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