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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/16/11

Applying Elementary Teaching Principles to World Behavior, Part 1

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I recently posted an article titled, "Brain Structure Differences in Liberals and Conservatives" click here

I was challenged by Meryl Ann Butler to see if these principles might be applied to world behavior (our correspondence via comment is in the link). I said I'd rise to the challenge, and herein I begin, by listing some primary principles that I argue should apply. Future articles will elaborate on these and probably a few others, but herein I lay out some basic principles that led to successful teaching for me with kids from one of the most diverse elementary schools in the world (Mountain View Elementary, Salt Lake City, Utah). I know there is some redundancy here, but I anticipate that will "filter out" as we go along.

Fairness: Each person is treated fairly, with no favoritism.

Kindness: Kindness to each other is modeled, practiced, expected.

Authority: There is an authority, called the teacher, though each person is expected to become their own authority.

Dignity: Each person has human dignity, and they are to be treated accordingly. No put downs.

Acceptance of differences: There are different backgrounds, cultures, religions, values, and these are to be accepted unless and until they interfere with another person's right to dignity.

Principles: The classroom is run on principles, not rules, as principles are much broader, flexible, and can be applied to different situations. It is expected that conflicts may arise in this area, but consensus on principles is vastly superior to inventing new rules for new situations and creative infractions that arise over time.

Information gathering: Before decisions are made, as much information gathering as is practically feasible is completed. This generally helps define and further solve the problem.

Honesty, no lying: Complete honesty, or the nearest possible thing to it, is expected. Lying is not tolerated, and will be penalized.

Logic: Basic logic, extending even into scientific levels, is desirable and necessary. The facts must add up, 2 + 2 will equal four. Things must make sense when analyzed objectively.

Vision: There is a vision for the classroom. People are expected to be working productively, helpfully, yet at the same time having fun and exploring curiosity. A bright future for all is the ultimate goal.

Lead by example: The teacher is a role model. The old maxim is applied, with three best ways to teach: Example, example, and example. This is particularly expected of those in power, teachers and other adults, brighter students.

Equity: There is equal application of principles. Though a teacher may naturally like one student more than other, or dislike one more than another, or kids may, equity for all will be put into practice, regardless of innate ability. The equity is in regard to respect, dignity, and regard for one another.

Compassion and empathy: Compassion and empathy for each other will be expected, actively, taught and practiced.

Non-violence: Violence will not be tolerated, and reasons why will be fully explained. Punishment for violence will be prompt and commensurate with the level of violence.

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In my run for U.S. Senate against Utah's Orrin Hatch, I posted many progressive ideas and principles that I internalized over the years. I'm leaving that site up indefinitely, since it describes what I believe most members of our species truly (more...)

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