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April 16, 2005



I am reading and you have no idea how much you are helping!! please keep writing. thank you

dave onelastime

Isn't anyone else going to say something here? (is anyone actually reading this stuff?) Am I to believe that everyone agrees with me. Is there life out there?

dave onelastime

One last comment of sorts from a paper written by a friend, Michael Kendrick (can view more of his papers at kendrickconsulting.org)

People With “Unmet Needs” Versus “Behaviour Problems”

"Once people are labeled with words such as “challenging” it will predict that the focus will be brought on their behaviour, because the behaviour is the thing that is catching people’s attention. If people were thought of as being more than their behaviour, it would open up the possibility that their behaviour not become the centre of the preoccupation.

My advice is not to think of people as having challenging behaviour at all, but rather that they be seen as people who are poorly served or whose needs are not met very well in their present situation. The problem then becomes how to meet a person’s needs so that their behaviour isn’t as “needed” as before. The behaviour then is seen as a symptom rather than the cause.

This is not wishful thinking. Rather it is simply reporting a pattern seen with great regularity. When people in support roles eventually get around to really meeting someone’s needs a lot of the poor behaviour gradually dissipates and may even disappear entirely. This is particularly true as the person, and the people around them, come to learn other ways of meeting the person’s needs. All of us have a behaviour problem of some sort – so to isolate a group of people who are having behaviour problems is a little unfair, considering our own behaviour is likely to be as much of a problem for somebody else as theirs is to a particular service or situation."


Gentle Teaching is "internal", a process of consciousness raising and unfolding: “I discovered something, which I had never confronted before, that there were immense forces of darkness and hatred within my own heart. At particular moments of fatigue or stress, I saw forces of hate rising up inside me, and the capacity to hurt someone who was weak and was provoking me! That, I think, was what caused me the most pain: to discover who I really am, and to realize that maybe I did not want to know who I really was! I did not want to admit all the garbage inside me. And then I had to decide whether I would just continue to pretend that I was okay and throw myself into hyperactivity, projects where I could forget all the garbage and prove to others how good I was. Elitism is the sickness of us all. We all want to be on the winning team. That is the heart of apartheid and every form of racism. The important thing is to become conscious of those forces in us and to work at being liberated from them and to discover that the worst enemy is inside our own hearts not outside!”- Jean Vanier, Becoming Human


For a more thorough understanding of what is at the core of gentle teaching, namely, unconditional valuing, read Alfie Kohn's latest book, Unconditional Parenting.

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