Goodman, Joan F

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Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • Publication
    Working the Crevices: Granting Students Authority in Authoritarian Schools
    (2011-05-01) Goodman, Joan F; Hoagland, Jessica; Pierre-Toussaint, Nadel; Rodriguez, Celeste; Sanabria, Christina
    Schools are beset with a serious “alienation gap” between teachers and students that is no less a problem than the “achievement gap.” Increasing student voice is thought to be one means to fill the gap, for it activates agency and thereby decreases passivity. The extent of agency ranges from attentive adult listening to strong student leadership. Here we concentrate on distinguishing elements of freedom, power, and authority in the enactment of agency, particularly how these elements can be distributed to students in urban authoritarian schools. In this article, four second-year Teach for America graduate students describe and reflect on their separate initiatives. Following the descriptions, the senior author, in a cross-case analysis, suggests factors associated with successful outcomes—enhanced self-esteem, individual rather than collective pride, careful consideration of the external context, constrained objectives, and the transfer of authority rather than power. We conclude that in troubled, impoverished schools, incremental change in distributing genuine authority is a promising possibility for enhancing school attachment.
  • Publication
    Suppression of the aggressive impulse: Conceptual difficulties in anti-violence programs
    (2010-02-01) Goodman, Joan F; Kitzmiller, Erika
    School anti-violence programs are united in their radical condemnation of aggression, generally equated with violence. The programs advocate its elimination by priming children's emotional and cognitive controls. What goes unrecognized is the embeddedness of aggression in human beings, as well its positive psychological and moral functions. In attempting to eradicate aggression, schools increase the risk of student disaffection while stifling the goods associated with it: status, power, dominance, agency, mastery, pride, social-affiliation, social-approval, loyalty, self-respect, and self-confidence. It is argued that the distribution to students of power and authority, plausible substitutes for aggression, would enable them to express aggression in a legitimated manner and simultaneously encourage their attachment to school. A vibrant anti-violence program that attracts children will find a way for caring, amiability, sympathy, and kindness to live in tandem with competition, power, assertiveness, and anger tamed by institutional constraints.
  • Publication
    School Discipline in Moral Disarray
    (2006-06-01) Goodman, Joan F
    It is argued that current school disciplinary policies are ineffective instruments for delivering moral messages: they are poorly justified; fail to distinguish moral violations – violence, vandalism, deception – from conventional school-limited violations – attendance, dress codes, eating venues – leaving the impression that dress code violations and forgery are equivalent; conflate sanctions, including presumed punishments (detentions and suspensions), with other forms of corrections (conferences, positive and negative reinforcement) and apply them without distinction to moral and non-moral wrong-doing. To be morally instructive school disciplinary codes should separate three types of infractions – moral, derivatively moral, and conventional. The derivatively moral includes rules that while not moral in isolation – eating outside the cafeteria – become imbued with moral attributes under particular interpretations; conventional wrongs have no moral valence but are rules designed for orderly school management. Sanctions, too, should be applied differentially according to category of infraction. Punishment, if used, is appropriate only for intentional moral wrong-doing, connected to acknowledgement of culpability, and conditional upon a clear articulation of the school's moral objectives that is persuasive to children and the community.
  • Publication
    Student authority: Antidote to alienation
    (2010-11-01) Goodman, Joan F
    The widespread disaffection of students from school is manifested in academic failure, indifference, and defiance. These problems can be alleviated, I argue, when an authority structure is developed that combines three components – freedom, power, and legitimacy. Authority understood as either power or freedom is apt to subvert students’ school attachment even while attempting to strengthen it; authority that combines power and freedom, when perceived by all parties as serving a legitimate mission, is apt to enhance engagement. The bonding potency of authority is augmented when it is joined to strongly marked school purposes and dispersed to students. The three components of authority are interwoven with school visions and student authority into various patterns: some schools lean more towards power, others more towards freedom; some operate under highly moralized and totalizing visions, others under vaguer, less moral, and less encompassing visions. The nature and interdependence of the three components and the trade-offs under various combinations are discussed. While legitimate authority has many faces, if schools are to be engaging places for students it is essential that the norms promoted are welcomed by them; advantageous to that process is ordaining students with authority to advance prevailing norms.