You Can Catch More Flies With

Honey than Vinegar

BankStreetCollegeRecently fifteen PA Virtual Learning Coaches completed a course with Bank Street College in New York entitled “Meaningful Discipline”. The classes were geared toward ages
5 – 13 and even though our daughter is approaching her 16th birthday,
I nonetheless benefited as a Mom and Learning Coach. Our instructor, Virginia Perrin kept the classes lively and gave many tips for teaching your children discipline as well as how to discipline for positive results.

My most important reminder throughout the weeks was that our students are people. People with personalities, strengths and weaknesses, a mix of different learning styles, and sometimes quirks. Not only that, but I too am a person with a personality, strengths and weaknesses, a particular mix of learning styles and yes, at times, quirks. Student and Learning Coach may find themselves similar or poles apart. That certainly can make the school day interesting.

Nevertheless, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. There are many thoughts as to the original meaning of this expression, however; it could propose one can achieve more with pleasantness than not. (That doesn’t negate consequences for bad decisions/actions, however; communicating those consequences ahead of time gives a student the fuller picture on discipline.) Accordingly, during the school day, if your student needs more attention in a certain concept, give it to them. If both of you need a break, take one. Plan regular snacks/drinks to stay focused on learning instead of hunger. Perhaps giving choices would allow your student to be more involved in the day. Listen to your tone as you speak to your students. Purposefully make your tone one you would respond well to yourself. Learning Coaches do well to acquire new concepts and keep on top of the schools expectations. Learn to bend a little in the present so you don’t break later. Be proactive in giving your students the best you.

One way to ‘catch your flies’ is to consistently communicate expectations and schedules with your student(s). Giving processing time for change during the day works much better than springing a demand on a child (such as – ‘get in the car, we are going to the dentist’). Good communication can result in a student(s) taking on responsibility that actually makes the Learning Coaches’ day more productive.

Personally, I had many ideas to take away from our class time and understood more than ever that we learn not only from the instructor but also each other. (PA Virtual outings are a great avenue for this.) As we completed our homework assignments and discussion boards; both initiating conversation and responding to others comments, I began to follow individual Learning Coaches’ threads as they acted upon the positive in their daily routine. Being proactive in that manner didn’t mean instantaneous success but enabled a Learning Coach to approach their daily role with suggestions from others as to what may work well in their own home. Conclusion – learn all you can from others, trying new ideas – they may have just what you need to ‘catch your flies’.

Cindy Dingeldein
Central Parent Ambassador Regional Coordinator

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