Honesty, politeness, co-operation, consideration, empathy, integrity, compassion, doing ‘what is right’.
In a classroom, you need compliance: with thirty plus children you can’t have a free-for-all. It’s (sometimes) possible to force children into behaving well, through punishments. But what we really want is co-operation. We want the children to choose to behave because it is the good thing to do. We want them to learn the right values.
When we insist children comply, they stay quiet. Rebels simmer resentfully, bubbling up every now and again. The creative spark is dimmed. There is focused activity, but at a cost. If we can support children to behave of their own volition they, and the teacher, are freed up to work together. The relationship is based on trust and compassion and joint exploration. Creativity flourishes, risk happens. We help them to learn the right values.
Systems encourage compliance, especially when backed up with a ‘win or lose’ mentality. Do this: or else. Compliance is the enemy of risk, and compassion, and creativity. It makes our values slip and slide. We start to do what we are told because we must, not because we would. We have a choice when faced with a system that threatens our values. It’s a stark one: comply or rebel. In the end, the only way we can decide is to ask ourselves what we believe the right values are.