This is an open letter to the Allegany County Board of Education regarding “behavior book and distribution.”

Reading the article “Board considers behavior book distribution and/or discussion” (July 17 Times-News, Page 1A), questions immediately came to mind.

Over the past year having had to become an “expert” on the expectations of the current generation of students for my job at Johns Hopkins, I would ask the board to think carefully before proceeding in the direction described in the article.

Were students included in developing these behavior standards? Were students asked how they thought the message could best be distributed to the student body at large? Has there been any type of campaign to include the support of parents in holding students accountable for the expected behaviors?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then the board is to be congratulated. If the answer is no, then the board needs to withdraw and reconsider.

In order to have buy-in by the students and the parents, they need to be part of the process. The students will tell you that Mr. Striplin is correct ... 13 pages of printed “orders” will wind up in the trash. It is a waste of $5,000.

A classroom lecture won’t work either. This generation lives on blogs, wikis, Facebook, My Space, Twitter and many other Web 2.0 social media sites. That is the place to present the information. Boomer teachers, administrators, and board members need to get advice and ideas from the generation they are trying to reach.

Think out-of-the-box and consider posting the document on a wiki letting students help construct it using the theories of connectivity and constructivism.

This generation loves to collaborate. Let representatives from the various school student councils, with facilitation from administrators, set the parameters for behavior. Empower the students to participate in true shared governance and hold peers accountable.

With the information posted on the Web, make some interactive class assignments to discuss the points that have changed and are of particular interest related to interracial problems and bullying.

There is a revolutionary educational paradigm shift in progress because of technology. The old methods of education that have been used for hundreds of years are not effective with this generation of digital natives.

It’s time for Baby Boomer teachers, administrators, and Boards to face the fact that change is necessary.

It is time for Boomers to decide what their legacy will be ... holding stubbornly to doing it their way or doing whatever it takes to get the desired outcomes from this technologically savvy generation.

After all, isn’t it the outcome of appropriate behavior that is needed?

Leah Yoder, MSN, RN

Program Director—SPRING,

Johns Hopkins Hospital


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