A Word of Caution about Starting the RTP Process
Many teachers who have attempted to use the responsible thinking process (RTP) tend to perceive its questioning protocol as just another means for controlling students.
Nothing could be further from the truth. This mistake is possible only without an understanding of perceptual control theory (PCT), upon which RTP is based. Children are autonomous human beings who should be treated with respect.
Those who believe that they can control children, either by conditioning them with rewards and punishments or by meeting all of their "needs," will not find this school discipline process helpful. If the RTP questions are asked in a quiet, curious, respectful tone, and if the student is willing to deal with the questions, then the questions act as a teaching guide by which the student learns how to look within himself and decide how he wants to be.
He does this by comparing what he is doing with the current rules of where he is and reflecting on the consequences. He learns to think through the conflicts with which he is dealing and tries to come up with ways to achieve his goals without violating the rights of others. He also perceives the teachers as non-critical and non-controlling. As he considers the unintended consequences of his actions, he learns to make plans such that, whatever he decides to do, his actions carry with them the intent to respect the rights of others.
The person who is responsible for administering the process needs more than just an understanding that children are autonomous. This administrator must be willing to make the necessary efforts to deal with those who are critical of the process, to protect its funding, to deal with political issues, and to deal with a district office, parents, and faculty members who lack commitment or understanding of what the process is all about.
Not only must she deal with those teachers who refuse to use the process by holding them accountable for student disruption, but also she must never permit those teachers to corrupt the use of the responsible thinking classroom (RTC) by using it as a detention center. They should never be permitted to send students to the RTC unless they use the process. Finally, the administrator should also deal quickly and decisively with those students who continue to disrupt in the RTC.
If you are seriously considering RTP, you must find out whether the faculty members are satisfied with their present program. A sample faculty survey form to be used for that purpose is shown in Appendix 3. If most of the faculty are satisfied with the present program, it would be difficult or impossible to introduce a new process, especially one that requires teachers to change the way they deal with students.
If the faculty is not satisfied, then usually a core group of teachers, parents, and administrators representing the school, often called a discipline committee, should read Discipline For Home And School, Fundamentals first, then both Discipline For Home And School, Books One and Two, which should be used as training manuals or "how to" books. They should also view the DVD titled "RTP Explained," in which a school board member interviews Ed Ford on the process. Another DVD on the process is one produced by a Phoenix TV station following a visit to an RTP school, titled "Teaching Responsible Thinking."
Program Standards for Schools. They should also view the DVD titled “RTP Explained,” in which a school board member interviews Ed Ford on the process. Another DVD on the process is one produced by a Phoenix TV station following a visit to an RTP school, titled “Teaching Responsible Thinking.”
If the committee finds RTP acceptable, they should purchase copies of Book One for everyone on the staff, and also copies of Book Two for the professional staff. Those interested in learning more about PCT and its theoretical models, upon which RTP is based, should read my book Freedom From Stress.
If, after having read the books and viewed the DVD, at least 75% of the professional staff commit to the process, then the staff will need training from a person who is presently certified as a trainer by RTP, Inc. An accredited RTP administrator is not qualified to do this training. I recommend one or two days of training, with a follow-up day six months to a year later. Questions and concerns of the staff, along with added training, make up the agenda of the follow-up day. If a second initial day is requested, it could be used to provide more staff training on the questioning techniques and plan making, as well as time with the responsible thinking classroom (RTC) teacher and the RTP administrator, going over the use of forms and suggesting the layout of the room. Prior to initiating the process, a letter should be sent home to parents, explaining the new discipline process (see Appendix 4).
Finally, the ideal way to begin RTP is with district office support. Because RTP is so different, both in theory and in practice, from what is being done in most schools, it would be extremely helpful to have the full administrative backing of the central office.
As George Venetis, principal of a school using RTP who is also an RTP trainer and evaluator and works with Ed Ford as a trainer, wisely observed, many educators think that RTP will eliminate all school discipline problems, but it won’t. They’re looking for a magic program that will cure disrupting students, but it doesn’t exist. The struggle to take responsibility for their lives must take place within students; they must learn to reorganize their way of thinking. And that takes time. Thus, students must be given the needed time and ongoing support to deal with their conflicts. RTP provides the most effective way for teaching students to be responsible while maintaining a non-punitive, respectful relationship with them as they learn to take responsibility for their lives.
In order to protect the integrity of the process, RTP, Inc. offers recognition to those schools that are successfully using the responsible thinking process. This recognition, in the form of accreditation, is given when the RTP administrator has demonstrated a good understanding of PCT, the RTP administrator and the RTC teacher are both performing their roles, a majority of teachers are using the process, and appropriate data have been kept for one year. Check out our web site mentioned below.
The current cost of books, DVD's, and 3×5 cards can be found on the Brandt Publishing web site: http://www.brandtpublishing.com.
To make arrangements for training, contact Ed Ford at RTP, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org
Our phone number is 480-584-4715.