Monday, December 04, 2006

VASCD - Ruby Payne

I was disappointed in Payne as a speaker because I felt that she was hard to follow. She had a lot of good information and ideas to share, but at the end of two jam-packed days, I had trouble staying with her. However, I did get some good nuggets of information to think about from her.
One thing that I latched onto from her talk was a phrase that she often uses with teachers, parents, and students when communication is breaking down. She says, "Help me understand..." whatever the issue is at hand. So even if a parent or teacher seems completely off their rocker, she will say, "help me understand" and give them the opportunity to voice their thoughts and feel respected without agreeing with them or giving in. It puts the responsibility on both parties involved and builds a sense of partnership.
Another thing she talked about was interesting to me both as a teacher and as a parent. She said that parents often want to negotiate with their children when the children don't have the necessary skills. Her theory is that children must understand parameters, choice, and consequences in order to participate in real negotiation. Many parents have taught their children one or two of those three concepts, but the children are lacking in one area. It also takes children time to develop real understandings of these three concepts.

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