Education: Learning to Rise above Poverty 10
Kohlberg also agreed with Aristotle that appropriate behavior can be learned through modeling (Noddings, 1995). This same concept has been applied to many classrooms and intervention programs. For instance, mentoring programs have proven highly effective.
Of what does mentoring consist? It is simply an experienced individual teaching or modeling a particular skill, task, or even a way of life. There are many forms of mentoring, including youth programs, such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, in which an adult teaches and guides an at-risk child. “The Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization of Santa Clara, California reports that 98% of youths affiliated with the program remain in school, graduate, and don’t have run-ins with the law” (Payne, DeVol, & Smith, 2006, p. 83). This is a very impressive success rate, and it is a result of adults modeling appropriate behavior and specifically teaching life skills to children. Nel Noddings (1995) said that modeling is the most important aspect of teaching students how to care about others. Adults cannot simply tell children to care about others. They must model the behavior by displaying a genuine, caring attitude and encourage the child. Thus, the high rate of success for youth mentoring is put into perspective. These adults or mentors are volunteers who truly care about children and want to see them succeed. This evidence clearly demonstrates that modeling behavior and skills is effective, and modeling is a major aspect of the social-emotional method.
One classroom program, which was developed according to this method, is the Responsive Classroom (RC) Approach, and it has been the subject of several studies. It is based on teaching academic skills in conjunction with social and emotional skills. This is done by emphasizing the individual needs of students, including developmental level,