#2 Interviews and Beginning Ideas (Discipline in Schools)

When I began talking to people, I still wasn’t really sure what I wanted to focus on. I’m still not totally sold, but here is some of what I found. The two topics I am looking at are discipline systems in schools, (what works and what doesn’t,) and support for the arts in schools. While the ´support for the arts in schools´ topic is closer to me and what I am personally invested in, I think that I am swinging more towards the discipline topic. I spoke to my friend Audrey, who is the stage manager for our High School Drama group, about the arts topic. She said: “I don’t think it’s money that’s necessarily the problem. If you look at arts as a whole throughout all the different classes, we’re pretty well supported.” (Grant, Audrey. “Support for the Arts In Schools.” 25 Sept. 2017.) So, though this is still something I am passionate about, I do not think it is a pressing topic right now.
The other topic I am looking into, and think I will stick with unless something better comes into view, is discipline systems in schools. I want to look at what works and what doesn’t, what my school can do better and what we’re doing well. I want specifically to look into the restorative justice system. I spoke to my dad (who teaches at my school) about this topic. “It’s difficult to find any one system that works. It really depends on the kid.” He then went on to say, “Before you can fix anything, you have to know what’s wrong.” He spoke about one specific student, who had not been participating well in class last year. They had been having a very rough time at home, which was being reflected in the way they acted in school. Instead of just writing the student off as a problem, he spoke to them to find out what was wrong and what he could do. This year, the student is doing much better, in part because their home life has improved. (Considine, Marc. “Discipline Systems In Schools.” 17 Sept. 2017.)

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Mariana Considine

4 Responses to “#2 Interviews and Beginning Ideas (Discipline in Schools)

  • Jiya Pandya
    3 years ago

    Hi Mariana! My name is Jiya, and I’ll be reading your blog over the course of your WTS experience. Just so you don’t have a random name commenting on your writing through the year, here’s the quick and dirty on me: I am a recent graduate of Middlebury College (as of May 2017, which I am still processing), I was a History-Political Science major, and I did a lot of activism around issues of diversity in academia, ethnicity and race, and sexual violence on campus. I am now working in an office that supports students – like you – explore the social issues they care about. If you ever want to reach out beyond the blog, feel free to email me!

    Now, on to the fun, important matter at hand: your blog! I am so excited to be learning from you, and had a great time reading about your interviews. I completely understand not knowing your focus right off the bat; there’s so much going on in the world to think about! But, from what I am reading, it seems like you’re on to something.

    In your interview with Audrey, I was surprised to find that she thinks the arts are supported at the school. That’s awesome, and really fortunate! I know you won’t be pursuing the topic, but if you ever feel like, it might be interesting to consider a comparison: looking into support for the arts as opposed to support for athletics could be one example. It also might be cool to think through how we understand “support”: for example, there may be money available, but perhaps not social and emotional support?

    Nevertheless, I am really pumped about your discipline topic. Restorative justice is a really broad, really new field that has been picking up steam in so many different educational contexts across the country, and to examine personalized and restorative discipline is really important. It sounds like your dad is very thoughtful about dealing with students: do he (and you) think there even needs to be change? What already exists, and what needs to be different? Would it be possible for you to speak with people who do not get the personalized, individualized support that your father was able to give? Why do students “act out’? Who is punished, for what, and why? Are there any trends here? Apart from difficult stuff happening at home, what are other factors at play? These are some of my questions, but I am sure you have many great questions ahead of you too.

    Lastly, when looking at the prompt Tim gave you, I found myself thinking through the connections and evolution of your thought process. I know it can feel hard to connect support for the arts and school discipline, but something I have learned is that many restorative justice practices look to art or writing as a form of healing and reflection. I am not sure what your school environment looks like, but a cool connector might be to look into the various avenues and channels of discipline and reflection available to students when they “act out.”

    Wow. That was a lot I just threw at you. Remember, this is your project, your topic, and over time, you will be the expert. I know a lot less about this than you do already, and can only offer questions. Take the ones you find useful, ignore the rest, and know you can always revisit them later. You have a fascinating exploration ahead of you, and I cannot wait to read about it. Please keep me posted if you have questions or thoughts about my questions. I look forward to being in touch! 🙂

  • Nate Archambault
    3 years ago

    Mariana,

    Restorative Justice is certainly a method that has been catching fire in many districts and schools. While it is true that not one size fits all, attempting to get to the heart of the issue(s) is a refreshing approach for both schools and students.

    Do you perceive a problem with the current system or are you simply curious about how it works? Understanding what angel you’d like to look at an issue from will help you to craft an approach that is worthwhile to both you and your audience.

    I look forward to hearing more in your blog.

    Best,

    Nate

    • I think I’m mainly curious about how it works. As we spoke about in the Google Hangout, I don’t necessarily perceive a problem, I just think it could be better I suppose?

  • Hi Mariana,

    Restorative justice, especially in schools, is somewhat of a hot topic right now. The way we look at discipline systems in academic settings has changed mostly for the better over time. Excited to see where you go with this.

    -Lindsey

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