Journal of Secondary Alternate Education

Journal of Secondary Alternate Education: Homepage Reviews of and Comments About the Journal Volume 9, Number 1, Winter 2012 Volume 9, Number 2, April 2012 Volume 9, Number 3, May 2012 Volume 9, Number 4, June 2012 Volume 9, Number 5, July 2012 Volume 9, Number 6, August 2012 Volume 9, Number 7, September 2012 Volume 9, Number 8, October 2012 Volume 9, Number 9, November 2012 Volume 9, Number 10, December 2012 Volume 10, Number 1, January 2013 Volume 10, Number 2, February 2013 Volume 10, Number 3, March 2013 Volume 10, Number 4, April 2013 Volume 10, Number 5, May 2013 Volume 10, Number 6, June 2013 Volume 10, Number 7, July 2013 Volume 10, Number 8, August 2013 Volume 10, Number 9.0, September 2013 Volume 10, Number 9.1, September 2013 Volume 10, Number 10, October 2013 Volume 10, Number 11, November 2013 Volume 10, Number 12, December 2013 Volume 11, Number 1, January 2014 Volume 11, Number 2, February 2014 Volume 12, Number 1, December 2015 Volume 13, Number 1, January 2016 Volume 13, Number 2, February 2016 Volume 13, Number 3, March 2016 Volume 13, Number 4, April 2016 Volume 13, Number 5, May 2016 Volume 13, Number 6, June 2016 Volume 13, Number 7, July 2016 Volume 13, Number 8, August 2016 Volume 13, Number 9, September 2016 Volume 13, Number 10, October 2016 Volume 13, Number 11, November 2016 Volume 13, Number 12, December 2016 Volume 14, Number 1, January 2017 Volume 14, Number 2, February 2017 Volume 14, Number 3, March 2017 Volume 14, Number 4, April 2017

Column: Lukiv's "Place" for Educators to Think About Teaching

Hostility Surrounds them Like Thunderclouds (from The Master Teacher. [2001.] Vancouver, BC: y press and BCTF Lesson Aids), by Dan Lukiv

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How do we help at-risk students who often do little or no work and are so fed up with failure at school that they've grown into tight, constant lumps of resentment? You've likely seen some of them. Sometimes their hostility towards school surrounds them like thunderclouds.

How do we help them? I've taught secondary alternate students, at-risk students who are often angry, and suspicious of do-gooder teachers, for 20 years, and all my experience tells me that the starting point is a humanistic, student-centered, one. Carl Rogers agrees.

If the counsellor [teacher] likes the client [student], unconditionally, and if the counsellor [teacher] understands the essential feelings of the client [student] as they seem to the client [student]...then there is a strong probability that this will be an effective helping relationship" (1958, p. four of his article1).

Rogers advocates the "client-centred approach" (the third page1).

So did Jean-Jacques Rousseau. And John Dewey. And so does William Glasser. He says that "teachers...[need to learn] enough Choice Theory [his Pet] to understand how students [in particular at-risk students] need to be treated if they are to [begin doing work at school]" (1977, p. 601). He adds, "When we asked the students why they were no longer disruptive and why they were beginning to work in school, over and over they said, 'You care about us.' And sometimes they added, 'And now you give us choices and work that we like to do'" (p. 601).

That sounds like "work with us, not against us" doesn't it? Kellough and Kellough (those two are no flakes) side with Rousseau, Dewey, and Glasser on that student-centered point. "Collaboratively plan with students challenging and engaging classroom learning activities and assignments" (Kellough & Kellough, 1999, p. 45). Student-centered? Humanistic? "Maintain high expectations, although not necessarily identical, for every student" (p. 45). "Develop...withitness....Be aware of everything that is going on in the classroom, at all times, monitoring students for signs of restlessness, frustration, anxiety, and off-task behaviours. Be ready to reassign individual learners to different activities as the situation warrants" (p. 47). Again, student-centered, humanistic?

Yup. "Involve students in understanding and in making important decisions about their own learning, so that they feel ownership...of that learning" (Kellough & Kellough, 1999, p. 49). Again, yup.

I'd like to sit at a table with Rousseau, Dewey, Rogers, Glasser, and the Kelloughs. We could discuss student-centered, humanistic teaching methods. I'd have a good time, and I'd learn lots that would help me improve as a secondary alternate teacher of at-risk students.


1 I have been unable to obtain the actual pages of the article as found in the journal that published it (see Rogers, 1958).


Glasser, W. (1977, April). A new look at school failure and school success. Phi Delta Kappan, 597-602.

Kellough, R. D., & Kellough, N. G. (1999). Chapter 2: middle school students. Middle school teaching: a guide to methods and resources (pp. 37-60). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, USA: Merril Books.

Rogers, C. R. (1958, September) The characteristics of a helping relationship. Personnel and Guidance Journal [page numbers unavailable].

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