Teachable Consequences

First and foremost - how the heck are ya? Blogging keeps falling to the very bottom of my list of priorities in the midst of everything else. In fact, I have a timer entered in the split screen allowing myself only 10 minutes to blog. SO!

With publishing, committee-ing, advising, stressing about next grants, teaching, wife-ing, mothering,daughtering, and trying to squeeze in time for self, I just haven't had the time I once had to mull over an idea, draft something, and revise it before posting. So we're all just going to have to be okay with a post that may have some errors and hasn't been fully formulated. We good with that? Lez go.

But. Before we move forward. LOOK AT MY SON! Here is an updated photo of Rolandito. More on the mother/academic life later. Promise.

But! For now, here's what's on my mind. I had Facebook comment conversation with a former professor of mine yesterday that has really lingered in the corners of my mind. We were talking teachable moments--specifically in the context of dishonesty/honor violations by students and our shared ambivalence the term and concept of teachable moments.

Here's my issue. When students are exposed to the idea of "teachable moments" are they mistakenly hearing "instead of consequences, we are going to have a talk." You will nod, convey sincere remorse, and use those tools of persuasion we have helped you develop oh-so well. You will make me feel warm and paternal towards you. And then you will move forward through space--empowered by your intellectual and other privileges--believing that this is your birthright. When you stumble and/or intentionally violate a law or social norm, you deserve lenience and understanding. Don't they know you are a good, smart, hard-working person? That you were overwhelmed and made a decision you knew was wrong, but felt was necessary? What are the risks of this in our future business, political, and social leaders? How does this separate our students from others who do not have the buffer of "teachable moments" outside of the ivory tower?

I appreciate the importance of unconditional positive regard, engagement with the intricacies of moral decision making, and true appreciation for the unique developmental period (and executive functioning limitations) of adolescents and young adults. And I wonder -- can consequences be teachable as well? Can we scaffold students to accepting, managing, and moving forward from a consequence effectively? Isn't dealing with the messy, disappointing, unwanted aspects of life a skill we should seek to instill in our students? The ability to accept responsibility and criticism with grace and openness? To figure out a way forward from setbacks?

Isn't that the heart of resilience? Otherwise, what are we really teaching them? I worry.