Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Friday, January 20, 2006

SW Principle Number One

by AJ

"Never work harder than your client". Thats a maxim in social work.

As I continue to comtemplate lessons learned from my previous career... this one frequently occupies my mind. Perhaps we should adopt this mentality in education. Never work harder than your students.

There's great merit in that approach. Too often, we assume we are responsible. WE must force learning upon the student. WE must motivate them. WE must work our asses off. WE must be creative, innovative, interesting, inspiring. We must direct them.

But perhaps we are doing our students a disservice. Perhaps we should flip those expectations... make it clear that we expect motivation, creativity, inspiration, and responsibility from our students.

Social workers (and other counselors) are usually very careful to shift responsibility to the client. If a client asks, "What should I do?".... we do not tell them. The typical response is a question, "What do you think you should do?". While this sometimes annoys the client... it eventually sends the message that they, and not the social worker, are ultimately in charge of their life. Likewise, most social workers insist that clients define their own goals and define success in their own way.

But as teachers its often different. We love to tell students what to do. We tell them what to read. We determine which activities they do. We choose the materials. We dictate the terms of success and failure.

No wonder they are bored and disengaged.