Author Archives: Dr. Darrin

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Types of Planning

Planning is a critical part of the educational process. Teachers plan every day what they will do. Administrators might actually do more planning than the teachers at times. Due to the nature of their position, leaders need to make many different types of plans to guide their institutions. In this post, we will look at some of the different types of plans that are used by institutions.

Hierarchical Plans

Hierarchical plans are plans that have levels to them. There are several types of hierarchical plans. Some of the hierarchical plans include strategic administrative and operating plans. Each of these plans serves a specific purpose within an institution.

Strategic plans explain the general position of the school in terms of mission and vision. The strategic plan may also include a philosophy statement of what the institution is about. This is perhaps the highest level at which planning can take place. In addition, most accreditation agencies expect some sort of mission and vision statement along with evidence of how these statements are communicated to shareholders.


The administrative plan is for determining the allocation of resources within an institution. Another way to see this is the administrative plan explains how resources are distributed for the achievement of the mission and vision statement of the strategic plan. The purpose behind this is that resources must be shared to achieve the mission statement of the institution and thus the strategic plan guides the administrative plan which is focused on implementation.

Lastly, the operating plan deals with the day-to-day running of the institution. After the vision is set, and the resources are distributed, the operating plan uses the resources daily. This can include salaries, lesson plan development, grade submission, activities for students, etc.

Frequency of use plans

There are of course other plans besides the hierarchical plans mentioned above. Another type is frequency of use plans. These are plans that are referred to often in the day-to-day of the institution. Standing plans include the rules, policies, and procedures of an organization. Policies guide decision-making and guide behavior. Examples can include policies and professional development which are often not rigid and can be negotiated with the school or committee in charge of this process.

Rules are stricter than policies and remove the interpretation that can happen under policies. For example, it might be a rule that teachers can only spend a certain amount of money on travel per year. Lastly, Procedures specify steps to take to complete a task, such as logging into the institution’s email system.

Some plans might only be used once. These can include budgets that are used once a year and then updated. Other examples can be plans for a project which has a specific start and end date. Once the project is over the plan will probably not be reused again.

Other PLans

There are also several other miscellaneous plans. Time-frame plans are plans based on the duration of the plan. Short plans are less than a year and an example would be most lesson planning. Medium plans last up to five years and are generally institutional-level plans to meet accreditation expectations. Lastly, long-term plans are over five years in length and are generally long-term development plans for an institution.

Plans can also be focused within a specific scope of the institution. There could be specific plans for various departments within a school. In addition, plans might only involve specific stakeholders. For example, there might be plans that only affect teachers or only affects students. Lastly, there are also contingency plans which are plans that usually deal with emergencies such as fires or natural disasters.


Planning is always going to be a major responsibility of institutions as they look for ways to support their stakeholders. The examples shared here are probably plans that many have made before but may not know the exact terminology involved. Therefore, hopefully, what was shared here is insightful.

Overview of Intro to a Research Paper VIDEO

Writing a research paper is an extremely challenging experience. The beginning in particular is perhaps the most difficult part as it is unclear what to do. The video below provides an overview of the different components of the introduction of a research paper.

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Brief History of Status Offenses in the US

Status offenses are behaviors and or conduct that is illegal for a child because they are considered underage. In this post, we will look at examples of status offenses as well as the history and development of the concept of status offenses.


Examples of status offenses in the US include alcohol and drug consumption, truancy, running away, curfew violations, sexual activity, profanity use, and disobedience to parents. These are all actions that are not illegal for adults to do. It is obvious that an adult can run away if they so choose, use profanity, and or disobey their parents.


However, even among adults, there can be consequences for these actions. For example, alcohol and drug consumption may be legal for adults but losing control can impact friends, family, and job performance which could lead to major problems. In addition, using profanity at the wrong time can lead to social consequences. Truancy from the job could also lead to termination. In other words, even though adults have free reign to perform status offenses there could be problems with these behaviors that may not involve the law.

History of Status Offenses

In the US, it was common at one time to place status offenders in orphanages or some other residential setting. Laws were even passed to deal with rebellious children. For example, Massachusetts passed a law in 1646 that could give a rebellious child the death penalty for defying their parents.

Status offenders normally are not petitioned to a juvenile court unless the parents are unable to deal with the child. This is in line with the state serving as a parental figure or parens patriae. Parents themselves can petition their own children to juvenile court if the behavior is out of control.

Children who are only status offenders are referred to by various names depending on the state. Some of the acronyms are “children in need of supervision” (CHINS), “minors in need of supervision” (MINS), or “youth in need of supervision” (YINS) among several others. The reason behind this labeling is so that status offenders are not associated with juvenile delinquents. In addition, status offenders are generally treated less harshly than juvenile delinquents due to the nature of the behaviors they are accused of committing.

There have been pushes to make changes to status offenses. Some do not believe that youths should have to obey laws that adults do not have to obey. Others have pushed for reform in the language that defines status offenses. At one time, there were demands that status offenders should not be placed in secure facilities given the nature of their crimes.

For the Teacher

As a teacher, it is important to know that most youths are guilty of status offenses. As such, those who are taken to juvenile court are probably in poor family situations in which the behavior attracts the police and or was in the wrong place at the wrong time. At most schools today you will find status offenses taking place. It would be difficult to find a school in which drug use, profanity, sexual activity, and more are not happening.

The general point is that for the teacher, status offenses may indicate an unstable home environment. If a student is in this situation the teacher needs to provide whatever support they can that is reasonable to help this student so that they do not drop out and or fall behind academically.


Mistakes are what people do. Children are no exception. However, due to their age and inexperience, young people have additional rules and laws they have to follow for their own safety. Status offenses are additional restraints placed on youth because of their youth. When children break the rules there is a chance that they can be brought before a juvenile court.

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Historical Ways of Supporting Children

Today there is a huge industry that looks to support children from unfortunate backgrounds. These can be kids who come from broken homes, have learning disabilities, and or from a generally poor background. Whatever the case, these problems have been around in one way or another for a long time. In this post, we will look at how such unfortunate were supported in the past.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, families in Europe were primarily patriarchal in nature. The father had a great degree of authority over his family. Among the poor, most children had to endure harsh discipline and no real sense of childhood. As soon as possible a child was expected to work and help the family. Boys would learn blue-collar skills such as farming or blacksmith while girls would learn domestic skills such as cooking and caring for children.


Among the wealthy things were slightly better. Wealthy children received a superior education being able to study such things as the classics and Latin. Boys of the upper class would focus on warfare while girls would continue to develop domestic skills. One thing the rich had in common with the poor was harsh discipline.

Things Begin to Change

During the Enlightenment, there are some changes to the structure of the family. The extended family gave way to the nuclear family. Schools become more common and even higher education becomes something that the middle class can take advantage of.

Various thought leaders (could philosophers in those days) began to share new views on child-rearing. Rousseau, Lock, and Voltaire all spoke of “childhood” as a unique part of life and how there should be more leniency in disciplining children. The ideas of childhood being a separate part of life and the need for different methods of disciplining children would influence reforms in juvenile justice.

Supporting Unfortunate Children

During this same time of the Enlightenment, there were several efforts to support poor or disadvantaged children. England had poor laws which allowed a family to care for a neglected child and teach them a trade. The neglected child had no choice and had to work for this family. An entire industry sprang up to identify children who were neglected. Naturally, there were times when this system was abused by the family and even by the children at times.

Another similar way of supporting children was apprenticeships. It’s hard to tell the difference between poor laws and apprenticeships. The main difference may be that apprenticeships were available to anybody and not just poor children.

Both poor laws and apprenticeships were used in Europe and the USA. Such a system helps to keep kids off the street and gives them a skill by which they can support themselves and maybe a family one day. Eventually, this system of supporting young people would give way as many master craftsmen were put out of business by the rise of factories which negated the need for an apprentice. Children could skip this process and go straight to the factories to work and this is what happen for several decades before laws were passed to require school attendance.


Children will always make mistakes and challenge authority. However, the blatant disrespect of today was not found in the past. The harsh discipline that children experienced during the Middle Ages helped to temper disrespectful behavior. Of course, children were still found to commit crimes and hurt each other but the contempt for authority was not as strong as is found today.

Defining A Quantitative Research Problem VIDEO

Identifying a research problem is one of the hardest parts of writing a research paper. If this is done poorly you may have to go back and redefine the problem our you may discover that you cannot go forward in your research. For this reason, the video below explains what a research problem is along with a criterion to consider when selecting potential research problem.

floor plan on table

Planning Process of Managers

In this post, we will look at planning from the perspective of business managers. The five-step process below explains how managers plan. While considering this we will look at how teachers address planning in a slightly different way.

  1. Developing Awareness of Current Situation

Before plans can be made a manager must be aware of the current state of the context. Developing this knowledge of the current state of the situation is called developing awareness. It is hard to plan when one does not know what is already going on. Within education, a needs assessment is sometimes used to develop a map of the current challenges the institution is facing

Once a manager has an idea of what is going on within the setting for which they are needed for decision making they can now move to actually develop a plan.

2. Establishing Outcome(s)

Step two involves making outcome statements. Outcome statements explain where the team is trying to go or is heading. These statements are end statements that indicate how things should be different once the plan is over. An example of an outcome statement would be “improving customer retention by ten percent.” This statement clearly has something that can be measured and thus can be used as an outcome.


In education, it is common for teachers to have goals and objectives. Goals tend to be broader and unmeasurable but still serve the function of guiding a teacher. A simple example of a goal would be “be the best.” On the surface, this statement does not have meaning have much meaning but it does establish a general sense of direction. Objectives are much more narrow but easily measured. An example of an objective would be “after training, the salesmen in appliances will boost sales of appliances by 10% within 6 months. In this example, everything seems to be laid out. When planning is focused on goals and action it is called goal planning.

3. Premising

Premising involves analyzing the assumptions that managers have about the current plan. In addition, premising can be used to determine what resources and materials are needed to complete the plan.

For example, a manager is planning to place their kitchen supplies on sale. Obviously, the manager is assuming they have enough supply of kitchen supplies that a sale is warranted. In addition, the manager is also assuming they can advertise on the days they want. These assumptions need to be checked because assuming them could be disastrous.

In education premising is not as common in the middle of the context as it is in the very first step.

4Course of Action

In step 4, a manager starts to determine how to move their team from the current state to the outcome state. This can involve creating action statements which are statements that indicate the way a goal will be achieved. For example, if an organization is trying to boost sales an action statement might involve sending people for training in new products. In other words, product training is the action for achieving the outcome of increased sales.

The ideas in this process are highly similar to what is done in education. Instead of an action statement. The main difference is terminology in which education is focused on objectives while management is focused on action statements.

5. Supportive Plans

Supportive plans are additional plans that help to achieve a larger plan. For example, it was mentioned how workers might need training to boost sales. Boosting sales is the main plan but it might be needed to make a supportive plan to get workers trained on new products.

Teachers might make supportive plans on accident and probably don’t see or consider them as supportive plans. For example, if a teacher is teaching math that is too difficult for the students, the teacher might make a supportive plan to provide remedial reteaching to help catch the students up.


Planning is a critical part of management. Teaching involves extensive planning. The goal here was simply to show a different way of planning as derived from the business world. The ideas presented here may be useful for some.

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Probation Services for Juveniles

Probation is a form of supervision for juveniles who are not required to stay in detention. When a youth is on probation they are supervised by an individual called a probation officer in most instances. The probation officer will do what is called a social history investigation in which they learn about the background of the youth who is on probation. The investigation can include such information as the crimes the youth committed, a list of friends and relatives, and demographic information.

Probation can serve many different purposes. For youths who did something wrong but it is not considered that serious by the local authorities, probation is the punishment for a crime committed. Probation is also for youths who may be facing a more serious punishment but are out on “bail” while they await their fate. Probation can also serve as a form of parole in some situations for youths who are being released from “prison” for whatever offense they committed. When a youth is released to a probation officer’s supervision this is also called aftercare.


While the youth is on probation certain rules have to be followed. Some of these rules include curfews, restrictions on travel, school attendance, and attending meetings with the probation officer. Failure to comply with these rules could lead to a warrant being issued for the arrest of the youth and possible placement in detention.

School is where teachers may be involved. It is not unheard of for probation officers to visit schools and talk to teachers. The probation officer may ask about attendance and or about academic progress as the are metrics for determining if the youth is cooperating or not.

Certain additional actions may be required as well. For example, at times youth are required to do community service, provide restitution to whoever was the victim of their crimes, and or undergo counseling. What forms of actions the youth has to perform really depends on the scope of the crimes they are accused of.

Philosophies on Supervision

Different states and people within juvenile justice have varying views on the role of probation. Some see probation as being a balanced approach between punishment and restorative views. In the minds of people who believe in a balanced approach, they are looking for probation to provide competency development, acountability, and community safety. An important function in a balanced approach would be community service as it holds a youth responsibility while also restoring community relationships.

Others hold to a punitive model, in this approach the goal is to punish the offender. Such a get-tough approach could involve the probation officer and even police coming to the youth’s home and explaining the rules of probation along with the consequences. The probation team may even search the home of the youth looking for violations of probation. Naturally, this approach often builds animosity between the youth and the probation officer.

Another view is called restorative justice. This approach involves a focus on repairing relationships within the community through mediation and meetings between the victim and perpetrator. The real goal of this approach is to empower the local community to deal with the inappropriate behavior of their youth. As such, this is often a team of probation and local community leaders who work together to help young people who have made mistakes. This approach sounds good on paper but the decline in community responsibility over the years makes it difficult to implement.


Probation has been around for over 100 years and is not going anywhere anytime soon. As such, there is a place for all of these approaches yet none have been consistently found to be superior to any other. Therefore, different approaches are appropriate for different situations.


Juvenile Facilities

Teachers may have to deal with students who have made major mistakes and are sent away for breaking the law. This post will provide insights into youths who are sent to these training schools because of mistakes they have made. Teachers, who have to deal with this have to be aware of the challenges of this young person as their life is put on hold for several months if not years.

State Training Schools

State training schools are the juvenile name for prison. Essentially, delinquents are sent her after their petition is found true (found guilty) and their disposition (sentencing) calls for this. Often these schools are built like adult prisons but sometimes a cottage system approach is used in which there is a form of dormitory style of living. The approach depends on the philosophy of the state of incarceration.


Within training schools, there is often an emphasis on academic and or vocational training. Other programs available can be remedial academic skills, life skills, and behavioral subjects such as anger management, drug abuse, and other programs. The primary goal is always to empower the delinquent to not return to the system by breaking the law again.

Some schools also place a strong emphasis on behavior modification. This can involve some sort of point system for desired behaviors. Examples include lining up properly, getting out of bed on time, etc. These points can be used for various privileges such as phone calls, watching tv, or some other desirable opportunity.

Profile of Typical Resident

Delinquents who are placed in state training schools often have certain characteristics. For example, mental health is a major concern. Approximately 70% of youths in the juvenile justice system have mental health concerns. Examples include depression, anger, and anxiety, to name a few. These problems are further exacerbated for students placed in a training school as placement in such a facility is usually due to serious infractions of the law.

The challenges with mental health can lead to serious repercussions such as suicide. The majority of juvenile suicides in confinement happen inside training schools. The most common method is hanging.

Youths who experience residential placement are also at a higher risk of victimization from other youths in the facility. Youths in placement fear such things as being attacked by other youths or even by staff members. Sexual assault is another concern of youth that can be perpetrated by other youths or staff members. Victimization can be further complicated by racial tension. Youths from different ethnicities will target and attack one another.

A unique problem of training schools is a lack of heterosexual physical contact. Researchers have found that youths will temporarily switch to same-sex companionship while at the training school to deal with this situation. Naturally, this is a controversial topic but there is some evidence to support this has happened in the past.


There have been calls to close down training schools. The argument is that they are an outdated form of helping delinquents who need intervention. However, there is room in the system for a variety of ways to help delinquents learn from their mistakes. Training schools are one method that is appropriate in some situations. It is equally harmful to remove training schools just as it is to send every youth to one of these whose mistakes warrant such an intervention.

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Contingency Model and Teaching

Fred Fiedler developed his contingency theory of leadership for management purposes. However, we are going to examine this theory within the context of teaching and the classroom.


Fiedler believed that management success involved assessing the leader, the potential situation(s) the leader will face, and matching the best leader in terms of the situation. Assessing the leader involved identifying the traits of the leader’s least-preferred coworker (LPC). LPC is the nightmare colleague for the leader. For example, some leaders prefer friendly coworkers and some do not. Fiedler measured this and found two common types of leaders.


Leaders with high scores on the LPC were considered relationship-oriented. What this means is that the leader needs to develop interpersonal relationships with colleagues. Since relationships are important high LPC leaders see their colleagues positively and task accomplishment was not as important. In contrast, low LPC leaders were task-oriented and viewed their least preferred colleagues negatively. In addition, low LPC leaders were focused on achievement.

The component of contingency theory is the situation or setting. Situational favorableness is a measure of a leader’s perception of the control they have in the outcome(s) of group interaction and or influence of the processes of the group. There are three concepts related to this and they are leader-member relations which is the willingness of the workers to follow the leader, task structure which is the clarity of the task, and position power which is a measure of ability to influence members.

The goal of high-level leaders is to match lower-level leaders with the appropriate situation that matches their LPC. High LPC works best in situations with moderate favorability and struggle in the extremes. This may be because medium favorability allows high LPC leaders to focus on relationships as tasks are generally completed with a high degree of control necessary.

Low LPC leaders work best in the extremes of low and high favorability. In situations where work is not getting done low LPC leaders establish structure. Whereas in highly favorable settings low LPC leaders do not impose on the group because tasks are being completed.

In the Classroom

Teachers may not have an LPC but they may have a least preferred student (LPS). As such, teachers who are more relationship-focused may struggle with establishing order in the classroom. In contrast task, oriented teachers may struggle with supporting students socio-emotionally.

The goal of leadership is to match their teachers to the situation that is best for their needs. Easy-going teachers need a moderately favorable situation in which tasks are often completed and there is not a huge need to impose structure. Task-oriented teachers need settings in which order needs to be imposed or a situation in which order is already established.

Teachers also need to be aware of their leadership style. Relationship-oriented teachers need to be aware of this so that when they are in a setting that does not match their style they can adapt to meet that particular situation. This same idea applies to task-oriented teachers. Task-oriented teachers need to be aware of this preference and make adjustments if they find themselves in a classroom that is not focused on achievement.


It is easy to say that one style of leadership is better than another. However, it is the leadership style plus the setting in which the leaders work that determines what is best. Some situations call for structure and task management while others need a leader who is more in tune with the relationship needs of their students.

brown wooden gavel on brown wooden table

Juvenile Court Process

In this post, we will examine the juvenile court process. This process is involved when young people commit crimes and they have to experience “the system” while legal experts try to work out what is best for those involved.

There are different ways to split up the process and explain it. However, for our purposes, we will divide the process into the following steps

  • Detention
  • Intake Decision
  • Adujdication and diposition

Each of the above bullets are explained below.


When a youth is accused of committing a crime and is detained by police one of the first questions to answer is where to keep them. The answer to this question is the first step in the juvenile court process and is called detention.


Essentially there are two choices, the youth stays in a government facility, which is called custody, or they stay at home. Approximately 1/4 of delinquents stay in custody and the rest and sent home. The decision for detention is the equivalent of a bail decision for an adult.

The people in charge of determining the type of detention are the probation officer and or prosecutors and the decision is made at a detention hearing. If a child is detained it is the equivalent of being sent to jail. Initially, the child will probably be kept in a county-run facility and this will change when the legal process is complete.

Once in detention, there are two common types and these are secure and non-secure. A secure facility is again more akin to jail. A non-secure facility is similar to a group home. There are no locks and the youth could run away with ease if they desired. Where a child is placed depends on the severity of the crime they are accused of.

Once a child is placed in a facility state governments usually offer some sort of treatment while sorting out the legal process. Examples include behavior modification, working towards a GED, and or vocational training. Any or all of these may be available in addition to other forms of treatment not mentioned.

Intake decision

Once the detention decision is made the next step in the process is called the intake decision. At this stage, the probation officer and or prosecutors decide if they will file a petition, which is the equivalent of pressing charges. Whether a petition is filed or not depends on the amount of evidence and consideration of what is best for all parties involved.

If a crime is serious enough it can be transferred or waived to adult court. The criteria for sending a youth to adult court varies from state to state but most if not all states have a process for doing this. Normally, only serious crimes are moved to adult court such as murder.

A child may not face a petition if the probation officer and or prosecutors choose a different route to complete the legal process. Another way to complete this process is called an informal adjustment. An informal adjustment is dealing with the accusations against the youth without a petition. For example, if a kid is caught making graffiti an informal adjustment may be that the child agrees to pay for the damages and repaint the wall.

Adjudication & Disposition

Once the court proceedings are complete the petition is found to be true or not true, which is the equivalent of guilty or not guilty. When the petition is found to be true another term for this is adjudicated.

Once adjudicated the youth then faces a disposition, which is the equivalent of sentencing. At this step of the process, the youth receives their “punishment.” The child could be committed to a state-run facility which is essentially prison, they could be placed on probation or a host of other options.

An interesting note, Plea bargains are also common among juveniles accused of crimes but jury trials are not. The reason for this is philosophical as many believe that juvenile court should be different from adult court due to the accused individual’s age.


The juvenile court process is unique. Hopefully, a young person never has to be involved in this system. However, for those who do make mistakes, this system is in place to try and help those involved.

man wearing black button up long sleeved writing of board

Leadership Grid and Classroom Management

Teachers are called to be leaders of children. This implies that teachers need to understand different leadership styles even if all the details of leadership do not apply in the context of children. Blake and Mouton (1999) developed a leadership grid that helps to identify different styles of leadership that a person may have that apply to the context of the business management world. In this post, we will look at these leadership styles within the context of the classroom

Blake and Mouton identified 5 types of leadership

  • Indifferent
  • Accommodating
  • Sound
  • Controlling
  • Status quo

These five leadership styles are based on concerns for production and concerns for people. Each will be discussed below

Indifferent Leadership

Indifferent leadership is an evasive and elusive style of leading. In this style, people have little concern for production or for the people. Leaders of this type avoid taking responsibility for outcomes and want to avoid problems.


A teacher with this leadership style is not worried about student outcomes or the students. Such a teacher blames others for poor results and avoids dealing with problems when they arise. It is difficult to have this leadership style as a teacher as students will quickly discern a teacher’s indifference and take full advantage of it.


Accommodating leaders have a high concern for people and low concern for production. The primary goal is harmony and maintaining enthusiasm. A leader of this type is going to yield and comply when facing a challenge.

Teachers with an accommodating leadership style are generally popular teachers. They make students feel good by making the student learn too much. This focus on relationships and indifference to production allows these teachers to connect with students without being the “bad guy.” As mentioned early, students love this type of teacher until they move to the next level of learning and realize they were not prepared for it properly.


A controlling leader is an individual that establishes control and states what they want clearly. This type of leader is concerned with production and has little concern for people. People are held accountable and there is no accommodating of excuses. The key characteristics of this type of leader are directing and dominating.

A teacher with this style of leadership is often viewed as a “task-master” by students. This teacher is tough but fair and holds students to high standards. Students may generally hate this type of teacher but will grow to appreciate the strictness when they move forward in life and see how they were prepared for future challenges.


A leader with a sound style has high concern not only for production but also for people. This leader encourages involvement and commitment from subordinates and explores multiple positions. Of course, this is a difficult balancing act and thus it is hard to find sound leaders.

A teacher with a sound leadership style will push students while also supporting them. This type of teacher will also listen to and hear the concerns of students while maintaining high standards. As already mentioned, it is difficult to balance performance with the emotional needs and concerns of students.

Status Quo

A status quo leader is an individual with moderate concern for production and people. They look for popular yet cautious results and seek to achieve consensus wherever possible. Generally, this style of leader will do what it takes to keep things the way they are.

Status quo teachers focus on keeping things the way they are. There is little desire for pushing students but rather a desire to make sure they don’t fall behind. As such, this type of teacher is simply looking to do their job.


There is a time and place for each of these styles. An indifferent leadership style can be successful in a highly unique classroom. It is equally possible that a sound leadership style could be inappropriate. What excellent teachers really do is adjust their style to the students they are teaching.

man in black shirt and gray denim pants sitting on gray padded bench

Routine Activities and Rational Choice in the Classroom

Students and delinquents have many things in common. One thing they have in common is making poor decisions. This post will examine some theories of how youth and delinquents make choices. In particular, we will look at two theories found in the field of criminology and apply them to the classroom these theories are

  • Routine activities
  • Rational choice

Routine Activities

A theory on explaining poor decision-making is explained from the routine activities perspective. This theory states that it is normal behavior that contrivutes to criminal behavior for delinquents and perhaps bad behavior in the classroom.

According to this theory, several criteria help to predict a youth’s actions and they are.

  • The quality of the target- An easier target is more inviting than a difficult one
  • Level of motivation-If a youth is looking for trouble they can generally find it
  • Lack of supervision-If there are no authority figures nearby making a poor choice is easier.

In the classroom, these dynamics interact frequently. Disruptive students will look for other students who are easy to sway to join them and or are easy to pick on which is an example of quality. In terms of motivation, most teachers would agree a child can find a way to get into trouble if this is what they desire. Lastly, supervision is one of the main components of difficult behavior in the classroom. Some kids are impulsive and the level of supervision makes no difference. However, many kids will wait for when they believe they can get away with what they want to do.


The natural extension of routine activities perspective in terms of preventing poor behavior is to neutralize the three criteria listed above. For example, if a disruptive student cannot find quality targets it may help to eliminate poor behavior. One way teachers do this is by moving a difficult student to another part of the classroom or outside the class. When targets are gone behavior should hopefully be appropriate.

Motivation is the second criterion and this can be neutralized through appropriate disci[pline. For example, a behavioral approach would provide the appropriate reinforcement and punishment that will modify the behavior and or the motivation. When there is no longer a desire to act inappropriately because the stimulus is negative the poor actions of the youth may cease.

The last criterion was supervision. It is difficult to always have eyes on students. However, it is often more beneficial for students to think that the teacher is watching them at all times. The technical term for this is withitness which is an awareness of what is happening in the classroom at all times. Developing this ability takes experience but a teacher can never get into the “zone” when teaching because the students will notice the absentmindedness and move to make poor choices.

Rational Choice Theory

Rational choice theory is another view on decision-making. In this theory, delinquents decide to commit crimes based on opportunity and reward vs cost. These two criteria sound similar to the routine activities approach. However, rational choice theory takes into account that delinquents do not always plan their behavior carefully and that sometimes they are spontaneous in what they do. In other words, to assume completely random behavior and totally well-thought-out behavior from youth is unreasonable. Rather youths actions are somewhere between the two extremes of impulsiveness and calculation

In the classroom, this has played out before. Disruptive students look for opportunities and may consider the risk-reward factor. However, just as rational choice states students will not consider all the consequences of their actions.


What these two theories have in common is opportunity. Movement is one way opportunity arises. For example, if the teacher moves to the other side of the room it will provide an opportunity for a student to cause problems. The same if a victim walks into the wrong part of town. As people move around it provides and removes opportunities for criminal behavior or poor behavior in the classroom.

Off course, no single theory or several theories can explain everything about a phenomenon. The same idea applies in this context of trying to understand why youth and delinquents make poor choices.

people walking on alley surrounded by high rise buildings

Subculture Theories and Delinquency

Sometimes, a teacher is confused by a student’s behavior. There does not seem to be any explanation for the student’s behavior. In such situations, it may be beneficial to determine the student’s cultural values. Suppose the student’s values conflict with the school’s and society’s values. In that case, this could be a source of some of the deviant behavior. This post will look at subcultures and their role in delinquency.


Subcultures are cultures that are a part of a larger culture. This is not the best definition and serves as an example of the difficulty of defining the term subculture. The main point is that a subculture has a set of values and beliefs slightly different from the majority culture.

For our focus on delinquency, young people may break the rules and or laws in an attempt to act in accordance with subculture norms over the mainstream cultural norms. However, deviance can also happen if members of a subculture struggle to assimilate into the mainstream culture or may even be rejected by the majority culture.


Cohen (1955) found that youths from subcultures may experience cultural conflict. Culture conflict involves dealing with a situation in which one set of cultural values may conflict with another. For example, a child from a home that emphasizes athletics may struggle with expectations of academic excellence. Yet, Cohen’s work examining lower-class gang delinquency found that the subculture was malicious, negative, and not useful. In other words, the subculture of gangs had evil intentions that lacked benefit even for the gang members at times. oF course, this is from the perspective of an academic.

Miller (1958) found several cultural values of lower-class juveniles in his own work as follows:

  • Trouble-Delinquent youth are often focused on getting out of trouble or getting into trouble
  • Toughness- Concerned with being macho and masculine
  • Smartness-Street smarts, the ability to manipulate the environment without facing consequences
  • Excitement-Focus on short-term fun rather than long-term consequences
  • Fate-Almost karmic view of life. Whatever happens, it was meant to be.
  • Autonomy-Resistant to being controlled by others

These values are examples of problems kids today struggle with in school. It is common for many children to struggle with trouble, for males to focus on toughness, etc. These values are often values that are not stressed in other cultures.

Excusing Deviant Behavior

Despite the desire to be a part of the subculture, youths in this situation also often want to be accepted by the mainstream culture. Their inability to do this leads to several common excuses that Sykes and Matza (1957) observe. Denial is a common excuse youth make and involves denying responsibility, injury, and the person they may have been victimized.

Denial of responsibility involves the youth stating that whatever happened was an accident or something forced them to do it. For example, students in the class will blame someone else for their inability to stop talking. Denial of injury is a youth’s attempt to deemphasize the harm they did to another person by excusing it as a joke or prank. Denying the victim involves justifying actions based on the idea that what happened was self-defense or retaliation. For example, two kids are fighting, and one is seriously injured.

There are two additional ways that youth try to excuse their inability to fit into the mainstream culture. Young people may attempt to condemn those who condemn them. This is commonly seen in calling the mainstream culture oppressors or racist or some other term to try and demonstrate that the members of the mainstream culture are no better than those of the subculture.

The final justification for deviant behavior is an appeal to higher loyalties. A youth may stick to the views of the subculture and blame these higher values on deviant behavior. Some common terms associated with this are “remember where you came from” and “keep it real.” These ideas can sometimes pressure an individual to act in a way that is deviant to maintain loyalty to the subculture.


There are always reasons for unacceptable behavior. One of the reasons can be a cultural differences. Students will sometimes face a conflict between maintaining the values of their subgroup or the larger values of the school and society. In such situations, the teacher must understand this internal conflict to develop ways to help the student.

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HR and Schools

Human resource management has become highly important not just in business but also in the world of education. Schools now have to hire, support, and sometimes fire personnel. With these various outcomes, it is the role of the HR person to maneuver through these situations.

Who is Responsible for HR

In the school setting, the role of HR can vary substantially. In a small school, the principal may be primarily in charge of the various processes associated with HR. In larger schools, this role may shift to an assistant principal or someone else on campus. Some school districts control this process and may send a new teacher to the district office for processing. The point is that there is no single standard way for a school to handle the aspects of HR.


Even though every school and district can handle this process differently, several things are generally considered HR responsibilities, including the following.

  • Compliance
  • Employee hiring and training
  • Performance management
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Professional development


In the US, there are a lot of laws relating to employer-employee relations that have to be adhered to, and this falls on the HR manager to do. These laws include discrimination, fair labor, medical leave, labor relations, and more. For example, teachers are entitled to maternity leave when they have children. The HR manager needs to ensure the teacher(s) can take this leave; otherwise, the school could be sued in court.

These various laws are laws the HR manager needs to be aware of. As already mentioned ignoring these laws could have severe legal ramifications for an educational institution.


HR plays a critical role in the selection of potential teachers. Often, HR is the one who receives resumes and forwards qualified candidates to the administration and other leadership members. HR is also often responsible for scheduling interviews, participating in interviews, and oftener feedback on potential candidates. It is also often HR’s job to congratulate those who have been offered employment and contact those who were not selected.

During this process, HR also ensures all laws are adhered to regarding such topics as discrimination, affirmative action policies, and negotiating compensation for potential candidates. For teachers, it is also important to check if they have the appropriate state credentials and to develop a plan for acquiring them if a selected person does not have them.

Once an employee is tired, it is also the HR manager’s job to onboard the new teacher. This can involve showing the new employee around, introducing them to their new, and explaining policies and expectations. There is also the task of completing a lot of paperwork involving benefits, salary, and acknowledging an understanding of critical policies.

Performance Management

Performance management is another critical task of HR. In this regard, it is common for HR to work with the administration to ensure that teachers’ performance is evaluated. Usually, this is done once a year, but it can be more frequent if a teacher is struggling at their job or if the teacher has less experience.

In this task, the HR manager often serves the role of secretary. They remind administrators of these tasks and maintain a record of the evaluation for legal reasons. However, this may not be the case in every instance that one sees in the field.

If performance is not acceptable, that is where things can be tricky. HR must ensure all laws and policies are followed when dealing with an underperforming teacher. Again, they serve as a guide to the administration, who often do the heavy lifting of removing teachers if needed.


Compensation and benefits are often not as negotiable for teaching and even some administrative positions. Things improve a great deal in terms of negotiating at higher levels such as principal and especially at the superintendent and beyond. For rank and file teachers, there often is much to fight for in terms of salary.

Some schools have performance-based pay. The HR manager must explain these policies to new hires in such situations. Unlike other fields, people often do not become teachers for the salary, so compensation is not often a major topic.

Professional Development

A major component of teaching is professional development. This can involve taking college courses and or in-house training. Often it is required by law for teachers to have additional training throughout their careers. Therefore, professional development is a major part of the HR process.

The HR manager or the local needs to ensure that all teachers earn additional education as part of the employment. HR may also assist in setting up training opportunities for teachers. As such, this is a major part of the HR professional job at the school level.


HR has become a critical part of most educational institutions. Whether it’s laws, hiring, training, or managing teachers, HR is often a part of this process.

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Interpersonal Maturity Levels and Delinquency

This post will look at a theory on development that is not often covered in teacher preparation courses. The theory we will look at is called Interpersonal Maturity levels and was developed in 1957 by Sullivan, Grant, and Grant in 1957. This continuum of maturity was developed primarily to explain delinquency. We will look at this theory within the context of delinquency and extend its use to the classroom.

Defining Interpersonal MAturity LEvels

  1. Level 1-A persons can discriminate between themselves and someone else
  2. Level 2-A person separates between persons and objects
  3. Level 3-Begin to learn rules and move within an environment
  4. Level 4-Begin to see things from another person’s perspective
  5. Level 5-Begins to notice patterns in behavior and roles in a society
  6. Level 6-Learn the difference between who they are and the function(s) they play
  7. Level 7-Learns and implements various methods for dealing with the world

Levels 1-3 are often related to babies and small children and don’t apply to delinquents. Delinquents are often found to be somewhere between levels 2 through 4. Level 4 is especially telling because it indicates a lack of empathy for others. Another important point is that youths who commit crimes are unsurprisingly not fully developed regarding their understanding of interpersonal relationships. They do not see how their actions are detrimental to other people.

The Classroom

Teachers may encounter these various levels of interpersonal maturity as well. Students who only care about themselves and their own pleasure are probably at lower levels of interpersonal maturity. Students struggling with their various societal roles and overcoming these challenges are probably at a higher level. Teachers need to be able to support students at different levels of interpersonal maturity to the benefit of the student and other students in the classroom.


Lower-level students will need to develop an awareness of the perspective of others. This could be achieved by asking them questions about how others perceive their actions. In addition, asking them reflective questions about their impulsive actions could help them become more mindful of the people around them.

Students who are more mature in terms of interpersonal relations need more help finding practical answer’s to life’s problems. Perhaps for them, modeling could be a good tool. Given that teachers are usually older and have more experience than their students, the teacher can offer life advice and share with the students how they faced similar life challenges at their age.


No theory explains everything about a phenomenon. INterpersonal maturity plays a role in delinquent behavior. The ideas presented here help people to understand why young people choose to disobey. Since teachers deal with delinquent young people, it is possible that this theory’s ideas can help them understand we kids disobey in the classroom.

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Early Developments in Juvenile Justice

A history of the development of various juvenile justice facilities will be conducted in this post. Understanding the development of how leaders have addressed crime by young people will help current practitioners and educators to learn the lessons of the past.

Brief History

For most of human history, children were held to the same standard of behavior as adults. This was especially true if a child survived infancy and reached age 5 or 6. The reasons are severalfold. For example, there was a great deal of infanticide in some cultures in the past because of the burden of child-rearing. Abandonment was another strategy parents used to get rid of children. Parents would leave their baby at a hospital or church. At this time, killing a baby was acceptable.


Once a child reached the age of 5 or 6 and began to lose their baby teeth, they would be viewed as little adults. Children from lower-class families would enter trades as apprentices. As they grew, sometimes children made mistakes with the law. If this happened, children had no special consideration and were held to the same laws and punishments as adults. The idea of childhood emerged in the 16th or 17th century.

Institutions for Juveniles

With the rise in the view that adults and children are different came the idea that youths need to be dealt with separately from the adult population of criminals. For example, London developed the Bridewell Institution in 1555 to address children beggers. At this institution, students were trained in developing skills they could use once released. The motivation was that youths needed a change in their environment to change their behavior.

The next major step in developing institutions for juveniles was houses of refuge. These were established in the United States in the 1820s. The goal was to pull kids out of a negative crime environment into a positive environment for them. Kids were given apprenticeships as a way to develop job skills.

Despite the attempts of the houses, there were problems. Kids were abused in their apprenticeships. There was constant overcrowding. Lastly, these institutions developed spaces to keep adult and juvenile offenders. Mixing populations is generally frowned upon.

In response to the problems at Bridewell, Massachusetts opened the Lyman School for Boys around 1848. The main innovation of this group was the abolishment of mixing adults and children in the same population. The motivation behind this was again to avoid mixing the populations.

By the mid-1800s, new ideas began to emerge. One example is the cottage. The idea was to place juveniles with surrogate parents in the countryside. This experience was meant to copy the traditional family life with the same ideas of love ad discipline. With time these cottages became overcrowded as the delinquent population grew.

Around the same time (1840’s), probation developed. Probation served as a way to collect information on youth and to provide alternative ways to help youths. Originally, probation was developed for adults but was adopted by juvenile justice to help young people.


One lesson that can be gleaned from this article is that the problems continue to be the same. Crime, overcrowding, and supporting youths are all problems one finds today. Therefore, looking at the past will often reveal today’s problems.

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Types & Dimensions of Change within Institutions

Change can be beneficial or difficult for an educational institution. This post will look at the types of changes and the various dimensions of change.

Types of Change

There are three common types of change in an institution, and these are structural, technological, and cultural change. Structural change involves revamping the relationship within the organization. This can involve changes to the concentration of power, revising responsibilities, and or enhancing effectiveness. An example would be a larger department divided into two smaller ones.

Technological change is the implementation of new technology within an organization. An example would be schools shifting to online learning because of social distancing requirements. Such a change was incredibly demanding given the short notice of the switch.


Lastly, cultural change involves adjusting the norms and thought patterns of the organization. Changing how people think and do things within an organization is exceedingly difficult. An example of cultural change could be placing emphasis on providing students with feedback if this is something that was neglected in the past. Such a change forces teachers to rethink how they provide academic support to students.

Of course, these changes discussed above can happen alone or in combination with the other types. For example, the shift to online learning was a technological and cultural shift for teachers and even a structural change for many institutions. As such, none of these changes have to happen in a vacuum.

Dimensions of Change

Dimensions of change help us to determine how strong the change will be. The dimensions of change are scope, level, and intentionality. Scope of change is a way to measure the disruption of the change. Change can be incremental, which involves small adjustments such as promoting an individual. Change can be transformational, which entails major disruption of the organization, such as creating a new department. Lastly, change can be strategic, which aligns an organization with its philosophy.

The level of change is a measure of who is involved with the change. Change can take place at the individual, group, or organization level. Individual change is focused on one person, such as a teacher or student. Group change is focused on helping people to work together better and can be done through socialization and other team-building activities. Organizational change affects everybody and can contribute to changes at the group and individual levels.

Intentionality of change indicates the level of planning involved in change. Change can be either planned or unplanned. Planned change was developed with foresight with the goal of implementation. Unplanned change means that nobody saw it coming or that it was extemporaneous.


Change is a complicated concept that can come into an organization in many ways. Even though it is hard to clearly explain all the dynamics of change, it is clear that change is the only constant that all institutions face.

AdaBoost Classification with Python VIDEO

AdaBoost classification is a type of ensemble learning. What this means is that the algorithm makes multiple models that work together to make predictions. Such techniques are powerful in improving the strength of models. The video below explains how to use this algorithm within Python.

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Organizational Concepts and Schools

This post will look at an educational institution’s organizational makeup and important ideas to consider when developing an organization or addressing the need to make changes.

Terms in Organizations

The organizational structure of a school is its approach to connecting ideas and people to complete tasks within the organization. The design of the organization involves the actual setup of the structure. For example, most schools have a principal at the head, vice principals, department heads, and teachers. For the sake of communication and discipline, this is a common structure that is employed.

However, the example above is an example of the formal organizational structure of an institution. With formal organization, everything is laid out in terms of relationships within a professional. Another form of organizational structure is the informal organization, which is the interpersonal relationships within an organization. For example, the principal might be close to the English department because he was an English teacher before going into administration, and one of his former students works in this department. The principal’s relationship is stronger in English than in other departments.


Organizational change involves the constant flux within an organization’s structure. People come and go, new roles are created, old roles are removed, etc. Occasionally institutions have to experience organizational development, which involves change management.

Traits to Consider

Educational institutions are often bureaucratic by nature. Despite this, several questions need to be addressed.

Degree of SPecialization

The degree of specialization is the level of expertise a person must demonstrate. For example, high schools generally of single-subject experts, whereas this is not always the case with elementary teachers who teach multiple subjects. Therefore, high schools emphasize specialization more than some elementary schools do.

Command and Control

Command and control refers to how teachers report to each other and the principal. It also involves how people work together to accomplish a task. For example, teachers often do not have to report to each other but do have to explain their actions to administrators and concerned parents.

Span of COntrol 

Span of control has to do with the breadth of responsibility a person has. Generally, as you go up a hierarchy, the span of control broadens. For example, teachers are responsible for their classroom, while principals are responsible for the entire school.


Centralization is an indication of who has decision-making within an institution. Highly centralized schools mean that a handful of people make all decisions, while a decentralized school is one in which decision-making power is spread among more people. This is one trait in which schools take a wide variety of positions. Many schools can be centralized, but some schools do not share this value.


Formalization is the level of strictness to the structure and responsibilities within institutions. The military is a highly rigid system that is heavily formalized. Schools tend to be much less formal as teachers often wear various hats at any moment. In addition, there are not many layers of hierarchy at the local school level, which helps to further encourage an informal preference.


There is no single structure that is best and works for all organizations. The point here is to make one aware of the ideas behind organizations to make changes to an organization or to develop a new one.


Juvenile Justice System for Teachers

The juvenile justice system has its origins dating back to the early 20th century in the US. There are several differences between how states deal with juveniles who commit crimes and adults who commit crimes. We will explore some of the reasons for these differences below and look at the major structures of the juvenile justice system. There are times in which teachers may have to deal with students who have had experiences with law enforcement. Therefore, educators need to be familiar.

Brain Development

A major difference between adults and juveniles is brain development. The mind of a teenager is still under construction, and this process may last into their late twenties. With the lack of reasoning skills and experience combined with a fully functional body, young people can sometimes make poor choices.

A major concern of law enforcement agencies focusing on youth is that young people do not get stuck in the system. For this reason, extra is taken to ensure a poor decision at 15 does not become a curse for the offender’s life.


One advantage to the lack of being fully developed mentally for youth offenders is that it is still easier to turn their lives around. A hardened criminal in his 30s is likelier to stay that way than a 15-year-old kid who did something stupid on a dare. Given their youth, it is easier to guide them in the right direction if proper intervention is taken.

Therefore, a young person’s lack of experience and maturity can be a blessing and a curse. In terms of pros, if a juvenile makes a mistake, it is easier to get their life back on track. However, in terms of cons, the lack of experience means they may not think things through before making a poor life-altering choice.

The System

If a child is accused of a crime, they must be provided with the following information

  • The charges against them
  • Fifth amendment rights
  • Right to a lawyer (for free if necessary)
  • Right to confront witnesses

All of the above are similar to the rights of adults. In addition, juveniles cannot be tried twice for the same crime.

The language used in the juvenile system is slightly different from the adult system. Below are some examples.

  • The word “guilty” or “convicted” is not used; instead, the word “responsible” is
  • There are no “indictments”; rather, the word “petition” is used
  • Juveniles do not plead guilty or not guilty instead, they admit or deny the petition
  • The phrase “found guilty” is not used; instead, the phrase “petition found true” is
  • There are no “trials”; instead, they are called “adjudication.”
  • Juveniles are not “sentenced”; instead, there is a “disposition.”

These terms are used to reduce the risk of the youth being labeled as a criminal. For teachers, these terms are somewhat confusing but it is important to understand them in order to communicate with law enforcement agents.

When a youth is arrested, they are taken to a detention center (jail) for youth offenders. It varies from state to state, but generally, there must be a hearing to determine if the youth needs to stay in the detention center or can go home within 48 hours of their arrival. During this time, the youth will have various forms completed and work with an intake officer who can make recommendations to the judge about what to do with the child. Often, suppose the offense is not serious, and the child is not a repeat offender. In that case, they will be released to their parents until the prosecutor decides whether to file a petition.

If the offense was small, a petition is never filed, which is an example of an informal way of handling the situation. The intake officer or a counselor will deal with the infraction through other means such as community service. Another option is a diversion program. Diversion programs are services offered to the child in place of going to a youth facility (juvenile prison). The goal is always to keep kids out of the system as much as possible. In all of these examples, the youth must admit the wrong they committed to avoid a formal petition.

If a petition is filed formally, the process is similar to an adult trial. If the youth is found responsible, there must be a disposition to determine the punishment. The youth could be placed in the youth facility, moved to foster care, or face various forms of psychological testing to determine what mental health interventions are needed. Lastly, probation is also offered in which a juvenile is supervised by a probation officer for a set period of time. If the juvenile breaks any probation expectations, they could face a warrant for their arrest.

If the offense a child commits is serious enough, they can be tried as an adult. Examples include murder, rape, kidnapping, and other serious offenses. Often multiple crimes are committed at once, pushing the offense into adult court. For example, a male commits kidnapping and rape against the same person. Generally, the minimum age for trying someone as an adult is 14.


When young people make mistakes, teachers need to be able to support them by making adjustments to the academic expectations when possible. Students on probation or facing a judge have much larger problems than they are facing in comparison to learning algebra or writing an essay. In addition, the teachers may need to work with the probation officers to provide evidence the youth is meeting the judge’s expectations.

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Goals Development for Administrators

A prior post began a discussion about strategic management for administrators. There are about six steps in this process, which are shared below.

  • Vision and mission
  • Strategic analysis
  • Goal development
  • Strategy development
  • Implementation strategies
  • Evaluation

The first two bullets were addressed previously. Now we will continue the discussion focusing on goal development.

Goals Development and Strategic Levels

Strategic goals are broad goals that involve the big-picture of the goals of the institution. Generally, these goals are performance-oriented. For example, a school may set a goal to boost academic performance among its students.

There are also different levels at which objectives can be set. This will vary from place to place, but an institution can have levels at the following as an example

  • Student-level
  • Class-level
  • Department-level
  • Grade-level
  • School-level
  • District-level
  • City-level
  • County-level
  • State-level
  • National-level

We will not go over all of these for the sack of time. A teacher may set goals for individual students, particularly those struggling. These can be behavioral, academic, or some other focus the teacher is working on with the student. For example, a teacher may set a goal with a student that the student will improve their math performance. This is vague enough to be a goal but also gives the student some to work on.


The idea above applies to all the other levels. The main difference is that the number of stakeholders increases, which necessitates that the goals become broader in nature as they try to encompass more people. In addition, different people are involved in setting goals at different levels. For example, teachers will probably set goals at the student, class, department, and grade level. Administrators will begin to set goals at the school level to the district level, and politicians and government bureaucrats will set goals at the city level and beyond.

One method for developing goals is the SMART framework. The SMART framework is an acronym that means

  • Specific-Goals should be understandable.
  • Measurable-There should be a way to tell if you are achieving them.
  • Achievable-It should be possible within the context to accomplish a goal.
  • Relevant-The goal should be relevant to the mission of the institution and, or to the level of strategy the goal is under
  • Time-Bound-There should be a limit on the time it takes to achieve a goal.

Whether or not a goal meets the criteria above is subjective, but an example of a smart goal is below.

The school will raise academic performance in reading comprehension on average by one grade level at the end of two years.

The goal above is specific, as you can tell what needs to be done. It is measurable because the metric is the average reading comprehension score. The score is achievable as students have plenty of time to improve. It is relevant to the mission of most schools, and the objective is time-bound as it states that this will take two years to complete.


Planning and strategy development is difficult to do. There are many moving parts, and it is hard to determine what needs to be achieved. However, a basic process can be adopted to guide the development of goals and for planning that can hopefully make this easier.

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Alternative Views on Criminology

Some views on dealing with crime are sometimes considered fringe by people. Two examples of this are left realism and peacemaking theory. In this post, we will take a look at each of these approaches to criminology.

Left Realists

Left realists disagree with how people who are more conservative than them on crime issues address and handle crime. Specific examples of what left realists disagree with are longer prison sentences for offenders and reducing social programs. In addition, left realists also disagree with people on the same side of the political spectrum in terms of seeing the problems in a Marxist’s critical criminology worldview.


Left realists agree that criminals should be held accountable for their actions. However, it is also important to recognize the oppression of society as found in the current government structure and economic forces. Furthermore, legal realists are concerned for the poor because they often live in high-crime neighborhoods and are thus more commonly found victims.

Left realists are pragmatists who do not see law enforcement as oppressors but still want to adhere to some of the ideas of social justice. For example, a left realist would encourage civilian oversight of the police. This includes the community in the workings of law enforcement without removing the presence of law enforcement in the community.

Peacemaking Theory

Peacemaking theory is based on the ideas of love and compassion as found in many different religions such as Christianity and Buddhism. Proponents of this theory believe that love and forgiveness are tools for overcoming crime in society.

For example, to lock someone behind bars for committing a crime, the system makes the same mistake as the prisoner. Instead of justice, society should try connecting with communities and working towards restoration. Violence causes violence is a core tenet of peacemaking theory.

Defining the police is an idea that is based on peacemaking theory. The idea is that since the police practice violence, it is actually causing violence. Therefore, if the police are defunded or eliminated, it will lead to a decline in criminal behavior, and everyone will be safe. That is also why such ideas as having unarmed community peace officers was encouraged as a form of reform because officers with guns cannot commit the same level of violent acts as armed officers.

One of the most common criticisms of peacemaking theory is that it is idealistic and naive. Generally, it takes a two-way relationship to encourage love. The problem is that criminals are often not loving and compassionate. The evidence for this is due to how they rob, steal, and kill their fellow man. Police officers seem to show much more compassion and love when they defend the powerless against criminal behavior.

Non-violent behavior is an excellent strategy in non-violent situations. However, suppose a criminal is a threat to society. In that case, the threat should more than likely be neutralized, if necessary, by violent means to show compassion and care to the innocent people who may suffer from the criminal’s behavior.


The ideas found here may be considered unusual, but this does not imply that they cannot be useful. What determines what is appropriate is the context and situation a person faces. There are times when compassion may reach a criminal, and there are also times when force is most appropriate. The real goal is to have options in the table so the system can choose what is best for that particular situation. No single-size approach or theory will work in every single situation because people are different.

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Critical Criminology

Critical criminology, is an umbrella term for theories related to crime that challenge traditional power structures. Without making sweeping generalizations, whenever the word critical is involved in discussing belief systems it normally implies a examining and attempt to breakdown societal structures.

Critical criminonolgy, as with almost all critical studies, is rooted in the writings of Karl Marx. Marx challenged that the working class should over through the owners of production. This idea of challenging the system has been expanded in many different directions such as Queer studies (challenging power structures concerning sexuality), critical race studies (challenging power structures concerning race), critical pedagogy (challenging to power structures within education), fat studies (challenging power structures concerning obesity), to even radical femnism (challenging power structures in relation to the role of women in society). What all these different critical studies have in common is that the haves use their power to control society around

Labeling Theory

Critical criminonlgy focuses on the power structure between the haves and haves not in relation to the justice system. For example, labeling theory suggest that people in power decide what is considered acceptable behavior in order to control others. An example that took place before labeling theory was developed but provides a strong illustration is prohibition. With one stroke of the pen, the government was able to suddenly make millions of criminals overnight. Bootleggers were deemed troubemakers and some faced consequences if caught.

When people are labeled criminals it can make them a criminal in a form of self-fulfiling prophecy. ONce labeled, a person may begin to commit more crimes because of there label and thus are rejecting the society that has labeled them a criminal. This is one reason why at the juvenile level the terms used for dealing with young people are different in the legal and there is often an effort to seal recorded so that the youth does not pick up a label that could be detrimental to their adult life

As fascinating as labeling theory is it is not without its critics. Critical theories in general have a cosnipritoral air to them. In other words, almost anybody who is a part of the system in a successful manner is looking to hold down and destroy minorities. THis is an oversimplification at the least. In all societies you will find people in privilege position who help and also harm minorities. IN addition, many of the laws on the books are laws that society agrees with such as laws against murder, rape, robbery, etc. Although a disproportionate group of people are arrested for these crimes it does not suggest that these laws were developed to arrest one race or class of people.

Critical Feminist THeory

Critical eminest theory holds the view that men oppress women and that men abuse their power to hold women down. From a crime perspective, women are frequently the victims of crime at the hands of men because of patriarchal norms in society. ONce women have equal access to jobs and education there will be a decline in violent crimes against women.

Some proponents of critical feminst theory also claim that the patriarchal system has held women back from committing crimes. The claim is that because women were trapped in the home with family they lacked the opportunity to comitt crime. In addition, men and women are socialized differently as children. Men are trained to be aggressive and domineering while women are often taught to be submissive. THis in part according to critical feminest are some fo the reasons why men commit why more crimes than women.

Whether this is reasonable or not there is evidence that as society achieves the equality that critical feminst desire there has been a corresponding rise in the crime rate of women. It is difficult to say if this is something that should be celebrated.


Critical studies is looking to explain the oppression found in sooeity through examining the difference in power that is found between group. In general, oppression is primarily caused by differences in power. Despite the fact that there has always been found differences in power in most societies throughout human history critical studies holds fast to this idea as the main cause of suffering in the world today. Within critical criminology the focus is placed upon the difference in power in relation to law and justice.

Critical criminology is an umbrella term for theories related to crime that challenge traditional power structures. Without making sweeping generalizations, whenever the word critical is involved in discussing belief systems, it normally implies an examination and attempts to break down societal structures.

Critical criminology, as with almost all critical studies, is rooted in the writings of Karl Marx. Marx challenged that the working class should overthrow the owners of production. This idea of challenging the system has been expanded in many different directions, such as Queer studies (challenging power structures concerning sexuality), critical race studies (challenging power structures concerning race), critical pedagogy (challenging power structures within education), fat studies (challenging power structures concerning obesity), to even radical feminism (challenging power structures concerning the role of women in society). All these different critical studies have in common that the haves use their power to control society.

Labeling Theory

Critical criminology focuses on the power structure between the haves and haves, not concerning the justice system. For example, labeling theory suggests that people in power decide what is considered acceptable behavior to control others. An example that took place before labeling theory was developed but provided a strong illustration is prohibition. With one stroke of the pen, the government suddenly made millions of criminals overnight. Bootleggers were deemed troublemakers, and some faced the consequences if caught.


When people are labeled criminals, it can make them a criminal in the form of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once labeled, a person may begin to commit more crimes because of their label and thus are rejecting the society that has labeled them a criminal. This is one reason why at the juvenile level, the terms used for dealing with young people are different from the legal, and there is often an effort to seal recorded so that the youth does not pick up a label that could be detrimental to their adult life.

As fascinating as labeling theory is, it is not without its critics. Critical theories, in general, have a conspiratorial air to them. In other words, almost anybody who successfully participates in the system is looking to hold down and destroy minorities. This is an oversimplification, at the least. In all societies, you will find people in privileged positions who help and also harm minorities. In addition, many of the laws on the books are ones that society agrees with, such as laws against murder, rape, robbery, etc. Although a disproportionate group of people is arrested for these crimes, it does not suggest that these laws were developed to arrest one race or class of people.

Critical Feminist THeory

Critical feminist theory holds the view that men oppress women and that men abuse their power to hold women down. From a crime perspective, women are frequently the victims of crime at the hands of men because of patriarchal norms in society. Once women have equal access to jobs and education, there will be a decline in violent crimes against women.

Some proponents of critical feminist theory also claim that the patriarchal system has held women back from committing crimes. The claim is that because women were trapped in the home with family, they lacked the opportunity to commit crime. In addition, men and women are socialized differently as children. Men are trained to be aggressive and domineering, while women are often taught to be submissive. This, in part, according to critical feminists, are some of the reasons why men commit why more crimes than women.

Whether this is reasonable or not, there is evidence that as society achieves the equality that critical feminists desire, there has been a corresponding rise in the crime rate of women. It is difficult to say if this is something that should be celebrated.


Critical studies look to explain the oppression found in society by examining the difference in power between groups. In general, oppression is primarily caused by differences in power. Even though there have always been differences in power in most societies throughout human history, critical studies hold fast to this idea as the main cause of suffering in the world today. Within critical criminology, the focus is placed on the difference in power concerning law and justice.

woman sitting on chair

Social Theories and Criminal Behavior

This post will look at various social theories that try to explain criminal behavior. In addition, when possible, we will tie these theories to the classroom context.

Differential Association Theory

Differential association theory states that children learn their values from close family and friends. Of course, this can be good or bad. If the family are law-abiding, productive members of society, the child may absorb these traits. However, if the child comes from a home of drugs and violence, they may absorb these norms of disruption.


Whether the behaviors the child absorbs are positive or negative, the child will make excuses or justifications for their adopted behaviors. For example, a drug-dealing child may justify their behavior because they are trying to make a little money, and it is not a big deal if people do drugs a little here and there. The straight-A student will justify their behavior by stating they have a chance at going to a good college and finding a good-paying job. IN other words, rationalization can be used to justify positive and negative behaviors.

Neutralization Theory

Developed in the 1950s, neutralization theory states that criminals go back and forth between criminal behavior and obeying the law. For example, a drug dealer may legally choose to buy food from the grocery store. IN other words, even though this person has no respect for law and order, he may choose to buy groceries legally. It may appear contradictory that a criminal would buy groceries legally when they are a drug dealer, but the catch is that neutralization theory states that crooks mistakenly believe they are normal members of society.

The neutralizing of this theory happens when the perpetrators of crime deny their criminal behavior in one of five ways.

  • Denies responsibility
  • Denies harm
  • Denies the Victim
  • condemns people of power
  • Appeals to a higher authority

Many of the bullets above are self-explanatory. Denying responsibility is claiming that whatever happened was an accident. For example, someone steals some money and says it wasn’t their fault. Denying harm is excusing criminal behavior because of a false perception it doesn’t hurt. For example, saying stealing a little bit is okay if it’s not too much. Denying the victim is rationalizing that the victim deserved what happened to them.

Condemning people of power is seeing all people of authority as corrupt. This neutralization technique has been popular in the media and protesting as of late to justify destructive behavior and emotional outbursts. Lastly, appealing to a higher authority is the claim that a person makes that they committed a crime for some greater good. For example, a man is stealing money from a company to help his family.

These are all excuses that students generally make when they break the rules and or classroom policies. They will deny responsibility, deny harm, deny the victim, attack the teacher, and blame friends.

Containment Theory

Containment theory states that external and internal pressures can lead a person towards crime or breaking the rules and containments that pressure an individual to not go in that direction. External pressures can include such things as friends and media, which have a negative influence on the individual. Internal pressures are often personality traits that are considered negative such as a lack of self-esteem.

Containments restrain negative behaviors and can be external or internal. External containment is essentially the opposite of external pressures and can include good friends, strong family, and positive media choices. Internal containments are also personality traits and can include strong self-esteem rather than weak.

Again the ideas of containment theory seem to mirror what happens in the classroom. Children with many negative external pressures and few containments will generally cause more disruption. Naturally, it is not this simple in the real world, but this theory provides a platform for trying to explain poor behavior.

Social Bond Theory

Social bonds are relationships that restrain someone from criminal behavior. This theory is similar to the containment theory, but nevertheless, it has four components

  • Attachment
  • Commitment
  • Involvement
  • Belief

People attached to a family, friends, and or institution, such as the church, have positive roles in their life that make it harder to commit crimes. Commitment is how invested a person is in society. People with something to lose will generally be less likely to commit crimes. For example, people who have good jobs and families will often commit fewer crimes than single unemployed ma. The difference is not just financial but the fact that the person with a good job has more to lose from criminal behavior.

Involvement is time spent in community development. Community involvement develops relationships, and these social relationships restrain criminal behavior. Lastly, beliefs are associated with attitude. Each of these components aligns well with students and their tendency to break the rules in the classroom.


Why people break laws and or rules will never be fully explained. People will always find ways to do what they want. The ideas presented here are just another way to explain unacceptable behavior. For the teacher, these theories can provide insights into students’ motivations for obeying the rules.

person using a laptop


The PESTEL model is an alternative risk assessment approach to the more famous SWOT analysis. IN this post, we will look at the application of the ideas of this model within the context of a school. PESTEL is an acronym that stands for

  • Political factors
  • Economic factors
  • Sociocultural factors
  • Technological factors
  • Environmental factors
  • Legal factors

Political Factors

Political factors can include local laws and ordinances that may impact an institution’s ability to function. Examples can include labor laws for faculty and staff, privacy laws, laws regarding children such as the number of days of study per year, etc. All of these legal concepts fall within the purview of political factors.


If a school is overseas, this can become more complicated. Now the school; has to deal with immigration laws and visas. The school must also address Language and customers as well as addressing the hiring and even the firing of local faculty and staff.

Economic Factors

Economic factors are related naturally to money. Schools, particularly private and tertiary schools, are affected heavily by the economy. Tuition-driven schools can be destroyed by an economic downturn. Government schools are often immune to this to a certain degree because of government support, but no institutions survive an economic downturn unscathed.

Other problems can include obtaining loans and buying things on credit for private institutions. Interest rates may change, and cash may not be available. Private schools may not receive an influx of cash except when tuition is paid several times yearly. This necessitates borrowing money in the short term to cover expenses until tuition for the next semester comes.

Sociocultural Factors

Sociocultural factors relate to awareness of local demographics and culture. How a school addresses upper-class kids will be different from how they help immigrant kids who do not speak English. In addition, like everything else, demographics and values change over time. If schools are not keeping track of this, the community around them will change while the school is holding on to ideas that worked in the past but are no longer appropriate now.

Schools usually keep track of local cultural needs as meeting needs is a main philosophical component of education today. However, it is still important to be aware of this aspect of an analysis.

Technological Factors

Technology changes at a speed that cannot be appreciated or understood. Everybody struggles with the latest improvements in technology. However, the challenges of technology are not only the speed. Sometimes the availability of technology can be a problem as well.

For example, there is an idea called the digital divide. The digital divide is the separation in terms of technology between various countries. Within education, what can be done can be limited in part by access to education.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors relate to such things as weather, energy, etc. Schools that provide transportation have to take into account the price of this. In addition, dormitory schools have to look at the cost of energy and water as students live on-campus. Environmental factors can also impact hiring. Suppose faculty and staff cannot find local housing because of environmental concerns. In that case, it can complicate things for the school.

Looking at the environmental factors can also include the appearance of the school. For example, no-gum rules are often put in place so that gum is not found all over campus, ruining the school and its appearance.

Legal Factors

Legal factors are similar and related to political factors and can overlap with economic factors. The real point here is to understand that the ideas in the PESTEL model overlap and indicates that the divisions discussed here are artificial. To make a clear report of the context a school is facing having categories like those presented by the PESTEL model is convenient.

businesspeople talking

Strategic Management for School Administrators

Strategic management is focused on guiding an institution in developing a sense of purpose, directions, and ways of achieving various goals. All institutions need some form of strategic management, whether it involves developing this from scratch or modifying a pre-existing one. The process of strategic management is broken down into the bullets below.

  • Vision and mission
  • Strategic analysis
  • Objectives development
  • Strategy development
  • Implementation strategies
  • Evaluation

These bullets above are part of a strategy cycle, and as such, there is no true step 1. Institutions must go through each of these steps depending on where they are in the process. In addition, this process is similar to the process that schools go through to achieve and or maintain accreditation.

School Vision and Mission

Schools should have both a vision and a mission statement. The vision statement shares what the institution to achieve. What is missing from a vision statement are details on the strategy to achieve whatever the vision is. To simplify, a vision statement tries to explain why a school is in service or exists. Below is an example of a vision statement of a fictional school

To train students for tomorrow.

The vision above is vague but provides a general sense of direction for the school.

The mission statement provides details that are missing from the vision statement. The mission statement explains or provides how the vision statement will be achieved. IT’s still broad but not as broad as the vision statement. Below is an example that extended the fictional school’s vision statement above.

This school will provide students with interacting and engaging learning experiences that develop a child’s character’s social, emotional, and intellectual aspects.

The mission statement above provides hints as to how the vision will be achieved. Students will experience interactive and engaging experiences that develop their character. More details about what these experiences will be are provided in the objective stage of strategic management.

Strategic Analysis

The strategic analysis examines the external and internal environment that the school is experiencing. This could involve looking at the local community and potential sources for students for the external analysis. For the internal analysis, a school may collect statistics on faculty, staff, and students on various metrics. Common ways of completing this stage can involve a SWOT analysis, PESTEL, or Porter’s 5 forces.


This analysis aims to establish the context in which the school is functioning. For new schools, this provides insights into the community that the school may not be aware of. For older schools who are repeating this process, the strategic analysis helps the school to keep abreast of changing demographics and culture both within and outside of the institution.


The process explained here is incomplete and only covers two of several steps in strategic management. For now, the point is to understand the importance of developing a vision and mission and exploring the context in which a school works.