Cassandra’s Credo

Cassandra’s Credo, or Things I Have Found To Be True About Children and School, after many years as a parent, teacher, and school psychologist.

By Nancy Devlin, PhD

  • Children are concrete thinkers. They cannot figure out what is expected of them if we only tell them what they did wrong. Catch them being right.
  • Children who are discouraged cannot learn. Misbehaving children are deeply discouraged and do not feel they belong.
  • We cannot change anybody, we can only change ourselves.
  • We are all models for the children. We cannot say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Adults, who are not respectful of children, cannot expect respect from them.
  • Encouragement is the prime motivator. Praise is for the successes, and only a few are entitled to it. Encouragement is for the effort and we all deserve and need it.
  • Accept each child completely as he is.
  • Separate the deed from the doer. Never say anything against a child’s person.
  • Children live up to our best and worst expectations. Never label a child.
  • Use “I” statements not “you” statements. Example: Instead of “You are a thief” say “I get upset when you take money from my purse”.
  • Mistakes are not failures. They are how we learn.
  • Rather than saying did you get an “A” say, did you ask any good questions?
  • Teaching styles should vary to accommodate to different learning styles.
  • We cannot make anybody learn. That is a personal decision.
  • Everyone in the classroom is responsible for its successes and failures.
  • Cooperative learning lessons foster group cohesiveness and teach concern and respect for others.
  • From the Talmud: the highest wisdom is kindness