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Are Progressive Schools Not Strict?

“So, how does your school discipline students? Do you just allow anything since you are progressive?”

This has always been one of the top and tough questions that arise when discussing about progressive education in Keys, especially from those who are much oriented about the traditional ways of student discipline. This question exists because of the misconception that surrounds the word progress---that anything, including values and right conduct, change over time. But Keys strives to inculcate to its students the enduring core values RICESRespect, Inquiry, Collaboration, Excellence, and Social Justice. This means that our school upholds high standards that aim to produce lifelong learners that have strong ethical backbones but without breaking their individuality. So, how does Keys do this? 

Coach Alan Santos, the school’s Prefect of Discipline, provides an overview of how discipline works in the Keys community. 

“Keys School Manila teachers apply carefully planned learning experiences that focus on responding to cohort-specific needs while catering to individual academic and socio-emotional learning needs of all Keys students. The whole school community rallies as one in providing a psychologically and emotionally safe learning environment for everyone where learners and educators take part in promoting the shared values of respect, spirit of inquiry, collaboration, excellence in service and in advocating for social justice.” 

Teacher Job Ochoa from Upper Primary School allows his students to participate in making classroom agreements that will be implemented throughout the school year. This shows that students have a voice in creating rules for peace and order but at the same time, are responsible in walking the talk. 

He further explains, “Keys supports and respects student voice and supports student agency within the context of relation discipline that preserves student dignity. The school’s mission is to respond to discipline issues in a developmentally appropriate, restorative, transformative and preventive manner in the hope that Keys students develop to become more self-regulating, who know and accept boundaries, and show respect for others, property and authority. Relational discipline is grounded on neurological research that focuses on leveraging the connection and the positive relationship between students and teachers to motivate our students to adhere to school rules and expectations as opposed to simply giving discipline sanctions.”

Keys School Manila is neither a strict nor an overly lenient progressive institution. Rather, the community believes in establishing meaningful connection with students more than mere compliance. Managing student behavior is given first priority to strengthen the teaching-learning process. 

Indeed, Keys is a school that has a firm set of core values that shapes students to its fullest potential. 

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