TO: Dr. Joe Scarcella
FROM: Phil Fournier
RE: 502, Quiz 1, Fournier
It was in the 518 class that I first had suggested to me that an assertive discipline plan was appropriate for a classroom. I have taught for sixteen years and have never even had a set of rules, with its behavioral guidelines and the accompanying penalties or consequences of disobeying those rules. But, I have taught mostly adults at the community college level. I have worked under the assumption that most adults are too cognizant that the education they are getting is its own reward; therefore misbehaving in the classroom is counterproductive. Actually, this assumption has been correct in the vast majority of cases. Nevertheless, when I was substitute teaching for an entry level class one year ago, I witnessed some very immature and inappropriate behavior in a classroom. As a substitute teacher, I was not equipped with an “assertive discipline” plan, but I certainly would have appreciated having one at the time. I did not know how to deal with the behavior, and ended up ignoring it. We now live in a society that does not teach that people are responsible for their own actions; rather, that someone else is always at fault, always responsible for the bad consequences that result from bad behavior. As teachers, we need to counteract that falsehood and hold students responsible for their actions, with both rewards for outstanding behavior and consequences for bad behavior. In the future I plan to implement the assertive discipline guidelines that I have learned while taking EVOC classes.
The student organization Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (or VICA as it was popularly known) has had a name change. It is now called SkillsUSA but in essence it remains the same organization with the same objectives. For brevity we will retain the acronym “VICA” for the purposes of this paper. VICA “provides quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development. It builds and reinforces self-confidence, work attitudes and communications skills.” (from the website www.vica.org). My own experience with VICA has been limited to serving as a judge in the skills contests, but the experience showed me that the organization is a very positive experience for high school and college students involved in technical trades. The VICA club is designed to be run by students, while the instructors serve as club advisors. A sample of the bylaws of the VICA organization can be found by clicking on this link (Adobe Acrobat required): http://www.skillsusa.org/PDF/LocalConstitution.pdf
Each school wishing to participate in a VICA club must apply for its own charter as a VICA chapter and write its own constitution, though it is assumed that the constitution found at the link above will form a foundation for every other chapter.
While VICA, as stated above, provides training for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship, and so forth as stated above, the real core of the VICA program are the competitions, in which students compete at various levels in both written and hands-on competitions. These competitions start at a local level, but winners may continue on to a regional, state, and then national level. These competitions foster healthy competitiveness and the desire to excel among the students, as well as giving prospective employers a good look at how these students can perform in the real world. It requires a motivated advisor to take on the responsibility of chartering a VICA chapter at his or her school. But the rewards of doing so can be great.