Since your mini-me is obviously the brightest crayon in the class, you might expect their teacher to add a polite “please” to any “lower your voice” admonishment in the (unlikely) event that they’re getting excited about learning, right? Not if they’re in a No-Nonsense Nurture (NNN) classroom, where it’s sorta kinda assumed that your kid is a self-centered brat in need of authoritah.
Created by education consulting company The Center For Transformative Teacher Training, NNN trains teachers to stick to pre-written, straightforward scripts when directing and guiding kids (“Your pencil is in your hand, your voice is on zero”), reserve praise for extraordinary instances, and remain as generally neutral as possible. Those scripts go beyond just directing and guiding, too — NNN teachers use them to narrate student’s actions (“Vonetia’s looking at me. Simon put his pencil down, that’s a good indicator. Monica’s pencil is down but she has not signaled she’s ready by looking at me”).
If that all sounds a little Mao-ist or like an extreme social experiment, it’s not. Rather, NNN is rooted in opposition to the idea that kids should be constantly praised, but rather kept calm, in structured environments that are always under control.
NNN is used in 250 schools around Charlotte, Denver, and Cleveland, but it’s unlikely to go too mainstream too quickly. There are already ex-No-Nonsense nurtures flinging arrows about it being “more nonsense than nurturing,” and lacking in empathy for kids who’d prefer to be taught be a teacher and not an automaton. But, according to NPR, NNN has led to higher attendance and fewer suspensions. It’s based on the same principles that govern why you should let your kid fail a couple of times, and psychologists have linked superfluous praise for kids with poor development.
Here’s what NNN looks like in practice, so what do you think? Should your kid’s teacher be a little bit more of a dick?
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYGW4_0w5L0&app=desktop expand=1]