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“The complete lack of sugarcoating may seem harsh to outsiders, but students seem to appreciate the honesty”

Joanne Jacobs,

Chapter 1 of Joanne Jacobs’ “Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea, and the School That Beat the Odds” introduces San Jose’s Downtown College Prep, a charter school serving mostly Mexican immigrant families. DCP takes underperformers and develops them to succeed at a 4-year college or university. From page 9:

“”At DCP [Downtown College Prep], low achievers aren’t told they’re doing well; they’re told they can do better, if they work hard. The school doesn’t boost self-esteem with empty praise. Instead, Lippman and his teachers encourage what is known as “efficacious thinking,” the belief that what a person does has an effect. If you study, you’ll do better on the test than if you goof off. Work hard in school, and you can get to college. You have control over your future. So, stop making excuses and get your act together. The complete lack of sugarcoating may seem harsh to outsiders, but students seem to appreciate the honesty.”

Kids are the best fraud detectors alive. Honesty shows love and sincere concern. It’s no wonder that students at DCP – or anywhere, for that matter – prefer respectful honesty as they develop.

One Response to ““The complete lack of sugarcoating may seem harsh to outsiders, but students seem to appreciate the honesty””

  1. In my first teaching job, after many unsuccessful attempts at getting a very brigt student to work, I wrote on his report that he wouldn’t fail the course because given his current showing I wouldn’t bother entering him for the examination. His parents came to see me, and the next day the student came to me and told me that his parents apppreciated my honesty and that from then on he was going to pull his weight — which he did. IMO, honesty is ALWAYS the best policy, and anything else is just patronising codswallop.

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