Question 2: Why might teachers find it difficult to put Redl and Wattenbergs approach into practice in todays classrooms?
Redl and Wattenbergs approach uses group psychology theories to enable teachers to engage in better classroom management. By understanding what students are the class clown, or the leaders or followers, teachers can strive to change the dynamic of the interpersonal relationships within the room to create a more productive classroom environment. Also, teachers must work individually with students so that students underlying assumptions about themselves as learners can be unpacked, and if necessary challenged and made more productive.
Unfortunately, teachers today often deal with overcrowded classrooms, the result of budget cuts in recent years. They also have a more standardized curriculum, which can be difficult to manipulate and tweak to suit the needs of student psychology. Removing a student temporarily from an uncomfortable classroom dynamic may not be an option, given that alternative placement may not be available. And some of the techniques suggested by Redl and Wattenberg: “eye contact, moving closer, humor, encouragement, and ignoring,” and even physical touching may be prohibited by district policy (Redl and Wattenbergs model, 2010, Teacher Matters).
Showing a special interest in a student who seems alienated might not be feasible, given time constraints, or actively frowned upon by administrators because it could incur accusation of favoritism — or worse — from parents. However, teachers can become more conscious of the roles students and they themselves play within the classroom environment and attempt to make those roles more harmonious and more complex. Teachers must look beyond the constraints of the traditional adversarial role of the teacher who prods his or her students to unwillingly learn. Students must be encouraged to assume the roles of willing and productive learners by a teacher who positions him or herself as a supporter of the learning process.
Choice therapy. (2010). William Glasser Institute. Retrieved October 3, 2010 at http://www.wglasser.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=27
Redl and Wattenbergs model. (2010). Teacher Matters. Retrieved October 3, 2010 at http://www.teachermatters.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10:redl-wattenberg&catid=4:models-of-discipline&Itemid=4.