Monday, March 26, 2012

“Do You Have Your Belt On?”

Chicago Jesuit Acadamy
At Chicago Jesuit Academy. Ninety-six 5th through 8th graders go to school here-- all boys, mostly from rough West Side neighborhoods like Brandyn’s. Teaching character in a morning handshake. When Brandyn walks into CJA’s spare but sunny atrium every morning, he sees Dave Diehl, the Dean of Students, standing by the door, holding a clip board.  Brandyn knows the rules: First, take off your jacket. Then, look Mr. Diehl in the eye and shake his hand. “Good morning Mr. Diehl.” “Good morning Mr. Snow,” Diehl answers, checking off Brandyn’s name. “Do you have your belt on?” “Yes.” “You may head up.” These rules are an explicit part of the school’s culture. But they’re also triage – a check for any problems the kids might be having.“Do the students often forget their belts?” I ask Diehl. “I noticed you asking each of them if they have it on.” “They forget it occasionally,” he tells me. “It’s more of a check for them-- it’s an indicator. If they’ve forgotten that they're forgetting other things.” Discipline and dress codes aren’t new in education. But here, there’s an additional question: Can you teach middle school kids practical life skills and character-- along with math?
Link (here) to WBEZ to read the full story


Maria said...

"Beckley says he realized that when you look at grades, it doesn’t say attitude, organization and math. It just says math. So about a year and a half ago the school put in place a new grading policy, one that took attitude and organization more seriously.

Now at CJA, it’s not enough to master Y=X. Now, 70 percent of every grade a student gets here– on every spelling worksheet, every book report - is based on behavior and habits that CJA calls executive function."

Executive function, and its absence in a person's personality structure, is what Psychiatrists bemoan all the live long day on in-patient psychiatric units, lol. I am sure all the Freudians are pleased.

Free will, prayer to help one restrain one's sinful impulses, the Grace of God, confession when we fall down? Oh, so mediaeval. So yesterday;)

Maria said...

A little refresher...

VIRTUE. A good habit that enables a person to act according to right reason enlightened by faith. Also called an operative good habit, it makes its possessor a good person and his or her actions also good. (Etym. Latin virtus, virility, strength of character, manliness.)

Has jug proved to be statistically inefficacious? Worked for the men in my family.