Flexible Learning Environments v Single Cell Classrooms - A Comparison


Single Cell Classrooms

Fundamental Original Purpose


Ability to “fit in,” follow orders (chain of command), think inside the box, perform as directed; expectation that tasks/assignments

would not vary much in one job description.

 

Flexible Learning Environments

Fundamental Original Purpose


Higher priority on networking, people skills, communication skills, creative thinking (“outside the box”) and problem solving, initiative,

flexibility, adaptability; ability to multi-task, shift gears, change to shifting demands of the workplace; people with “vision and attitude.”

 


Single Cell Classrooms

Student Behaviours that Single Cell Classrooms Encourage and Reinforce


  • Following orders, obedience, people-pleasing, asking permission, compliance, dependence.
  • Listening.
  • Respecting authority relationship while protecting existing hierarchy or power structure.
  • Avoiding conflict; peace at any price.
  • Self-sacrifice, self-abandonment; putting others first even at cost to self.
  • Not making waves; maintaining status quo.
  • Ability to “stuff” feelings, appear “fine;” impression management; blaming, making others responsible for how you feel.
  • Following; may include acceptance of imposed values without question or without regard to personal values, integrity
  • •Dependence on leader (credit or blame)

Flexible Learning Environments

Student Behaviours that Flexible Learning Environments Encourage and Reinforce


  • Taking initiative, making decisions within limits of rules or boundaries; self-caring choices.
  • Communicating.
  • Respecting authority relationship while networking, negotiating.
  • Personal integrity.
  • Self-care; maintaining personal boundaries; service and consideration with respect to personal needs.
  • Taking risks, trying new things; innovating.
  • Expressing feelings honestly, responsibly and non-disruptively.
  • Operating according to a personal value system as long as no one’s rights or boundaries are violated.
  • Assuming personal responsibility; teamwork.

Single Cell Classrooms

Values, Priorities & Motivators


  • Uniformity, sameness; fitting in.
  • Stability, permanence, security (rigid roles)
  • Competition.
  • Motivation for cooperation: pleasing authority (approval-seeking), avoiding punishment, humiliation, rejection, disapproval; oriented to adult and adult’s reaction.
  • Outcome or product orientation.
  • Pleasing others regardless of personal needs.
  • Perfectionism.
  • Black-and-white thinking (or all-or-nothing thinking, dualism); tunnel vision.
  • Past or future orientation.
  • Personal worth is dependent on achievement, appearance, wealth, performance, etc.

Flexible Learning Environments

Values, Priorities & Motivators


  • Diversity, personal potential and unfoldment; growth potential, personal fulfillment.
  • Flexibility, choices, personal control, (variable roles, expectations).
  • Cooperation.
  • Motivation for cooperation: personal satisfaction; curiosity; positive consequences or outcomes that are unrelated to adult’s reaction; oriented to student.
  • Process or person orientation.
  • Self-care; doing for others with regard for personal needs
  • Mistakes seen as a necessary and valuable part of growth.
  • Many options and alternatives; ability to see various points of view
  • Present-time orientation.
  • Personal worth is unconditional, regardless of achievement, appearance, performance, etc.

Single Cell Classrooms

Authority Relationships


  • Reactive.
  • Power-oriented; punitive.
  • Win-lose (powering or permissive).
  • Command-oriented; demands; few choices.
  • Teacher sets limits and determines what is and is not negotiable; enforces rules.
  • Student empowerment discouraged; initiative often punished or criticized; perceived as a threat to adult authority.
  • Manipulative.
  • Purpose for rules and boundaries power-based: “Because I said so”; not explained to students.
  • Teacher responsible for students’ behavior.
  • Tendency to take students’ behavior or misbehavior personally; vulnerability of self-worth or sense of adequacy to how kids act
  • Rescuing behavior is common; warnings, inappropriate second chances; denying or making excuses for students’ misbehavior; protecting students from negative outcomes of choices or punishing undesirable choices.
  • Rules and boundaries established to protect teacher power
  • Mistrust; belief that students are “always trying to get away with something” and will behave only in presence of authority they fear.
  • Teachers uncomfortable with students' expressions of feelings (especially anger, sadness or fear); judgment, criticism, blaming, distracting or shaming students for their feelings.
  • Approval of students conditional on students’ cooperative, teacher-pleasing behavior
  • Arrogance, self-centeredness, self-righteousness; “shoulds;” focus on teacher needs.
  • Double standards for adults and children; certain language, behaviors or attitudes that teachers model are punished when students display them.

Flexible Learning Environments

Authority Relationships


  • Proactive, preventative.
  • Goal- or consequence-oriented (positive or negative)
  • Win-win (cooperative).
  • Agreement- or negotiation-oriented; many choices may be offered.
  • Teacher sets limits and determines what is and is not negotiable; encourages self-enforcement.
  • Student empowerment and initiative encouraged within limits that respect everyone’s rights.
  • Direct.
  • Purpose for rules and boundaries is consequence-based, explained to students.
  • Students responsible for their own behavior.
  • Greater detachment from personal impact of students’ behavior (affect of students’ behavior on self-worth or adequacy of teacher) without loss of caring.
  • Students allowed to experience negative (but non-life-threatening) outcomes of choices; “poor choosing” (uncooperative, undesirable choices or behaviors) seen as “learning opportunities” or “teachable moments.”
  • Rules or boundaries established to protect everyone’s rights, consider everyone’s needs.
  • Trust; belief that students will make responsible choices if given the opportunity (and reason) to do so; trust in students’ ability to function even in absence of authority.
  • Teachers accept and encourage students to feel feelings and express them constructively (without hurting others or. themselves); students accepted regardless of their feelings
  • Acceptance of students regardless of their behavior.
  • No need to make student wrong for teacher to be right; respect for students’ needs.
  • Absence of double standards; teachers model behaviors they want children to exhibit.

Single Cell Classrooms

Discipline Goals 


  • Students make few decisions, have few opportunities to act independently.
  • Independence seen as threatening to power, undermining teacher’s role as authority, disciplinarian
  • Punishment for infractions (often long-term and severe); rarely opportunities for self-correction (although remorse, shame and contrition may be accepted)
  • Confusion of student behavior and worth
  • Praise of student for cooperation, achievement, teacher-pleasing behavior (connecting student’s “goodness” to positive choices); emphasis on student, not deed and value of student’s choice to teacher
  • Critical, judgmental; focus on negative
  • Warnings, lectures, delayed consequences
  • Problems with students often referred to outside authority for punishment (principal, counselor, coach, parent)
  • Greater rigidity and uniformity in assignments, rewards; evaluation tends to be comparative (based on the performance of others)

Flexible Learning Environments

Discipline Goals


  • Students have opportunities to make decisions, act independently.
  • Independence seen as supporting cooperative relationship; frees teacher for instruction, guidance, facilitation.
  • Consequences for infractions (often the absence of positive consequences until behavior changes); self-correction encouraged; objective is improved behavior (remorse, shame, contrition are not necessary).
  • Separation of student behavior and worth.
  • Recognition of student cooperation or achievement without judging; emphasis on deed, not student (student’s worth is not an issue) and value of student’s choice to student.
  • Focus on positive
  • Personal responsibility for problems with students; teachers may contact outside authority as a resource, for ideas or support, or simply to let them know what’s going on and how they are going to handle the problem
  • Greater diversity and flexibility in assignments, rewards; evaluation based on individual performance and ability.

Industrial Age Classrooms vs. Information Age Classrooms By Jane Bluestein, Ph.D. Reprinted with permission.