www.chickmoorman.com --- www.thomashaller.com July 28, 2005
The Response-Able Educator Newsletter #44

Welcome! This is a free newsletter about becoming a Response-Able educator who develops Response-Able students.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to inspire, encourage, and uplift the spirits of educators so they can in turn inspire, encourage, and uplift the spirits of their students.


In This Issue

1. Quote
2. Bumper Sticker
3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation
4. Sign Language
5. Article: Horse Sense
6. Teacher Talk Tip
7. Don't Get Caught with Your Pants Down
8. Did You Know?
9. Schedule of Events

1. Quote

"We're now at the point where we must educate people in what nobody knew yesterday and prepare in our schools for what nobody knows yet, but for what some people must know tomorrow."

Margaret Mead

2. Bumper Sticker

Spotted on a Chevy Astro van in Silt, CO:

Don't confuse me with the facts.
My mind is made up.

3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation

How would it change this summer day if, just for today, you did nothing that you do not truly love to do? Wouldn't this be a good day to find out?

4. Sign Language

4. Sign Language

A.) Observed in a high school foreign language classroom:

If you don't have time to do it right,
When will you have time to do it over?

B.) Seen in a middle-school English classroom:

Speak your mind. Even if your voice shakes.

C.) Spotted in a high-school staff lounge:

Our job in this school is to get students ready to handle dorm rules in college.
Remember, there are none.

D.) Seen in a fifth-grade classroom:

Ladder of Achievement

100% I did
90% I will
80% I can
70% I think I can
60% I might
50% What is it?
40% I wish I could
30% I don't know how
20% I can't
10% I won't

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5. Article: Horse Sense

Horse Sense

by Chick Moorman

He was six years old and beautiful. He had brown hair and dark eyes. His health was good and he was right on schedule developmentally. Our attraction was immediate and seemed to be reciprocal: love at first sight. So we bought him.

Superman (Supreme Americana) was my first experience with a horse. My wife had owned horses earlier, before she had children. She was the expert. I was the rookie.

It didn't take long before I learned that we had purchased what is called a "green" horse. Buying a "green horse" is somewhat like buying unfinished furniture. Some work is needed. Superman hadn't acquired all the performance skills he needed to be a useful, pleasurable horse. So we sent him to horse school.

We enrolled Superman with a trainer at the barn where we boarded him. He enjoyed that school for six months, until we realized there was no change in his behavior. We switched schools.

New trainer. New barn. More money. Another six months. The results were the same. No new behavior.

Superman's third teacher informed us he would need only two months to create the behavioral changes necessary to make him a pleasure to ride. "At the end of that time," he said, "you'll see some changes or I'll terminate the relationship and advise you on future options for your horse." Sounded good to me.

"Stay away from here for a month," he advised. "When you come back, I want you to see the difference. That won't be possible if you come every day." I understood, and we agreed.

After one month we checked in on the horse, expecting to see positive changes. We did not. Actually, Superman had regressed. He was worse than when we left him in the care of his third trainer. Now he was throwing his head and even bucked a couple of times when the trainer rode him for us. "This isn't unusual," the confident teacher told us. "Some horses have to go backward before they can go forward." Made sense to me, but I was beginning to wonder if this wasn't more money going down the drain.

"Your horse is different," we were told. "The techniques I normally use haven't worked." Our skepticism continued to grow as our bank account diminished. Still we were determined to finish out the final month to see if this trainer could do anything positive with our "special needs" animal.

Three weeks later, we received a request to come to school for a progress report. I figured I was being set up for another few months of cash flow—flowing from me to the trainer. I was wrong. The trainer saddled up and rode the horse for us again. The changes in his behavior were visible and dramatic. Even a rookie like me could see the difference. Superman was now responding immediately to commands to walk, trot, and canter. He had stopped throwing his head. He was taking the correct lead while going in each direction. He was bending and collecting his body in appropriate ways when he turned. He halted on command.

As my wife celebrated the progress by embracing Superman, I pulled the trainer aside. "I, too, am a trainer," I explained. "I train teachers in how to create self-responsible, self-motivated, cooperative students. I'd like to pick your brain for a minute. I want to know how you made this horse do these things."

The trainer leaned back against the fence and began to talk horses. I leaned back as well, but what I heard was students.

"You know," he chuckled, "there is no way you can make a 1200-pound animal do anything."

I heard, "There is no way you can make students do anything."

"I learned a long time ago that when I work with horses the part of that relationship I have the best chance of changing is me."

"When I work with students the part of the relationship I have the best chance of changing is me."

"The reason your horse got better is because I got smarter. I just kept altering my approach until I found what worked."

"With students, we need to keep altering our approach until we find what works."

Superman's trainer rattled off a list of alternatives he had used, including several different bits, draw reins, lounging him in long lines, and side reins Then he said it again, "The only one I can change for sure is me. So if a horse is not responding the way I want him to, I change what I am doing."

"If students are not responding the way I want them to, I must change what I do."

"Your horse was a special challenge," the trainer continued. "I ran out of the things I normally do. He was a real test to see if I could keep coming up with alternatives. I enjoyed the challenge."

"When we run out of the things we normally do with our students, it's a challenge to see if we can keep coming up with alternatives."

The trainer's voice faded into the background as my own thoughts took center stage. I recalled the frustrations I had with students in the past and the feeling of powerlessness at not being able to get them to behave the way I wanted. I realized as I listened to the horse trainer that I had created my own frustrations and stress because I was attempting to manage the portion of the situation over which I had the least control: the students. I guess I wasn't using good horse sense.

Happy trails.

Chick Moorman is the author of Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit and co-author of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose (Personal Power Press, toll-free, 877-360-1477).

Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit

Preview Book

6. Teacher Talk Tip

"Let's see who can be first, best, fastest, most."

"Boys and girls, let's see who can make the best drawing."
"Michelle wins the star for our honor chart for the most done correctly."
"The best essay on citizenship will be picked to be published in the newspaper."

The Teacher Talk above reveals an inappropriate reliance on competition to motivate students.

Competition is EVERYWHERE in today's schools. We give awards for reading the most books, creating the best poster, and getting the most correct on a test. And we are over-doing it.

Competition can be useful and fun if students choose to participate rather than being required to participate and if they are competing against students at the same skill level. Forced competition makes one winner and many losers. This might be fun for kids who have a chance to win and want to do some self-testing to see how they stack up. But for those who have no chance of winning it is counterproductive and elicits pictures of failure in their minds.

Competition does not lead to meaningful learning. Nor does it create lifelong learners. It helps children focus more on the extrinsic reward of winning and less on the desired learning.

Monitor your Teacher Talk for evidence of your reliance on competition. Use the information you glean to help you keep competition in perspective. Reserve most of it for students who choose to compete in extracurricular activities.

We were recently told about a teacher who was informed of the negative effects of competition in the classroom. She set a professional development goal to change, but old habits don't die easily. When counseled to use more cooperative activities to replace the competitive ones she had been relying on, the teacher's response was to create a bulletin board that featured a record-keeping system for who could be the most cooperative this week.

Teacher Talk: What It Really Means

Preview Book

7. Did You Know?

This past school year Michigan teachers spent 47 million dollars out of their own pockets for supplies, according to a recent survey conducted by EPIC-MRA, a Lansing-based research company. On average, teachers spent $466 of their own money for books, pencils, art materials, snacks, paper and other miscellaneous supplies. The survey discovered that over two-thirds of the teachers were spending more than they were four years ago.

Many of the 1,016 teachers polled were unhappy about having to spend their own money for supplies. Apparently, they have forgotten that we routinely expect other professionals to do the same. We all know that doctors spend much of their own money to buy medicine for their patients. And accountants buy paper and pencils for their clients. And let's not forget how often lawyers pay a portion of the court costs for the people they serve. Last but not least, remember that dentists routinely take us out to lunch after filling our teeth.

8. Don't Get Caught with Your Pants Down

Do you have your back-to-school speaker yet? Prime dates are going fast.

Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are available to keynote your back-to-school staff development program or present one of their highly acclaimed full-day seminars for your building or district staff.

Their most popular seminars are:

Celebrate the Spirit Whisperers
Transforming Aggression in Children
Teaching for Respect and Responsibility
Brain Functioning Behavior in Children
Achievement Motivation and Behavior Management

Contact them at www.chickmoorman.com or at www.thomashaller.com to begin the discussion of possible dates and topics.

August dates are filling up fast. Act now to insure a dynamic start to your school year with Chick or Thomas. Also, you can call toll-free 877-360-1477 to get the ball rolling toward an exciting and motivational first day.

9. Schedule of Events

Aug. 16 – Dearborn, MI
8:30 am - 3:30 pm, Cooperative Strategies for At Risk Students, Dearborn Academy, Dearborn, MI. For Information contact Stacey Mahe at 313-982-1300 or email lovelac3@hotmail.com.

Aug. 17 – Dearborn, MI
8:30 am - 3:30 pm, Creating Responsible Learners, Dearborn Academy, Dearborn, MI. For Information contact Stacey Mahe at 313-982-1300 or email lovelac3@hotmail.com.

Aug. 31 – Ann Arbor, MI
9:00 am - 12:00 pm, The Teacher Talk System, Gretchen's House Child Care, Washtenaw Intermediate School District, Ann Arbor, MI. For information call Heidi McFadden at 734-761-2576 or email hmcfadden@gretchenshouse.com.

Sept. 6 – Pellston, MI
8:30 am - 10:00 am, Keynote Address: Celebrate the Spirit Whisperers, Pellston, Pellston High School, Pellston, MI. For information contact Tammy Wright at 231-539-8596 or email stwright@mailcity.com.

Sept. 7 – Lansing, MI
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm, The Teacher Talk System, St. Thomas Aquinas School, Lansing, MI. For information contact Mary Jo Scofes at 517-281-9949 or email mjosie7@aol.com.

Sept. 7 – Lansing, MI
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Parent Talk: Words That Empower, Words That Wound, St. Thomas Aquinas School, Lansing, MI. For information contact May Jo Scofes at 517-281-9949 or email mjosie7@aol.com.

Sept. 15 & 16 – Traverse City, MI
9:00 am - 3:00 pm (Sept. 15th), 9:00 am - 11:00 am (Sept. 16th), The Verbal Response System, Eaton County Juvenile Justice Association, Shanty Creek Resort, Traverse City, MI.

More Dates

Chick Moorman

Contact Chick at 877-360-1477 or email him at ipp57@aol.com.

Chick's Website

Thomas Haller

Contact Thomas at 1-989-667-5654 or email him at thomas@thomashaller.com.

Thomas' Website

Copyright 2005 Chick Moorman Seminars and Thomas Haller Seminars, all rights reserved. Share this with your circle.

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