CMS teaching method often spares 'please' and 'thank you'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Channel 9 visited a first-grade class at Druid Hills Academy Thursday and it looked like any other class, except when you listen to the teacher speak to the students.

Instead of the teacher repeating "please sit down" or "please stop talking," you would hear something like "when I say go, it's level 0."  

That tells Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students not to make any noise when they begin their next activity.

The concept is called No Nonsense Nurturing. It's aimed at not only improving behavior but creating a better learning environment by clearly telling kids what's expected of them.

Dr. Denise Watts leads Project Lift, a public-private partnership that provides finances and resources to low-achieving schools.

She said students shouldn't be praised for simply doing what they're expected to do.

'You're expected to come to work every day. Nobody says, 'Will you please come to work?'" Watts said. "You're expected to be at work."

In the same way, students are expected to follow instructions so students in the No Nonsense Nurturing Program are praised only when they exceed expectations and go above and beyond.

Watts said it's more than a teaching method. It's a way of changing the atmosphere in the classroom.

"A culture, so to speak, that is both no nonsense and yet nurturing at the same time. There are some instructions that don't include the words 'please' or 'thank you' because they are expectations," she said.

Some parents, like Cardella Fisher-Barrett, said it's a good idea but families must and help.

"If it's not instilled at home, then it's going to be difficult on teachers to try to instill," she said.

CMS said all teachers in the program use the same playbook so a student will hear a consistent message in each classroom.

The consistent standards are in place instead of each teacher trying whatever method works for that day.  

Parent Kendra Cherry said it could improve discipline too.

"I do believe in being more firm with them because if you don't, then they believe they can run over you," she said.

The No Nonsense Nurturing Program was introduced in CMS three years ago.  It's currently used at West Charlotte High School and all the schools that feed into it.

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