If Holden Caulfield Were In My Classroom by Bernie Schien. was a book I recently picked up at Girlfriend Weekend after hearing him speak about his successes in the classroom. Funny, charming, heart-warming Bernie seemed to make learning fun. Reading his book I learned how challenging his teaching philosophy is.
What would you do if you had Holden Caulfield in your room? Would you send him to the principal’s office or would you strive to discover who He is? What makes him tick? Why he behaves the way he does? What is happening in his life? What have been his disappointments and joys? These are the kinds of questions that master teacher Bernie Schien asks (if only in his mind and heart) of each of his students. He gets to know students as persons and then helps them to relate to each other in meaningful ways. His grasp of group dynamics is inspiring and his implementation brings out the student.
As a tutor and former teacher, I understand his development of the individual for I have seen this evolve with my own students. It is impossible for students to learn in hostile environments, which could be playground bullies, boyfriend/girlfriend issues, racism and prejudice, abusive home life, etc. Bernie Schien helps the student to face the issues, to confront the problem and work to a solution. All in a loving caring challenging manner. My hat is off to Bernie, wish I’d had a teacher like him!