You profiled a teacher who laments that once the kids leave him, they lose their way, yet he resorts to punishment and consequences as motivators [“One-Track Minds,” August/ September]. Yes, they score high on standardized tests while in school, but Randall Youngblood admits that once they leave his structure, “he sees the patterns repeat themselves—former students faltering, dropping out, getting into trouble. ... He knows there’s nothing he can do to keep their worlds from crumbling around them.”
Then, in the same issue, you profile [Nelson Beaudoin,] an administrator who tells us, “The lesson here for educators is that seeking to inspire will pay greater dividends than seeking to control” [“Vocal Arrangement”]. What would be most interesting is having these gentlemen meet and hash it out. Who’s right? The desire to force kids to perform well while in our grasp or the desire to allow kids to find their way, despite the mess it may create and leave behind?
A version of this article appeared in the October 01, 2005 edition of Teacher as Meeting of Minds