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Youth Track Session 1 “Thank You for the Truth!”

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Presentation on theme: "Youth Track Session 1 “Thank You for the Truth!”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Youth Track Session 1 “Thank You for the Truth!”

2 “Thank You for the Truth!” God’s miraculous remedy for the class from “hell.” “It was a Friday afternoon in early February as I drove away from school boiling with anger. They had exceeded the limit, gone too far, crossed the proverbial line.” Living the Lessons, 1998

3 “Thank You for the Truth!” The problem in a nutshell… “The problem facing me was a class that, by January, I had come to dread. As individuals, I loved them dearly. They were friendly, fun, charming and bright. They were just typical teen-agers who loved to talk, and therein lay the entire problem: They didn’t know when to stop!” Living the Lessons, 2006

4 “Thank You for the Truth!” My lofty objectives: to create a radical change agent that would –“wake my students up” by helping them recognize the extent of their problems –help them see that problems can be our greatest teachers and that “they were not a problem simply because they had a problem” –encourage them to make wise choices –teach them to respectfully respond with the truth and take personal responsibility for their behavior

5 “Thank You for the Truth!” My lofty objectives: to create a radical change agent that would –teach them self-discipline (to control themselves) –help them make “real world” connections regarding the natural consequences of their choices –help them learn valuable life lessons—not punish them

6 “Thank You for the Truth!” “I knew that the plan itself was not to be about punishment nor about a new set of rules that would ‘get them in line.’ I knew that somehow I had to wake them up to see their need to learn respect and take personal responsibility for their actions. Somehow I had to find a way to help them see where their behavior would lead. They had to understand why they needed to change and how it would benefit them.” Living the Lessons, 2006

7 “Thank You for the Truth!” “They absolutely had to accept the plan as an effort on my part to help them see that if they did not wake up and become conscious, thinking individuals who controlled themselves, their unwise choices would eventually lead to natural consequences that would, ultimately, spell disaster for their lives.” Living the Lessons, 2006

8 “Thank You for the Truth!” Asking, believing, waiting, receiving… “With these intentions in mind, I began to write, and one at a time, in mindful sequence, the questions came to me. Each addressed an intention, an objective I hoped to achieve. When I finished late that evening, I was exhausted, but happy. Little did I know that the plan I had been shown was soon to become the most radical change agent of my teaching experience.” Living the Lessons, 2006

9 “Thank You for the Truth!” The Magic Missing Piece… “Question #6 proved to be a key contributing factor to the success of the plan. Knowing well that my students might resist the rigid control I would soon be imposing, I wisely incorporated a powerful tool that would help them accept the new restrictions. After all, if they “fought the system,” they would not learn the lessons, and the plan would be destined to fail! In other words, pro-active planning on my part would provide an environment conducive to success.” Living the Lessons, 2006

10 “Thank You for the Truth!” The Magic Missing Piece… This tool, as it turned out, was the “magic missing piece” I had finally been shown after twenty-five years of searching! It came to me that Sunday night in the form of a vision as I sat quietly waiting for guidance. Simply stated, I saw myself showing them how to respond to my rigid control with extraordinary respect, rather than react to it with defensive denial.” Living the Lessons, 2006

11 “Thank You for the Truth!” “I saw myself showing them exactly how to respond instead of react. I was actually modeling responsive behavior in a sort of “play acting” manner which they were imitating.

12 “Thank You for the Truth!” One scene went like this…”Andy, are you on task?” Instead of answering with blame, or denial (lies), or excuses, I taught them to answer in a new way: “No, Mrs. LaField, the truth is I’m not on task.” To which I would answer, “Thank you for the truth, Andy.”

13 “Thank You for the Truth!” At first we all laughed! It was so new that it sounded ridiculously contrived. But, like a new language, we practiced it so often in the days and weeks to come that it became second nature.”

14 “Thank You for the Truth!” Time to practice! Remember….because responding in this manner is new and sometimes uncomfortable, many of our students may at first be extremely reluctant. Helping them overcome their reluctance is entirely up to us! We must, therefore, make sure to remember several critical factors:

15 “Thank You for the Truth!” Time to practice! –We must remain infinitely patient! –We must never be confrontational (personalize). –We must speak in a normal, pleasant tone of voice. –We must address our students with extraordinary respect. –We must coax, if need be, with a good sense of humor.

16 “Thank You for the Truth!” Time to practice! –We must always respond with a sincere, “Thank you for the truth.” –We must, in the early stages of the training process, praise their responses. –We must not dwell on the interruption! –We must be prepared to apologize when we fail at some point in the process!

17 “Thank You for the Truth!” Why “Who’s in Control?” worked… –I PREPARED their hearts. –They understood the PURPOSE of the plan. –They saw how it would PERSONALLY benefit them. –I gave them a tool--the magical missing piece--which they used –to PRACTICE the lessons.

18 “Thank You for the Truth!” Why “Who’s in Control?” worked… –It was a POSITIVE incentives plan, not a traditional, negative “discipline plan.” –In other words, it was not about PUNISHMENT. –It included the crucial element of PRACTICE. –It worked because of a PROMISE to treat them with extraordinary respect. No PERSONALIZING! No POWER STRUGGLES!

19 “Thank You for the Truth!” Why “Who’s in Control?” worked… “Imagine what would have happened that Monday morning if I had gathered my eighth graders together on the rug and suddenly announced, ‘Kids, today I’m taking away all your freedom, and from now on we have a whole new set of rules, which I will strictly enforce. And Kids, things are going to be a whole lot different around here because from now on, I’M IN CONTROL!

20 “Thank You for the Truth!” Why “Who’s in Control?” worked… In actuality, that is exactly what happened. They did lose their freedom, and I did take control, and things were a whole lot different from then on. If I had used my old dictatorial, authoritarian approach that morning, the “class from hell” WOULD HAVE REBELED!!! But they did not. Why? Because unconditional love had prepared their hearts.”

21 “Thank You for the Truth!” “It was pretty weird—our first week of school with Mrs. LaField. The strangest thing of all was that she wanted us to “own the truth” by responding politely to, “So and so, are you on task?” with, “No, Mrs. LaField, the truth is I’m not.” Imagine that! At first I thought no one would do it. Eighth graders normally aren’t polite or respectful, and I certainly figured that any kid that would get off-task would never say such a thing… The next year—and every year thereafter--I introduced the “magic missing piece” the first week of school. Allena had this to say about it:

22 “Thank You for the Truth!” …But I was wrong! They said it and they said it nicely without any attitude. It was amazing! I was no longer in a class where kids were trying to find every way possible to break the rules and not get caught. They now tried to prove themselves as adults by listening and paying attention. It was a whole new way to learn.” The next year—and every year thereafter—I introduced the “magic missing piece” the first week of school. Allena had this to say about it:

23 “Thank You for the Truth!” 27. “Mrs. LaField, to begin with, you are hoping to teach me to be a thinking individual, to be conscious, to make wise choices, and to examine my life in the light of the truth. Next, you are hoping to teach me to respond and not react with my parents and teachers. In addition, you want to teach me to know the difference between positive and negative consequences and to remember that the choices I make every moment determine the consequences I either enjoy or despise.”

24 “Thank You for the Truth!” “Furthermore, you want me to remember that I am not a problem simply because I have a problem. And, of course, you want me to love the truth the way you do. Finally, and most importantly, you want me to be in control of my life! You don’t want me to be a mindless puppet that spends my life being controlled by others.”

25 Who’s in Control video clip…

26 From the wisdom of Gibran comes the essence of my initial intent for designing a plan that would “set my students free…”

27 “They told me, if you find a slave asleep, don’t wake him up— he may be dreaming about freedom. And I told them, if you find a slave asleep, wake him up and talk to him about freedom!” -Gibran-


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