The Wall Street Journal article, “Why Tough Teachers Get Good Results,” is an excellent piece for us to read and discuss. Over the years, there has been much discussion about exactly what motivates students and what ignites creativity. Janice Lipman, the article’s author, suggests that maybe we aren’t where we should be in education because of teaching methods that follow “the kinder, gentler philosophy that has dominated American education over the past few decades. The conventional wisdom holds that teachers are supposed to tease knowledge out of students, rather than pound it into their heads.” Lipman backs up her call for stricter discipline and unyielding demands with research and with her eight-part manifesto: “1. A little pain is good for you. 2. Drill baby, drill. 3. Failure is an option. 4. Strict is better than nice. 5. Creativity can be learned. 6. Grit trumps talent. 7. Praise makes you weak. 8. ....while stress makes you strong.”
Lipman says that one of her toughest teachers taught students how to fail and how to get themselves up and going once more.
What do you think? Is it an either or—nice or tough?