Author Archives: Dr. Darrin

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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.

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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.

eggs in tray on white surface

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.

a person in orange shirt with tattooed arms

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.

scattered pile of playing cards

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.

library photo

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.

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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.

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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.

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Theories on Society’s Role in Crime

In this post, we will look at theories that attempt to explain the role of society in motivation for committing crime. These theories are some of the older foundational theories commonly found in an introductory text to the subject.

Social Disorganization Theory

Social disorganization theory was developed within the Chicago School of criminology in the 1920s. The major contributors were Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay. The main contribution of this theory was identifying the relationship between crime and the neighborhood. More crime will occur in neighborhoods with abandoned buildings, lousy schools, and high unemployment.

When schools are poor and buildings are abandoned, the families with the means will leave. The danger of families leaving the neighborhood is that it weakens social ties within the community, which can limit crime. In other words, when there is a physical decline in the neighborhood, there is a corresponding social decline in the neighborhood.


Social disorganization theory is still influential in policy-making today. For example, gentrification is an attempt to revive rundown neighborhoods. Although this practice is highly controversial, it is an attempt to organize an area considered disorganized by some.

Anomie Theory

Robert Merton developed Anomie theory in 1938. This theory states that there is a difference between what a person wants and what they can achieve. This difference is anomie or a strain on the person. When people fail to achieve what they want by proper means, they will turn to crime to achieve these things instead.

The dilemma, according to Merton, is that society imposes an expectation of material wealth on people. To compound this problem, only certain maneuvers are approved for an individual to make money. For example, we have all heard the story of going to college, getting a good job, working hard for 35 years, and retiring. For some people, this route does not work, and thus they look for shortcuts to achieve what they want.

Examining the life of many criminals proves Merton’s theory. The person who grows up poor has few opportunities to get ahead the traditional way and thus turns to crime. Obviously, the person wasn’t stupid because building a drug cartel is not easy. However, Merton’s theory breaks down when one realizes that despite crime being higher among the poor, the typical poor person does not commit crimes. Therefore, like most theories, Merton’s theory does not explain all criminal behavior.

Anomie theory can also be applied to social classes beyond the poor. For example, many white-collar crimes are committed by people already considered successful financially. The problems these people thought they had was that they needed even more money for an even more lavish lifestyle or perhaps for the challenge of acquiring wealth.

Sometimes strains can be external. For example, parents lose their jobs, pushing them and their children into crime. Drugs and alcohol can also introduce strains into a situation, pushing people into making poor choices. Another application of anomie theory is the role of certain social institutions. For example, religious practice has been found to help people to focus on other things besides wealth. If the local church has lost its influence, it may no longer serve as a conduit to encourage people to think beyond money.


Crime has and will always be a problem. THeories will try to explain crime, but no single theory can explain every motivation for crime. What this means is that there is no single answer for preventing crime. Therefore, a multitude of theories with a multitude of solutions may be a necessary approach to addressing this issue

Ridge Regression with Python VIDEO

Ridge regression belongs to a family of regression called regularization regression. This family of regression uses various mathematical techniques to reduce or remove coefficients from a regression model. In the case of ridge, this algorithm will reduce coefficients close to zero but never actually remove variables from a model. In this video, we will focus on using this algorithm in python rather than on the mathematical details.

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Theories on Crime and Student Misbehavior

In this post, we will look at on theory used in criminal justice to explain criminal behavior. However, we will also see how this theory applies in the classroom context. However, first, we will look at ta foundational theory related to this topic called Classical Theory.

Classical Theory

The ideas of classical theory were formed in part by Cesare Beccaria in his 1764 essay On Crimes and Punishments. In this essay, Beccaria makes several arguments against how criminal justice took place in the 18th century. At that time, a judgment could be arbitrary, was not done fairly by class, and had harsh punishments for various minor crimes.


This criticism supported banning torture, clearly delineating laws, and educating the public about those laws. The additional influence of this movement is the development of the US Constitution’s 8th amendment, which bans cruel and unusual punishment. To make this as simple as possible classical theory calls for punishments that fit the crime. How this applies varies, but it is a core principle. In addition, this idea has been discussed in classroom management. Teachers have to ensure that students’ discipline is not excessive or too weak.

Rational Choice Theory

Rational theory posits that criminals think about their actions and weigh the pros and cons of their decisions. This does not suggest that the criminal makes the best decision, but it does imply a thought process and thus allows for people should be held responsible for the results of this process.

Like any other theory, rational choice explains criminal behavior sometimes. Some criminals think things through before committing a crime, while others have no plan or thought behind their actions. This is true, especially in situations involving drugs and alcohol and domestic disputes, which are often dangerous. In addition, we have all had to weigh whether doing something questionable is okay. Another name for this experience is called temptation.

In the classroom, students always make choices involving a thought process and/or their emotions. Often for kids, the question is whether o, not they can get away with the behavior. Students will often play games of probability, rolling the dice to see if they can get away with breaking the rules. However, due to their inexperience, they often miscalculate or, in some cases, they really don’t care what will happen if they are wrong.

Crime Detterants and Rational Choice

For people in the criminal justice field and teachers in the classroom, supporters of rational choice theory believe that harsh punishments deter crime or poor behavior. Both teachers and criminal justice professionals can rely on the disappointment of family and friends and a general sense of right and wrong when they appeal to students committing crimes. Such arguments are examples that come from a position of rational choice.

Another application of rational choice theory is harsh punishments. The thinking goes that if the punishment is cruel enough, thinking people will choose to not break the law or violate the rule in the case of the students. However, people still commit horrific crimes despite being fully aware of the consequences. This idea does not always work, but it sometimes does.


People will make bad choices throughout their life the question why? Classical theory and rational choice theory show humans as thinking, rational animals. This is not incorrect but is also not the full answer. Therefore, it’s important to continue exploring this phenomenon to benefit those affected by crime or poor student behavior.

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Cultural Intelligence

Today people live in a multi-cultural environment which necessitates the ability to understand people who are different but also be able to adjust one’s approach in the classroom. These skills are even more needed if a teacher moves into a different cultural context, such as working overseas. In this post, we will look at cultural intelligence and some of the teaching and training approaches available for educators who may choose to work overseas.

Cultural Intelligence

Cultural intelligence measures an individual’s ability to perform in diverse cultural settings. Someone with high cultural intelligence can function well and with little difficulty in a culture that is foreign to them. This concept is broken down into four dimensions which are cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, and behavioral.


The cognitive dimension measures an individual’s knowledge of the new culture they are experiencing. The metacognitive dimension measures a person’s ability to use their cross-cultural knowledge to understand and adjust to the new cultural environment. The Motivational dimensions assess the desire to continuously learn about the new culture. Lastly, the behavioral dimension is a person’s ability to practice culturally appropriate actions.

Preparing for a New Culture

There are several commonly used approaches to preparing employees, such as teachers, for overseas cultural experiences. For example, low-rigor training exposes a teacher to critical information to understand the basics of the new culture before experiencing it. An example of low rigor training would include reading books on the culture, lectures, or taking a course in managing foreign students. Most of the approaches at this level are passive in nature.

High rigor training is cultural training in which the participants are actively involved. Examples of this form of training include language classes, case studies, and on-the-job training that takes place after leaving home. Such an approach allows the teacher to experience the culture and learn how to function in the new context.

The timing of training also matters, and this can take place before arriving in the new culture or after arriving in the new culture. In general, the longer a person plans to be overseas, the more training the will need to succeed. If the trip is only for a month, there will not be a huge need for extensive high rigor training because of the short duration of the trip. However, if teachers are overseas for years, they will require more support to adjust to the new culture.

Another factor to consider is how different the culture is from the one a teacher is coming from. For example, a US citizen going to Canada or Mexico will need much less support than a US citizen moving to China. This is because Mexico and Canada have much more in common with the US than with China. However, there are a lot of factors left out of this example, such as the ethnicity of the person who is moving and their prior experience with other cultures.


Having the opportunity to work in another country or culture is always an exciting opportunity. However, it doesn’t take much to fail if one is not prepared. Having an idea of how to function in the new culture through developing one’s cultural intelligence is beneficial for the teacher and the students under their care.

rear view of a silhouette man in window

Factors Leading to Crime

Studies of the demographics of convicted criminals have led to several insights into traits that put a person at a higher risk of committing crimes. IN this post, we will look at various demographic traits that put a young person at risk of committing crimes.


Young adults ages 18-21 are leaders statistically in acts of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Since people have a tendency to commit crimes against peers, teenagers and Young adults are victims of crimes at a disproportionate rate. People ages 12-24 make up 22% of the population yet commit 35% of the murders and 49% of all victims of serious violent crimes. In other words, not only are young people generally more dangerous, but they are also at a higher risk of suffering from a violent crime.


There has been speculation as to why young people are more prone to criminal behavior. Among some of the ideas are the lack of experience and the inability to weigh the consequences of poor choices. In addition, young people often have the freedom of adulthood without the corresponding responsibilities such as career and family. Lastly, given their inexperience, young adults are still determining their own limits and the limits of the society in which they live.


When it comes to crime, men are the primary perpetrators. For example, 74% of all arrests were men in 2019. The only crime in which women outperform men in terms of arrest is prostitution, in which 67% of the arrest are women while 33% are men. The only category in which there is any balance in terms of arrest are several white-collar crimes such as fraud (60% men vs. 40% female) and embezzlement (51% male vs. 49% female).

The reason for this difference is not clear. Traditionally, men have been more physically aggressive and less risk-averse than women. In addition, there are known hormonal differences between men and women as well when examining things such as testosterone and estrogen. For students, this implies that a young person is likelier to be without a father than a mother. This can have consequences regarding behavior and a general need for attention.


An individual’s economic situation is yet another factor in criminal behavior. About 76% of men and 85% of women in prison made less than $38000 per year before being sent to prison. Anything below $32000 is considered poor. Keep in mind that it is difficult to track the income of criminals and that the cutoff is being pulled to the right by the occasional drug kingpin and white-collar crook.

The poor are also victims of crime at a higher rate, with about 63% of violent crimes being perpetrated against poor and low-income people. A tanking economy and job loss can sometimes motivate undesirable behavior that could also have legal ramifications for people. This is important because adult criminals often have children who go through the school system without parental support.


Race is another controversial factor in terms of criminal behavior. Among juveniles, blacks comprise 34% of all arrests. Half of all violent crimes are committed by blacks, even though blacks make up about 12% of the population.

Many contests such numbers and blame such behavior as racial profiling by the police. However, explaining any behavior or number with one factor is never simple or easy. AS such, it is not completely clear why there is such a disparity in criminal behavior based on race. Relating this to students may imply that students of color may need more assistance from teachers as they are more likely to have committed or know somebody who has committed a crime.


High school dropouts are ten times more likely to go to prison when compared to college grads. Furthermore, states with higher levels of educational attainment have corresponding lower levels of crime. Generally, more education implies better jobs for people.

For students, opening their eyes to the benefits of education can keep them off the streets. In addition, some young people may be at a higher risk if they come from a home that does not value education.


Lastly, religion plays a role in preventing crime. Adolescents who attend a religious service weekly have lower rates of shoplifting, assault, and theft when compared to students who never attend a religious service. With religious activity comes a decrease in criminal activity.

One theory behind this is the hellfire hypothesis which implies that people avoid various criminal activities for fear of angering whatever higher power they follow. IT should also be noted that many religions discourage criminal behavior while encouraging respect for local authorities.


The traits shared here are not self-fulfilling prophecies. Young people do not have to commit crimes, nor do men or people who did not attend college. On the other hand, being older, female, or religious does not mean that a person is not capable of breaking the law. Trends found in data are different from individual choice.

Hyper-Parameter Tuning with Python VIDEO

Hyper-parameter tuning is one way of taking your model development to the next level. This tool provides several ways to make small adjustments that can reap huge benefits. In the video below, we will look at tuning the hyper-parameters of a KNN model. Naturally, this tuning process can be used for any algorithm.

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Juveniles and Property Crimes

Property crimes are a common form of delinquency among young people. Theft, in general, leads to over 80,000 arrests each year. Theft can cover many crimes such as car stealing or taking items from another person’s home. In this post, we will examine some common ways young people are involved in property crimes.


Shoplifting is a common crime among youth but not as common as one would think. Approximately 25% of all shoplifters are juveniles, meaning most shoplifters are not children. However, about 47% of high school students have admitted to shoplifting something within the past year. This implies that juveniles are not caught at the same rate at which they steal and that juveniles are better at getting away with shoplifting than adults. Shoplifters are rarely caught, with only 5-10% being apprehended.


When people, including juveniles, are caught shoplifting, they often share such excuses as “it was an accident” or “the item is actually mine.” Of course, this doesn’t work, and now the youth is facing some consequences. Usually, the punishment is not that serious. In some states, small-time shoplifting is not enforced. In other states, the penalty can be a fine and or time spent in jail.

Auto Theft

Stealing cars is another common property theft crime for youths. In 2019, about 13,000 juveniles were arrested for auto theft. Juvenile often steals cars for rather superficial reasons. For example, it is common for young people to steal cars for the adrenaline rush of committing a crime. Another common reason is just for a joy ride. In other words, young people often steal cars for fun.

This is not to say that there is never a financial motivation for stealing cars. Adults often steal cars for momentary gain through selling the car and or the parts that make up the car. For whatever reason, the penalties for auto theft can range from up to two years in prison and or up to $10,000 in fines.


In 2019, 31,000 juveniles committed vandalism. Unlike the other examples of property crimes mentioned earlier, there appears to be no financial motivation for committing vandalism. Youths often vandalize property to express themselves, boredom, as a form of expression, and to join a gang or peer pressure.

Vandalism can lead to fines and or up to one year in jail. Vandalism can be classified as a felony if the act is serious enough.

General causes of property crime

The root causes of property crime are often the same as the root cause of most problems. Family issues are one of the main factors for crime. Youths from broken homes are missing the care and attention they need to make wise choices.

Another common cause of property crime is drug use. For example, a young person may turn to theft to fund a drug habit. In either case, there are motivating factors for the poor decision-making of many youth offenders.


Property crimes are one of many crimes that plague society today. People have their motivation for doing this even if committing propriety crimes is not the best decision. The unfortunate consequences can and do, at times, complicate a person’s life going forward.

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Causes of Youth Violence

It is not a secret that sometimes youths make poor decisions, leading to them committing acts of violence. According to the CDC, acts of violence committed by youth cost over $100 billion annually. One example of violence committed by youth is simple assault which makes up over 40% of crimes committed by juveniles. Other crimes committed by young people include larceny, aggravated assault, vandalism, robbery, motor vehicle theft, and homicide. Given the nature of these crimes, we will look at some of the causes of youth violence.


A major factor in youth violence is drugs. Approximately 80% of minors in the juvenile justice system in the US committed their crime while under the influence of drugs or admitted to having a drug problem. In addition, between 1.9 and 2.4 million minors in the juvenile justice system have a drug problem.

Experts call this relationship between drugs and crime a psychopharmacological relationship because drug use was a factor in criminal behavior. Other crimes associated with drugs include:

  • The manufacturing of drugs.
  • Theft of drugs.
  • Scams.
  • Disputes over drugs.
  • The use of illegal drugs.

Among the legal charges, a youth can face from drugs includes drug possession, drug trafficking, and drug manufacturing. If they remain on a young person’s record, any of these charges can have long-term implications for education and job opportunities in the future. This all assumes that a juvenile does not lose their life from an overdose or experience related to drug behavior.

Family problems

Problems within the family can also lead to youth violence. Today, many homes no longer fit a traditional pattern of married biological parents supporting children. In addition, sexual abuse to about 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls in the USA. Furthermore, 90% of the victims experience this trauma at the hand of someone they knew.


The signs of sexual abuse are difficult to tell among teenagers as they vary wildly at this age. However, some things to look for are changes in behavior and emotions. The trauma they have experienced in their personal life could lead to poor choices in behavior outside of the home.

Single-parent homes can also lead to poor choices. For example, one study found that a 10 percent rise in the number of youths living in a single-parent home leads to a 17 percent jump in crime caused by juveniles. In general, as the family breakdown, there is an increase in the crimes committed by young people.

Mental Health

Mental health is another factor in criminal behavior among young people. About 65% of juveniles arrested for a crime have a mental health issue. About 1 in 7 of all young people, in general, have a mental health issue. Given the impulsive nature of teenagers, it should be no surprise how mental health issues can make things even worst.

Of course, the concepts influence each other. Drug abuse can lead to mental health issues, and mental health issues can lead to drug use. Crime can lead to drug use and or mental health issues and vice versa. Sexual abuse can lead to drug use and or health issues. These ideas are interconnected, but you have to decide what you are looking for when developing a model.


Young people face many challenges today. From broken homes to threats to their physical being to challenges with mental health, young people have to be vigilant. If a youth goes down the path of violence, it is always important to see what factors lead to such a faithful decision.

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Juveniles & Homicide

Homicide is the blanket term for the taking of life and encompasses both murder and manslaughter. Murder is, unfortunately, a crime that young people commit and is the taking of another person’s life with preplanned malice. In other words, murder is when a person plans to take another person’s life and successfully does it. IN contrast, manslaughter is taking a person’s life with no original intention of doing this.


Though it varies by state, murder can be broken down into first, and second-degree murder with capital and felony murder variants. First-degree murder is the intentional killing of another person. An example of this would be gang members eliminating an enemy.


Second-degree murder is the unplanned death of another person in which the perpetrator shows little or no regard for life. For example, shooting a gun into a crowd that causes death could be considered second-degree in many places, even if on accident. Felony murder is death that occurs when committing another felony, such as robbing a bank. The thief may not have planned to kill anybody, but there are consequences for this if it happens.

Lastly, capital murder is murder that can lead the murderer to lose their own life at the hand of the state and thus involves the death penalty. Examples of capital murder could be multiple murders at once, murder of a child, or murder of a law enforcement agent.

The penalties for juveniles who commit first-degree murder can go to life in prison without parole, but the death penalty cannot be imposed in many states. For second-degree murder, the penalty can be 15 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole.


Manslaughter is the accidental loss of life. The person who took life did not intend to do this. Drunk driving is a common reason for manslaughter to happen. In some places, manslaughter and second-degree murder are the same. Many of the same penalties may apply.

Negligent homicide involves a person who needed to be aware of the danger they were in but did not know this, and there was a loss of life. For example, a person driving drunk and who doesn’t run red lights or speed could still be found guilty of negligent homicide if someone dies while they are driving.


Among juveniles in 2019, about 900 homicides were committed. The most common age at which juveniles commit homicide is the age of 16 & 17. To put this into perspective, juveniles committed almost 700,000 crimes. We don’t want to make light of this, but homicide among youths is highly uncommon if these statistics are correct.


Homicide brings a lot of pain into the world today, unlike other crimes, such as theft, where the guilty party can restore what was lost. Homicide means the loss of a life that can never be repaid no matter what true remorse the guilty party shows. Therefore, respecting life is something that young people must learn so that they will not intentionally or unintentionally take life.

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Measuring Crime

A specific field in which statistics is used is the field of crime. IN this post, we will look at how researchers attempt to measure crime. Primarily we will look at issues with data collection and one of the main agencies for consolidating data regarding crime.

Data Collection

A major challenge in measuring crime is that not all crimes are reported. It is common for rape victims to avoid reporting what happened to them. Criminals are also usually reluctant to report crimes that happen to them. Petty and property crimes are also underreported. As such, the collected data does not fully represent crime in the actual world.


One source for criminal statistics is the Uniform Crime Report (UCR). Compiled by the FBI since 1930, the UCR gathers data from over 90% of all of the various police agencies in the USA. This report contains data from Part 1 crimes, which are generally serious crimes, including some of the following.

  • Murder, manslaughter
  • Forcible rape
  • Robbery, burglary
  • Arson
  • Various forms of theft (larceny, motor vehicle)
  • Gambling

Another hurdle to crime reporting to the UCR is that each agency must report the most single crime for each instance of criminal activity. For example, if multiple crimes are committed by one person in one instance, only the most serious offense is reported.

Arrests are also reported to the UCR. Collecting data on arrests helps agencies calculate a clearance rate and the percentage of crimes that lead to an arrest.

There can also be issues after a criminal is caught and does time. FOr example, in one county, a juvenile may commit a crime and get probation, but in another county, they may have to do time behind bars. This is partly due to various philosophies of judges and probation officers in dealing with crime. This makes a difference in criminal punishment based on philosophy rather than something less subjective.

Consumers of Crime Statistics

Policymakers often use the collection of criminal statistics to determine various laws and funding they want to provide to law enforcement agencies. One common problem is that consumers of crime statistics are not aware of the context in which the data is collected, leading to faulty conclusions.

For example, back in the 1990s, there was a dip in criminal behavior. A group of experts concluded that this dip in criminal behavior was due to changes in access to birth control in the 1970s. The thinking went that the birth of unwanted children in the 1970s prevented the birth of criminals who would have been terrorizing society in the 1990s.

The example above may be considered an extreme example, but this can happen when people place their interpretation on data without having a deeper understanding of how that data was collected. Given that crime statistics are not 100% reliable, strong conclusions should be guarded.


Despite these challenges, data on crime is needed. What is really important is that people avoid jumping to strong conclusions based on data known to have issues. Some insight into criminal behavior is better than none, but care and restraint are needed in the conclusions.

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Leadership Preferences and the Classroom

Dorfman et al. did a study back in 2004 in which they looked at how people from different cultures rated leadership. The team broke leadership down into six components listed below.

  • Charismatic-The ability to motivate and inspire others.
  • Team orientation-The ability to develop a highly functioning team.
  • Participative-The ability to get others included in the decision-making.
  • Humane-oriented-The ability to show empathy and compassion,
  • Autonomous-The ability to be independent and reflect this to the team
  • Self-protective-The tendency of the leader to use face-saving approaches

Naturally, different countries identified differently with each of these components. For example, Asian countries considered self-protective skills highly important, while participation wasn’t as important. Western English-speaking countries were the opposite. The point is not to dwell on the details of the research but to point out that if countries have various skills they find important in leaders, it is not unreasonable that students at an individual level are going to want specific skills in teachers who are leaders of classrooms.


For the teacher, some students are going to want a charismatic teacher, while other students may want a teacher who is human-oriented. The teacher may naturally tend to emphasize autonomy in their leadership approach. The point is not to condemn one approach over the other but rather that the teacher must be aware of what the students are looking for in a teacher while also being aware of their own natural tendency as a teacher.

Suppose a teacher tends to be participative in their approach, but this is not working with students. In that case, a teacher needs to look for ways to overcome this situation. Perhaps a more authoritative approach is appropriate in particular situations. This often goes against what one is taught when becoming a teacher, but the most important tenet of education is helping students to be successful. Helping students be successful may involve ignoring other tenets of education, such as developing a participative classroom environment.

Traits and Behaviors of Leaders

Den Hertog et al. did a study in 1999 looking for traits and behaviors that people admire in leaders and people in general. The positive traits are listed below.

  • trustworthy, smart, honest, planning, encouraging, positive, dynamic motivator, confidence builder, dependable, decisive, bargained, problem solver, administrator, communicator, informed, team builder

These traits mean that if people see them in an individual, such as a person who is in authority, they will admire these traits in that person. The study was worldwide, so these are traits that may be universal. What is also important to point out is these are traits that students like to see in teachers. Students want a teacher they can trust, who solves problems, is positive, and can plan, among other things. If such traits are missing, the students may conclude that the teacher is bad.

On the flip side, these traits listed above are traits teachers like to see in their students. Many teachers would love to have students who are dependable, honest, informed, etc. When students lack these traits, many teachers can identify them as bad students. Teachers need to develop these positive traits to inspire students who may lack these traits while also being able to meet the definition of a good teacher.

In the study, there was also a list of negative traits are listed below

  • loner, antisocial, uncooperative, egocentric, ruthless, dictatorial, inexplicit

For students and teachers, the list above are traits to avoid. Teachers who are dictatorial and unclear (inexplicit) will be seen as bad teachers. Students who are loners, antisocial, and uncooperative will be viewed as bad students. The benefit of this list is that it allows a teacher to clearly articulate and define desirable and undesirable traits in a student. This also applies to administrators who are assessing teachers and teachers trying to explain the quality of leadership they are under.


Everybody is going to possess good and bad traits in different combinations. The point is not to criticize the weaknesses we all possess in our characters. Rather it is better to be aware of one’s weaknesses to make adjustments to help those who are around them.

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Crime Types and Students

Young people sometimes make mistakes and violate the laws of a country. Natural, this leads to consequences that vary based on the transgression. This post will look at various categories and types of laws.

Categories of Criminal Behavior

There are two broad categories where we can place crimes that young people commit. These categories are

  • Mala in see
  • Malum in prohibitum

Mala in se is Latin for “wrong by itself,” and these are crimes that people instinctively know are wrong. Examples are robbery, murder, and other acts viewed as heinous. However, people’s views on morality vary widely. Therefore, one basis for what is considered “instinctively wrong” is English and US Common Law.


Common law was developed through decisions made in the court system over hundreds of years. The opinions of judges became precedent for future decisions. Through this process, an idea of what and wrong has been developed, which is used now to determine when crimes fall in the category of mala in se.

The second category of crimes is malum in prohibitum, which translates from the Latin as “wrong when prohibited.” These crimes are not necessarily morally evil but are actions that need to be regulated. Examples of laws that fall within malum in prohibitum include laws related to various licenses people may need (driving, fishing, hunting, etc.), gambling, alcohol, and drug use. Again, many may disagree if these crimes are less harmful, but this is the example given.

Students have and will commit both categories of crime in the examples above. Students will willfully commit crimes obviously while also breaking laws that regulate less offensive behavior.

Types of Laws

After categories, laws are sometimes classified by type. Civil laws include property laws, contract laws, tort laws, and more. Civil laws often involve private parties, do not include the loss of freedom for the defendant, involve the defendant paying money if they lose in many situations, and do not have the same constitutional protections found in criminal cases.

On the other hand, criminal cases usually involve the government bringing formal charges against someone. There is a risk of the defendant losing their from if they lose, and the defendant has certain constitutional rights protecting them. Criminal law also requires actions and behaviors. In other words, the accused must be accused of doing something and not just thinking about it. For example, suppose a person sneezes while driving and someone is hurt in the accident. In that case, there is a chance that the sneezer will not be guilty of a crime because it is impossible to control when you sneeze.

Quality of Mind

The state of mind is also another significant factor in determining an individual’s guilt. There are four ways a person can commit a crime: intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, and negligently. AN intentional act means somebody committed a crime on purpose. Knowingly is obvious and states that a person was aware that what they were doing was a crime, such as breaking into a house and making jewelry.

Recklessness involves a person acting in such a way that is an obvious danger and a disregard for acceptable standards. For example, many people define driving 100 mph in a school zone as reckless. Lastly, negligence is when someone ignores an obvious danger when performing a certain activity, such as driving 100 mph and then hitting and killing someone.

Young people can be found in any state of mind mentioned above. Youths can be international, or they can be reckless or negligent, etc. We all make mistakes, but the stakes are much higher at the criminal level.


Young people will continue to make decisions that strongly impact their lives. Committing crimes is one thing that can have a lasting impact. Youths and teachers need to work together for the young people to develop decision-making skills that will allow them to avoid criminal acts.

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Three Cueing Reading Method

The Three Cue method is a long-established yet increasingly controversial approach to teaching reading. We will look at the background and philosophy of this reading method in this post.

According to Ken Goodman, there are three cues people use to read, and they are listed below

  • Graphic cues: Examining the letters to determine the word
  • Syntactic cues: Guessing what kind of word it might be, such as an adjective or verb
  • Semantic cues: Guessing the word based on the context or what makes sense.

Goodman also made some conclusions based on his observational research of children learning to read.

  • Reading is not about precision but accurate first guesses
  • as the child improves in their reading, they use fewer graphic cues
  • Detailed perception of letters and words is not necessary


Before Goodman’s bombshell in the 1960s, reading was taught one of two ways. The whole word approach relied on repetition and the use of pictures. A classical example of this approach to teaching reading is the”Dick and Jane” reading series from the 1930s. The assumption is that if a child sees a word often enough, they will learn how to read it.


The other major way of teaching reading has been the phonics approach, which involves learning the sounds associated with letters. One example of this approach is the McGuffey readers of the 1800s

Goodman’s Approach

Goodman took a different approach compared to whole words and phonics. If a student is struggling with reading, the teacher can have the child think (guess) a word that would work in a sentence they are struggling with. For example, suppose a student sees the word “horse” and uses the word “pony” instead. In that case, this is considered acceptable when employing this method. Even though the child never learned how to read the word “horse.”

This approach to reading allowed students to guess their way through a text. If students had an intuitive sense of what works, they could look like they were reading without developing the needed comprehension. This happens because they are not processing words, but rather, they are processing their guesses about words. With time, criticism began to arise towards the THree Cue method.


By the 1970s, people were already beginning to find that Goodman’s method was as great as believed. REsearch at this time was finding that skilled readers could recognize words without relying on the context. Students were able to read without looking at the words! In other words, students were making up their own story guessing their way through a text without mastery.

Students would skip the arduous process of sounding out words to guess. These habits would become bad habits, and children would struggle with reading for a long time and, in some cases, would never really master it. In addition, some students learn to read no matter how they are taught. In other words, no single system can claim to be the answer all the time for learning to read.

Despite this evidence, the Three Cueing Method was highly popular. Most teachers are familiar with this method and maybe learned to read this way. The problem is not Goodman’s method. Rather the problem is relying exclusively on one method to teach anything. Different students learn in different ways, and there will always be a place where Goodman’s ideas will benefit someone.

Phonics does not work for every student, nor does the whole word. It is naive to think that Goodman’s way is the only way. A balanced approach that incorporates various reading methods is one way to reach students. After a teacher gets a sense of what works best for their students, they can focus on one particular approach and occasionally use other strategies to develop weaknesses in students.


When the flaws in a theory are pointed out, it is always tempting to throw them out. However, there is probably always a context or situation in which a theory will work. Goodman’s three cue method doesn’t work all the time. Yet there is evidence that this approach has helped for some of the time.