Love + Discipline in Schools?

Jonathan Jansen has written an article in which he declares that, “[love] is the missing variable in the school change literature.”

He says ” What we found interesting, though, was the symbiosis that exists between love and discipline.” Love is itself an enabler and thus a form of discipline.

So here is the rub.
Teacher’s say that they are there to teach and parents and the home must be the seat and the foundation of love, but Jansen says that his experience in schools, has shown him otherwise.

A caring, loving school environment in Jansen’s opinion, is one that also has discipline – rules, regulations and expectations that are required to be met. This discipline eventually becomes internalised by the students.
“Where discipline is preceded by and couched in love, children respond positively.”

A loving environment makes the discipline easier to accept on the part of the children and easier to instill on the part of the school management and teachers. The love extends beyond the day to day tasks within school into the life fibres of each and every child. It becomes the very culture of the school… resulting in a school that works.

Teachers don’t have courses on love.

Perhaps we need to heed the call of Leo Buscaglia who believed that love is the best behaviour modifier of all. He believed that teachers need to love what they do and get excited every morning about getting to school and wanting to help those children in their care. We need to “look at them”, relate to them, care about them…”

So what is education?

Education is not just teaching. It is about allowing those you teach to become the best human beings they can be and it’s about believing and investing in them, for both yourself and them. It’s about risk. It is about believing in the children, about expecting the very best from them and seeing their best in amongst their worst.
This is teaching with ‘love’. Teaching for life.

After all, “the purpose of life is to matter, to count to stand for something, to have it make some difference that we have lived at all…Happiness comes only when we push our brains and our hearts to the farthest reaches of which we are capable… Leo Roston”

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