CSUB wins first Ethics Bowl Competition

Cal State Bakersfield philosophy students beat 15 colleges and universities across the state to take first place in an ethics competition in San Jose, university officials announced this month.

It was CSUB's first time entering the California Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Now students are preparing for a national competition to take place next month in Reston, Va.

“I think it's a testament to the strength of the philosophy program at CSUB that we entered as a school with no debate background, no pedigree in the event and were able to win,” student team member Travis Rosenlieb said.

Students argued and defended their morals on a variety of issues including business, engineering, journalism, law and social work in the December competition while demonstrating an understanding of the facts of the case, articulating ethical principles and presenting an argument before a panel of judges.

Form of “No-Nonsense Nurturing” discourages teachers from saying “please,” “thank you”

A hardline style of teaching that discourages teachers from saying “please” and “thank you” to their students is gaining national attention, but local educators are not embracing it.

The management program, touted by its supporters as one that could empower teachers while leading to more organized and orderly classrooms, stresses a firm approach to teaching. One of the tenets is for teachers to expect “100 percent compliance 100 percent of the time.”

While it’s been widely reported that the No Nonsense Nurturing program forbids teachers from saying “please,” Kristyn Klei Borrero, founder of the San Francisco-based Center for Transformative Teacher Training that developed the program, said it only discourages it.

Saying “please” gives students an option to misbehave, Klei Borrero said.

“We do encourage teachers to use a tone that means business,” Klei Borrero added. “But 'please' sounds like you have a choice.”

While the program is gaining attention and criticism, the program hasn't been officially adopted in any Kern County schools, Klei Borrero said. Several local educators said they haven't heard of the program, but were skeptical of its spirit.

“I can't think of anybody who would ban teachers from saying 'please' and 'thank you.' This is not something I've heard buzzing at all. It's more the opposite around here, more about kindness,” Gerrie Kincaid, assistant superintendent of educational services at Panama-Buena Vista Union School District, said.

Direct Interactive Instruction, a classroom management tactic used at PBVUSD, keeps students so busy that there isn't much of an opportunity for misbehavior, Lauri Heffernan, third-grade teacher and PBVUSD Teachers Association president, said.

“It's so automatic in my classroom that we say 'please' and 'thank you' for everything, even when I'm giving a command,” Heffernan said.

Infomercials promoting online courses for the management program show stressed-out teachers flocked by unruly students as they attempt to restore order in their classrooms. It's a stark comparison from the teachers depicted in the video who have gone through the No Nonsense Nurturing course.

They stand before neat rows of grade school students delivering scripted directions, often narrating what students are doing. They mark off warnings for students whose eye contact strays from them or their work. They seldom reward those on task.

The program is deployed most in underserved, disenfranchised parts of the country, Klei Borrero said.

Costs to train schools vary, but range from $4,000 up to $100,000.

Some teachers on Twitter are criticizing the program, saying it's far from nurturing.

“#NoNonsenseNurturing is NOT what we need. My class had high expectations & I used ’please’ when speaking to kids,” San Francisco-based education attorney Annie Lee tweeted Jan. 11.

The program has been rolled out at more than 250 schools throughout the nation.

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