Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The "Highlander" Method of Teaching

I think of that movie "Highlander" a lot when I'm teaching. If you haven't seen it, it's a crappy 80s movie about these eternal beings who have been fighting throughout the ages because, for some reason, there can be only one. We are reminded of that fact by many characters screaming that phrase throughout the movie. Now, there can be only one, so they are all trying to be that one. Because I guess that's a good thing. The only way these guys can kill each other is by getting their head cut off.

That's kind of my theory on classroom discipline. I look at the class as a highlander. My goal is to defeat this highlander in battle--if I succeed, the class is quiet and does their work with a minimum of loud outbursts. Now, since there can be only one, the highlander/class of kids is constantly battling me too, by being bad--as if I'm a rival highlander.

Now since you can only kill a highlander by cutting off his head, that leads me to my next point. Each class has a figurative "head--" or, the 3 or 4 ringleaders who are responsible for directing the character of the class. I try to focus all of my disciplinary swordsmanship on these miscreants, knowing that it's ultimately futile to waste time on the lesser "body" students. Because, you see, if I can successfully cajole/threaten/convince the "head" students to do their work and follow my instructions, the other students will naturally fall into line.

After their defeat, obviously, I acquire these bad students' powers of misconduct as my own, in a blinding flash of light.

9 comments:

Sam said...

If a lesser student is misbehaving and you ignore him but then a lead student misbehaves and you punish him, does that make the lead student feel like he's getting unfair treatment and make him want to act out even more?

Todd Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd Johnson said...

I say take it to the next step in symbolism. Actually cut off one of their heads, that way they will know you mean business and all fall in line.

David said...

so you've got the kurgan in your class?

Nate said...

Sam- That hasn't been the case. Usually the bad kids take some sort of weird satisfaction from being the center of attention and having someone set some boundaries for them.

Nate said...

Todd- you should move to feudal Europe, you've got a great teaching career ahead of you.

Nate said...

David- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurgan

???

David said...

the "real" kurgan:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kurgan

d said...

Hey David, as an expert on The Kurgan, why does he have a scar on his throat in the wiki picture (I assume this is a left over from his fight with Ramirez) and not a misshapen head as a result of his father's loving attention? Either he heals all the way or he does not!