Addressing Student Behavior: Balancing Cognitive Growth and Accountability
In a recent article by Nancy Weinstein and Nancy Tsai from the November 2023 issue of Educational Leadership Magazine, the authors provide a comprehensive analysis of the growing issue of problem behavior among students, with a particular focus on how it has evolved both before and after the pandemic. They carefully dissect the contributing factors, shedding light on the multifaceted nature of this challenge. The article underscores the critical role of cognitive functions, notably executive functions and memory, in comprehending and addressing these behavior issues. The authors emphasize that these cognitive aspects are pivotal in understanding the roots of problematic behavior.
As the authors delve into the article, they present a persuasive case for the influence of cognitive skills on behavior, particularly in the context of the chronic stress experienced during the pandemic. They propose practical solutions to support students in developing their cognitive and emotional well-being. Strategies like incorporating aerobic exercises into the educational environment, introducing mindfulness interventions, and implementing social-emotional learning programs all align with the imperative need to foster holistic student development.
However, while I generally concur with the article’s perspective, I believe that in our quest to address cognitive challenges and enhance emotional well-being, we should also integrate a crucial element of accountability into the educational framework. This involves teaching students about societal norms and expectations, an aspect that is essential for their comprehensive development. The article highlights the connection between cognitive difficulties and problematic behavior but falls short of addressing the importance of guiding students to understand and adhere to societal norms. It does mention SEL as an acceptable method, but this is not always available to all students.
In essence, educators should not only focus on the cognitive and emotional aspects of student behavior but also ensure that students are aware of and adhere to societal norms. By amalgamating these two approaches, we can cultivate an educational environment that fosters both cognitive growth and responsible, socially conscious behavior. As we continue to navigate the post-pandemic educational landscape, following the science and instilling a sense of accountability will be pivotal in shaping well-rounded and socially responsible individuals.
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The MEN was founded by John Huber in the fall of 2020. It was founded to provide a platform for expert opinion and commentary on current issues that directly or indirectly affect education. All opinions are valued and accepted providing they are expressed in a professional manner. The Maryland Education Network consists of Blogs, Videos, and other interaction among the K-12 community.