According to researchers featured on an npr piece, multipliers are leaders who bring out the best in people. Their opposite number are diminishers. The most interesting part of the theory of mangagement presented was that multipliers and diminishers possess very different views of other people. And this made me think of teachers and the way they view their students and colleagues.
The direct connection to education in this is the principal leading the faculty. But it applies as well to how teachers see their students. The diminisher believes intelligence and ability is strictly rationed; the rest of us just aren’t going to “get it” or be able to perform without close guidance and supervision, being told what to do.
When I think of concepts like multiple intelligences, self-concept or self-image, learning styles, and so forth, I see the mind of the multiplier at work. When I hear about how terrible kids are these days, how the administration just doesn’t care, and how parents are stumbling blocks, I think: diminisher.
So often on one listserv in particular I get accused of bashing teachers b/c I ask those complaining about their situation what they themselves can do. I guess I’m supposed to go to the complainer’s school and smack some people around.
Diminishers can change. One multiplier reported that he had started out as a diminisher until his staff told him he was getting in their way and he should leave them alone to do their jobs. He did and the result startled him and converted him.
We see the same reports from teachers who try tprs. Wow! The students will learn on their own. Getting them there requires not only a lot of work on the part of the teacher but a degree of faith in people that gets communicated to the students.
That is sadly lacking. All you have to do is read the many posts on fl teacher listservs. A spirit of deficits, low expectations, resentment, and other negative attitudes fills the messages.