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April 11 - Teddy Bear School

HYPOTHESIS: Children will let you know what happens at school more accurately if you let them take on the role of the teachers.

PROCEDURE: Subjects gathered and lined up the stuffed animals in "classroom formation". Larger animals (like Gruffalo and Boris the Allosaurus) were brought in because it was "Family Monday", and they were the parents of students in the class watching the lesson.

 Back Row: Paddington, Fluffington Q. Ursine ESQ, Tyrone, Arctos, Boris the Allosaurus, Gruffalo (and his son Buffalo). Middle Row: Robear, Kuma, Chickens, Arc, Baby Dinosaur. Front Row: Corduroy.

Back Row: Paddington, Fluffington Q. Ursine ESQ, Tyrone, Arctos, Boris the Allosaurus, Gruffalo (and his son Buffalo). Middle Row: Robear, Kuma, Chickens, Arc, Baby Dinosaur. Front Row: Corduroy.

To start the class, Subjects played the "name game" and had the teddy bears go about and say their names followed by the word "Baconshteen". The meaning and significance of the word "Baconshteen" was not explained to the researcher (me), nor was the fact that every fifth teddy bear was not supposed to say "Baconshteen". But the subjects clearly found it hilarious.

 Lyric was about to start the lesson, involving throwing a ball to students.

Lyric was about to start the lesson, involving throwing a ball to students.

The lesson was about to start, but then there was a commotion as Baby Dinosaur apparently bit Chickens and had to be seaparated from the class. The two subjects had different ideas of how Baby Dinosaur had to be disciplined, and the researcher let both try their own methods.

 Lyric puts Baby Dinosaur in time out.

Lyric puts Baby Dinosaur in time out.

Younger subject put Baby Dinosaur into a green rocking device and gently explained that biting was never allowed in school. This was unsatisfactory to older subject, who, it should be noted, has recently been dealing with younger subject biting him on occasion. Older subject demanded sterner punishment, and took Baby Dinosaur to other room to go the Principal's office.

 Principal Zephyr has a stern talking-to with Baby Dinosaur.

Principal Zephyr has a stern talking-to with Baby Dinosaur.

Older subject threatened Baby Dinosaur with expulsion from Teddy Bear School if he couldn't stop biting people. Younger subject came in to plea on behalf of Baby Dinosaur. Researcher stepped in to tell subjects that expulsion might be a little too severe, but it was on the table if Baby Dinosaur couldn't learn that you NEVER EVER BITE PEOPLE. Younger subjects (and Baby Dinosaur) seemed to understand.

RESULTS: Well, we didn't really get a chance to get to a lesson, but I think this exercise served as an effective means of conflict resolution for the two subjects. How effective remains to be seen, of course, but it clearly served as a forum for the older subject to express his frustration with the younger subject and highlight the reality of consequences. I'm not quite sure if this is an accurate reflection of how conflicts like biting are dealt with in school (and the difference in approach could be the difference between a biting incident happening in Pre-K versus 2nd grade), but it did let the kids act out a crisis and attempt to solve it. I rate that as a success.

However, in understanding what "Baconshteen" means, I am still clueless. Total failure on that point.