Time for teachers to stop saying “please” to students

posted at 8:41 pm on January 26, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

After all the bad news we see on the education front coming from the nation’s college campuses and the outrageous behavior of the teachers unions, it’s about time for us to run across a potentially hopeful story. In North Carolina there is one school where teachers are engaging in what’s being referred to as “No-Nonsense Nurturing.” Under this theory, the teacher is the one who is in charge (a shocking idea, I know) and the students are in class because they need structure and direction as well as learning reading, writing and arithmetic. And along that line of thinking, teachers are encouraged not to say “please” to the kids. This from Yahoo News.

Though many young kids are taught “please” is “the magic word,” one school in Charlotte, North Carolina, actually asks its teachers to use the word as little as possible. The practice is part of Druid Hills Academy’s newly implemented “No-Nonsense Nurturing Program.” …

The program aims to create a structured and consistent environment for students where teachers give them clear and specific directions about movement, volume and participation, Watts said.

“When a teacher is giving an expectation, the word please is not necessary,” Watts told ABC News. “The best analogy I can use to describe my thinking about it is no one would say, ‘Would you come to work today, please?'”

This is some really shocking thinking, isn’t it? (/sarcasm) The idea that children should actually follow the instructions of adults who are placed in supervisory positions of authority will come as a tremendous shock to the Time Out Generation, but there was a time when this worked quite well.

There’s a part of even my cold, dark soul which pushes back a bit and tells me that words such as please and thank you have a place in all polite conversation and that using them with children might instill such values. Sadly, the results in modern society don’t seem to validate that belief in too many cases. It would be wonderful if every child came out of a household where they were raised to respect the authority of adults (with additional training to be on guard against monsters) and carried over that responsibility to a sense of mutual respect in their classrooms. That’s not the case, though, and kids these days might benefit from a bit of “spare the rod” mentality when their parents drop them off to their five day a week baby sitters in the public school system.

Once word of this gets out on a wide scale, I assume that the forces of the Social Justice Warriors will come crashing down on Druid Hills Academy. How they keep their heads above water after that will be an instructive chapter in American educational history.

Classroom


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

yardsticks.

WryTrvllr on January 26, 2016 at 8:44 PM

Please stop, leave them kids alone!!

leftnomore on January 26, 2016 at 8:54 PM

Schools would be better if teachers could use a switch.

None of this please nonsense.

Pablo Honey on January 26, 2016 at 8:58 PM

Never had a teacher say please to me. Of course I grew up when the principal had a paddle in his office.

rbj on January 26, 2016 at 8:58 PM

I never use “please” in class to my students when something ordinary is expected. Some teachers do and they are the ones that lack respect from their kids.

Rambotito on January 26, 2016 at 9:04 PM

Yeah, as if union teachers aren’t arrogant enough. Why say please when you can crack a whip, eh?

Rix on January 26, 2016 at 9:08 PM

“The best analogy I can use to describe my thinking about it is no one would say, ‘Would you come to work today, please?’”

I’ve had supervisors say that to me, when they want me to come in to work an extra shift.

That was a long time ago, though. Now they just tell me to work from home.

malclave on January 26, 2016 at 9:10 PM

Oh I don’t know. It isn’t the word please that is the problem.
Even back in the Military Academy most of the best instructors (in the classroom, not on the parade field or Field Training Exercises) Tended to use the words “Please” when telling us what to do and “Thank you” when we did it.

There was never any question that it was an order, but the pleasantries were observed.

An in the real military, I had plenty of even Generals say “please” to me. It added, not detracted to my respect for them.

But then , You did say:

Sadly, the results in modern society don’t seem to validate that belief in too many cases

.
Maybe modern society does not respond the way sane ones did.

“When a teacher is giving an expectation, the word please is not necessary,” Watts told ABC News. “The best analogy I can use to describe my thinking about it is no one would say, ‘Would you come to work today, please?’”

Maybe they should. Maybe they could attract and retain decent employees. I had a few bosses that thought that way. I didn’t hang around long

LegendHasIt on January 26, 2016 at 9:12 PM

Cause and effect.

The intention was to break the United States of America as a Super Power.

The tool employed was Marxist educational methodology.

The strategy, replace logical and rational reasoning on an intellectual level, with emotional reasoning.

The place it was employed was America’s Colleges and Universities.

Virtually every aspect of America’s dysfunctional culture that you see around you today has its roots in this strategy. Destroy any individuals capacity for rational logical cognizance, and you have transformed that individual into a slave. Transform an entire society into slaves incapable of thinking or reasoning for themselves, and you have the perfect Marxist Socialist society.

Welcome to the America that the Boomers bequeathed you, your children and your grandchildren.

oscarwilde on January 26, 2016 at 9:20 PM

We ALWAYS say ‘please’ when telling our children to do things, but have always made it clear that when their Mother or I say please to them, is out of courtesy, not an indication that what is being asked is optional…

oddball on January 26, 2016 at 9:26 PM

“When a teacher is giving an expectation, the word please is not necessary,” Watts told ABC News. “The best analogy I can use to describe my thinking about it is no one would say, ‘Would you come to work today, please?’”

They generally don’t ask you to come to work, with or without the “please.”

I think teachers can retain their authority without lording it over the students by demanding “please” and “thank you” without saying it themselves. Practice what you preach.

bmmg39 on January 26, 2016 at 10:30 PM

I look forward to the day when educators stop telling the students that their thoughts, feelings and opinions matter. Kids should be there to learn, not to spout their inexperience, ignorance and emotions. They need to realize that they’ve probably never thought anything that hasn’t been thought and debated before, by people much smarter than them. They need to master that existing body of knowledge, and principles of logic, before they’re ready to contribute to meaningful discussion. This is pedagogical heresy, I know.

quraina on January 26, 2016 at 10:46 PM

In this article, it describes how a teacher would normally “give an expectation”. Good grief, what does that even mean?? Shouldn’t teachers simply give ‘instruction’?

I do believe teachers should say please and thank you, though. Using those words early & often will model them for the children. But teachers should not be ASKING students if they want to comply, they should be TELLING them what to do.

It’s not, “Will you please come here, Bobby?”…. It should be “Come here please, Bobby”

Dang, it’s not rocket science.

Shut Up Already on January 26, 2016 at 11:27 PM

And two weeks from now, there will be an article talking about the breakdown of modern civility because we aren’t polite to each other anymore.

There is just no pleasing some of you, no matter the situation, as you try to out-curmudgeon the posts above you.

MunDane68 on January 26, 2016 at 11:46 PM

The word “please” to modern kids is a suggestion, not an order. For some reason, it makes them think they actually have the option to disregard what they’ve been asked to do.

Wendya on January 26, 2016 at 11:47 PM

We adults, for the most part, know that when a boss or a cop says “please” it’s pretty meaningless and is really a command. I prefer “I want you to…” or “you will need to…”.

A little sugar goes a long way. Teachers have to be careful with some of these precious snowflakes and their doting parents. Some parents will become furious if they think that their little darling-who-never-does-wrong is being “disrespected” by an a$$hole teacher (because to them, all teachers are stupid a$$holes who can’t do anything else).

Also, many administrators are duds who were marginal classroom teachers (and usually for only a small fraction of their careers) at best and don’t really get it…so if a teacher has to write a kid up, being able to say, “I asked him nicely” will help to turn their attention to the little darling and away from you.

Many deans/principals want to be pals with the kids, so teachers have to convince them that the future prison inmate/sociopath really, really was being bad and that you gave him/her every opportunity to act appropriately…and you were firm, but polite, in that failed endeavor.

Now, if a teacher can’t control their classroom, then admin won’t like that, either. It’s a tough balancing act.

Teachers have to be in CYA mode when dealing with kids all day long.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 27, 2016 at 12:48 AM

Dread Pirate Roberts: Please understand that I hold you in the highest respect.

unclesmrgol on January 27, 2016 at 1:26 AM

This is silly. You don’t say please come to work, but once you are there you say please often. I say it to nurses every day. Please do such and such. They don’t really have a choice. It’s a medical order and carrying it out is their job. But it’s still appropriate to be respectful and use good manners. I teach it to my boys to instill it in them, along with saying sir and mam. This school is silly at best. Hey, I’ve got a great idea, let’s make school more like prison than it already is…

DocNathan on January 27, 2016 at 7:23 AM

There’s a part of even my cold, dark soul which pushes back a bit and tells me that words such as please and thank you have a place in all polite conversation and that using them with children might instill such values. Sadly, the results in modern society don’t seem to validate that belief in too many cases.

The problem is that please and thank you can have 2 contexts. The first is formulating a request. The second is demonstrating good manners. Often, the two go hand-in-hand.

These days, rather than being seen as magnanimous, manners are frequently seen as weakness, and “please” is seen as strictly formulating a request that may be denied rather than providing a tactfully-worded, implicitly-understood order. Liberal encouragement for students to rebel, say no, and reject authority requires that a slightly more abrasive approach be taken with the understanding that failure to obey will result in coercion and punitive measures.

Stoic Patriot on January 27, 2016 at 7:29 AM

You say please once. After that, you nuke them from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure…

Kraken on January 27, 2016 at 8:32 AM

Gotta disagree, Jazz. In schoolrooms teachers and kids alike should be saying, “please”, “thank you”, “may I?” (not “can I?”, heh), etc. when interacting.
Though I understand there are classrooms where a teacher may need to employ a chair and whip instead (and/or a taser). But in normal, non-anarchic classrooms, learning and using good manners should be part of the natural process.

whatcat on January 27, 2016 at 9:56 AM

Maybe you have Sister Mary Elephant in mind, Jazz?

whatcat on January 27, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Hey! teacher! leave us kids alone!
All in all you’re just a another brick in the wall.

— says every public school student and precious snowflakes, these days

WaldoTJ on January 27, 2016 at 10:15 AM

I started using this tactic at home awhile ago. My kids still don’t listen to me, but It makes me feel better.

smartaleck on January 27, 2016 at 11:44 AM

So, this solves what problem? And who says teachers stick with teaching the essentials such as reading, writing, and arithmetic? All too often we see news stories of teachers following their own agendas and ‘teaching’ topics far outside the scope of a normal educational curriculum. The problems facing schools is not caused by ‘please’ or ‘thank you’.

MsYoung on January 27, 2016 at 11:49 AM

Who are some of the most respectful and polite people you will meet?
Yes, that would be prior military. The Marines have a saying of Always be polite to everyone you meet and have a plan to kill them.

The training that creates this unique type of individual is the type of training where expectations are communicated clearly and excuses are not accepted. Previously, corporeal punishment was a part of the training, and in the Special Operations community, the instructors dole out physical punishments without laying a hand on.

There is an element of reality that has been forgotten. That element is authority and respect for authority. This important principle has been lost in the generation of rebellion, and is only now being rediscovered.
As more people rebel against chaos, we will see this kind of strategy work as it is based in timeless interaction with unchanging human nature.

There is also a moral logic and order to the universe that is being muddied by the inability to properly parse out authority, rules, and hierarchies that allow a moral agent to submit to authority right up to a certain line, and to go bat crap nuts the moment that line is breached.

Medbob on January 27, 2016 at 1:43 PM

I started using this tactic at home awhile ago. My kids still don’t listen to me, but It makes me feel better.

smartaleck on January 27, 2016 at 11:44 AM

Mine, either. Neither do my dog, my cat or even my wife.

They’ll figure out sooner or later that Ol’ Dad wasn’t so dumb after all.

GulfCoastBamaFan on January 27, 2016 at 6:34 PM