538
October 17, 2014

Is This Working?

Stories of schools struggling with what to do with misbehaving kids. There's no general agreement about what teachers should do to discipline kids. And there's evidence that some of the most popular punishments actually may harm kids.

A student at Lyons Community School in New York does an exercise before a student "circle."

NOTE: In the Internet version of this episode, we leave curse words unbleeped. If you would prefer, you can listen to a bleeped version.

Prologue

When it comes to disciplining young people, teachers are winging it. We ask middle school teachers all over the country to walk us through how they get a kid to take his hat off. The book Ira mentions is called Building a Better Teacher by reporter Elizabeth Green; it’s eye-opening in a number of ways. (5 1/2 minutes)

The Guinea Pig Becomes the Scientist

About 20 years ago, a group of educators launched one of the biggest recent experiments in American education when they started creating charter schools designed for poor, minority kids. The idea was to create classrooms that are rigorous and strict. We talk with a student named Rousseau Mieze, who grew up in a school like that and then became a teacher. (10 minutes)
Serial Season Three is here. Listen Now