lying to teachers, who make X-rated comments to peers and staff, students who wander the halls at their leisure. I’ve witnessed my children’s teachers struggle with 30+ students in their class, wherein 4-5 non-compliant students literally ruin the day… .almost every day. I’ve seen my children not want to go to school because of the behaviors of their peers, and I’ve seen my children lament over the treatment their teachers receive at the hands of their peers.

    Your visual is helpful, but I submit that there are some students who aren’t even on that page, yet. And all the wonderful teaching strategies on the planet may be futile until they learn a measure of obedience (which is the parents’ job, by the way).

    Obedience not as an end goal, but a simple level of obedience as a sign of respecting and trusting the teacher. That is not an unreasonable expectation.

    • George

      Hey Aaron…Thanks for your comments. As stated in the post, there are some levels of compliance that are needed in the world, and respecting each other is crucial in our classrooms. As you, I know that educators are in the classrooms and they have the best understanding of the students they serve, but what is our vision of where we want to go? How are we developing our students as both people and learners? That is what I am trying to focus on here. Thanks for your comment!

      • Aaron Kammerman

        Yeah. I don’t think we are at a disagreement; I just felt defensive for the teacher you were taking to task in the opening of your piece. “What if that teacher is tired and just wants more respect!?” I thought.
        Ha Ha!
        I admit that I was projecting.
        Keep up the good work. Saw you at a keynote some years back in Utah. Good stuff.

  5. Kadange V. Mvula

    Whereas compliance is good and important for the learners, as educators we should also aim at helping them to start thinking outside the box if they are to be useful and fit in the future world, lest their behaviour will be like robots.

  6. Dr. Cyndy Woods-Wilson

    We teach baby birds to fly, then they explore with newfound abilities. Same with students. Some crashes occur, but we’ve embedded logic and how to use your brain to find and/or figure out life’s conundrums. Compliance is everywhere, from listening politely, to driving on the correct side of the road. True “knowing” is creating the right response to new situations. Knowledge is the ability to productively use your brain to think, solve, create. All boxes have vanished.

  7. Louka

    I agree George. It take courage to move the agency from ourselves to our students. It is the necessary next step forward and, of course, truly excellent teachers do this already. I’d also say that the framework applies at a leadership level on the connectedness of staff to the school at either compliance, identification or embedded levels.

  8. This is an interesting conversation, Pal.

    My take has always been that if kids leave our schools without realizing that THEY can change the world for the better — that THEY can have a positive impact on their families, their communities and their countries — we’ve failed.

    Cultures that promote compliance and obedience rarely send those messages. They leave kids with the notion that “more important people make the most important decisions.” And that breaks my heart.

    This also reminds me of my recent fidget spinners argument: My kids are compliant and obedient in class because MOST of the time, they are wrestling with provocative, age appropriate ideas. Compliance and obedience doesn’t have to be something that we do TO kids. It should be a natural extension of good instruction. Disobedience, then, becomes a symptom of instruction that needs to be rethought.

    Dug thinking with you this morning. Hope you are well!


  9. Hello.This post was extremely fascinating, particularly because I was browsing for thoughts on this subject last Friday.

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