Circling the Wagons
No doubt it’s healthy and productive for schools to seek to mimic those fading opportunities for group gatherings and discussion, but Julia Steiny’s column on “circles” at the Paul Cuffee Charter School carries a hint of the “war on boys.” This part is particularly creepy:
The power of circles to reintegrate wrongdoers back into the community depends on the individuals’ desire to get along with one another and to belong in the community. Not all do. Some students can be a lot of work to integrate, if they haven’t been well socialized at home or in their previous schools. Of these kids, Shaw says “We say we have to ‘Paul-Cuffeeize them,’ or teach them how to be part of a community.”
We should be wary of creating social circles to govern the classroom. Even when the goal is a practical harmony, pushing individualists out and rewarding politics are a danger, as is the promulgation of an incomplete understanding of human interactions.