Discipline at a school will pretty much tell the school’s tale. Put another way, show me the discipline approach at school and I will show you the soul of the school. The way administrators and teachers seek to create and maintain student behavior, attitude and culture will reveal the overarching purpose or end the school seeks. It will also reveal much about the disposition and “soul” of the school leadership. The soul of the leaders will inevitably be passed down to become the soul of their students…which is why the classical tradition has always held forth the nurture and shaping of a human soul as one of the highest aims of education. Yes, we teach. But as we teach, we impart. Hallway conversations, lunch, recess, singing, athletic activities and how we respond to student struggles, failure and misbehavior–all combine to create a school culture that more powerfully shapes students than academic instruction. If this is true, perhaps we should spend as much time focusing on creating an invigorating school culture as curriculum development.
The video clip below features four heads of school talking about school discipline and culture. I think you will find their thoughts insightful, challenging and provocative. Each of these men has been leading a classical school for several years and their accumulated wisdom is apparent. From left to right on your screen they are: David Goodwin (Ambrose Academy); Keith Nix (Veritas Classical Christian School); Bob Ingram (Geneva School of Orlando); Rod Gilbert (Regents School of Austin).
This video is an early-release video produced by the Institute for Classical Schools. Many videos like this will be featured on the forthcoming ICS website called the Classical School Round Table, which should launch this July. The video is just under 30 minutes long, but you can skip around and view excerpts if you like.