Year: 1996-1997
Month: September
Leader: Group J

Situation/Case Study:

Kids are given a paper assignment to do in a Tech Ed. class. One boy refuses to do the paperwork. After being ordered to, the student heaves a block of wood across room. Expectations and Code of Safety had been announced. Student is sent to the Dean and is asked to suggest what is an appropriate response to his behavior. Further details: elective Woodworking class: one and a half-hours long; grades 9 & 10. Students have been doing 3 weeks of paperwork and sitting on floor due to the fact the wiring has not been put in so the woodworking machines could be operative. Paperwork consists of written safety tests students must pass before they can use machines. During the paperwork time teacher rotates among students to discuss possible project ideas. After being confronted about not doing the paperwork one boy heaves wood block across the room. Code of Safety is reviewed and student is sent out of the room with the expectation that he is to report to the Dean. The teacher has not received any communication from the kid or the dean. The teacher has not taken the time to pursue the whereabouts of the student or tried to talk to the dean.

Generate a meeting with all parties involved: Is this a bigger problem than woodworking or paperwork? What drove the student to act as he chose? What is the teacher's responsibility in light of the Safety factors, statement to the other students, liability; what is the teacher's responsibility for achievement? Code of conduct, goal of zero accidents, setting standards, and teacher's reputation are the "political winds" guiding the teacher's behavior. One participant listed why the teacher did the only right thing: action was quick and decisive; student was not degraded, just sent to the dean and response consequential. What other activities could students do instead of only paperwork given the fact the teacher knew the machines weren't wired? Was the student's reading level considered? Have students complete 3 x 5 cards giving personal information that includes interests and hobbies. Could this be used to know more about how to interest the students?

Theories behind practice:

Impact on others:
Respecting the Tech Ed. department's Code of Safety & Liability. Establishing the reputation and power of the Tech Ed. instructor to set the standards of achievement & behavior. Behavior of student in an elective class was inappropriate.


The facilitator reminded the group of the purpose of the reflection process, i.e., “how can something different be done to offer the students greater opportunities to learn.” It is the feeling of the facilitator that the Tech Ed teachers dominated and intimidated the group. They insisted nothing else could have been done in this episode because of the safety issues and the Code of Conduct unique to their department. One Tech Ed participant was argumentative; the chair of the department was proud of the way the teacher upheld his reputation and the Code. There was no creative alternatives generated after the Tech Ed representatives finished expounding on their own virtues. Little attention was given to the fact the student has not been heard of or seen since leaving the teacher’s class; that the Dean has not notified the teacher of the status of the student; and that the teacher “has not had time” to talk with the dean. The allotted time for the process expired before any discussion could be initiated concerning theories of learning or any research that might focus on the student and not the protection of the teacher.