Kill Your Own Snakes

Year: 1996

Author: Fitzsimmons, Phil

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper delineates the findings of a four year project which focussed on illuminating the nature of the ideology, knowledge and practice of five highly experienced teachers in their pursuit to create a culture of classroom collaboration. Having developed a personal psychology of 'openness' these teachers sought to develop a classroom in which there was no distinction between instruction and management. Based on the notion of 'family', classroom interaction was at all times founded on honesty, mutual respect and the formation of genuine relationships.

The catalyst for this philosophy of 'openness' was the teacher's use of language combined with an ability and desire to reveal who they were as individuals. Stunningly successful, these teachers viewed school life in more long term and holistic terns of reference. Problems of any kind were negated as the children gradually mirrored the teachers language, actions and philosophy. Thus co-operation was assured as both pupils and teachers had a shared understanding, language and cultural perspective.