Your reactionary tone leads me to believe that you misinterpreted the
content of the original message. You have reduced my message to a fraction
as to make an argument for a "whatever works" theory of management. I
shall readdress my initial points. To make it more clear to you I am not
disparaging all attempts at classroom management, and I am not arguing that
all oppositional behavior is a response to domination. In fact some
oppositional behavior may be an expression of power that is fueled by and
reproduces the most powerful grammar of domination (values or lack thereof
learned in other contexts). I am certainly aware of the "real life" (I
suppose that refers to teaching college as somehow not teaching) and since
this seems relevant to you: I spent seven years teaching k-12 (1989-96)).
Using "book work " as punishment sends the wrong message, period. Using
artwork as examples of sites of contention and artists who use their
dissatisfaction as impetus for their work can be useful to redirect
inappropriate behavior. Of course, not in every case and not every time.
We must problematize our own compicity in any model of education that
rewards control not learning, and understand the myriad of reasons why
students would be disruptive in classroom social relationships. Teachers
should always take active responsibility for raising serious questions
about classroom management, legitimate forms of control, unequal power
relations and how certain systems of reward and punishment reproduce
behaviors antithetical to democratic learning.
I do empathize with your class size however, If you only spend 40-45
seconds with each student then a hand full of crackers may be necessary to
keep them occupied when your not around.
Kevin Michael Tavin Ph.D. Candidate
Dept. of Art Education
The Pennsylvania State University
School of Visual Arts