Detrimental Compliance…

In my last post, I shared that as we began defining learning and our purpose as educators a common theme emerged- fear of losing control, fear of chaos, and fear of non-compliance.  “We cannot pull small groups of students during class time because the other students cannot be trusted to finish their assignments.  “Our students are not self-motivated or self-directed.” These are just a few of the fear statements we heard as we explored higher yield instructional practices than lecture for 45 minutes.  I use the phrase “fear statements” as opposed to excuses or resistance because, in my opinion, 95% of teachers want to do what is best for kids.  They want to create optimal learning environments but fear of losing control of their classroom impedes the implementation of high yield instructional practices.  I title this “detrimental compliance.” When the operations of our schools and classrooms are driven more by compliant children than engaged children,  we run the risk of “superficial learning.”  To me superficial learning is the belief that if students are quiet, compliant, and seated then they are learning.  This could never be more untrue.  It is no secret that procedures, rules, and expectations are necessary in any organization, however when we begin to mistake meeting behavioral expectations for learning we are in BIG trouble.  When we fail to see that the operations of our classrooms and our schools are impeding learning through silencing our students and teachers voices then we run the risk of breeding a complacent culture. A culture where students nor teachers feel they have a sense of agency or empowerment.   When eventually we have succeeded in shushing all innovation, inquiry, and passion then what happens next is frightening.  Next we just exist, not flourish, not grow, not improve- just exist.   This has dramatics effects on the “soul and spirit” of organizations.  Status quo is celebrated and new ideas are annoyances.  Passion is called overzealous and mediocrity is masked as excellence.   Caution: Compliance is NOT the same thing as engagement.  Engagement must be in place to ensure learning.

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