VanDellensTeachingLoveandLogicCUAA School of Education students learn from guest instructors Jim and Penny Van Dellen

What does Love and Logic have to do with education? As it turns out, the principles of Love and Logic can play an integral role in shaping the development of teachers and classroom operation. Penny and Jim Van Dellen, both CUAA graduates, presented as guest speakers in this semester’s School of Education child development course. Learn more about what they shared with CUAA students and how you, too, can integrate these principles into everyday classroom tools.

From CUAA Undergraduates to Love and Logic Mentors

Jim and Penny Van Dellen graduated from CUAA in 1991. They both majored in Elementary Education. Today, they are certified trainers who use Love and Logic both in their family and with the schools and congregations in which they serve. Jim is a Lutheran School Principal at Our Redeemer Lutheran in Wauwatosa, WI and Penny is the Director of Family Life.

Jim and Penny recently visited CUAA to present to an undergraduate School of Education child development classroom. Professor Dr. Sara Clemm von Hohenberg organized their visit to add to the course’s curriculum and enhance student learning. In the School of Education, instructors like Clemm von Hohenberg immerse students in practical application of theoretical knowledge. “There’s so much more to student learning than the typical classroom experience,” says Clemm von Hohenberg, “I’m dedicated to making sure my students have hands-on, practical knowledge experiences so they can apply skills in their own classrooms even before graduating.”  This dedication is one of the unique aspects that sets the School of Education at Concordia apart from other learning environments.  Students in the School of Education were able to hear firsthand how Jim and Penny implement the principles of Love and Logic to benefit students and their families.

CUAA students experienced a unique look into practical work of Love and Logic and left the classroom with tips on how to incorporate these tools into their own classroom.

Continue reading about what Love and Logic means to an educator, and to your everyday family experiences. Below, Jim and Penny share what their message means, and the importance of acknowledging and utilizing these tools.

Love and Logic 1:1 with the Van Dellens 

Jim and Penny, what are the main principles of Love and Logic?

It all comes down to choices, choices, choices.  Teachers try to teach students to solve their own problems by providing choices. Often times, teachers will give students at least two choices, both of which work for the teacher. Then, the student gets to choose.

The teacher hands the problem back to the student (who is then the owner) and allows the student to solve their problem. This method gives students an opportunity to practice independent thinking. This gives teachers the skill to focus on matters that are really important to student development, and to focus less on smaller individual student problems.

How was this applicable to the CUAA education students, and how can teachers incorporate these tools?

Using Love & Logic in the classroom diminishes frustration levels for both students and teachers.  Students can’t learn in a classroom of chaos. Love & Logic teaches skills to avoid the chaos.  Students today need problem solving skills as much as the standard core curriculum.  Love & Logic gives students opportunities to make decisions and evaluate the outcome.

When students have problems that arise, teachers should show empathy and ask them to solve their problem.  Here’s a good example of that in practice: “I didn’t get my homework done last night,” the student says.  The teacher responds, “Bummer.  What are you going to do about that?”

If I’m not a teacher, how can I use these tools with my family, friends, or community groups?

In the book of James, we are encouraged to “be slow to speak, slow to anger and quick to listen.”  If we follow this advice, we need to listen. Listen to the problem.  Express empathy.  Don’t let anger rise; instead, ask a few questions without giving answers.  Here are some good questions to prompt individual problem solving skills for both teachers and anyone in a leadership role:

  • What can you do about that?
  • How would that work for you?
  • What one thing that you would like to change?
  • What are a few possibilities?

How does Love and Logic fit into 2019 culture and trends?

The principles of Love and Logic give the student some control in a world that is predominantly controlled by parents.  As we think about project based learning (giving students a problem to solve) Love & Logic allows students to try things. We can ask questions like: “What do you think you can do?  Let me know how that works for you.”  It’s good for teachers to allow students to try, adjust and try again.  Students learn that they didn’t fail, they just found out what didn’t work.

Love & Logic allows students to explore different opportunities in a variety of problem solving situations.  In a world of helicopter and snowblower parenting, Love & Logic allows students to look at a situation and figure out the best solution, instead of having their problems solved by their parents.

What has been your biggest success with Love and Logic?

Penny: When a student answers with, “I don’t know,” as a teacher I would reply, “If you did know, what would you say?.”  The vast majority of students will answer this question.  If they don’t, I reply, “I need to get back to teaching, please stay right here and let me know when you do know.”  Students will figure it out almost immediately.  Once they admit the problem, I can provide some sympathy and ask them to solve the problem.

Jim:  I would say one of my biggest successes has been sharing things that work with parents and seeing it work in their home life.  Parents can also learn the same principles to use at home that teachers use at school.  It’s really rewarding to watch teachers confidently enjoy working through discipline issues instead of seeing the frustration escalate.  Teachers have more of an opportunity to understand where their students are coming from when using Love & Logic. This is because teachers can guide a student in finding out what works for each individual student.

If I have already been using Love and Logic, what advice do you have to revitalize or improve my practice?

Be consistent!  Teachers want to maintain credibility and consistency helps with this.  If students know what they are going to hear from you, they will begin to have solutions to their problems before they even present the problem to you.

Have conversations with other people who are using Love & Logic so that you can see what works for others and gain a better understanding of different ways to use it.  Don’t live in a silo.  Since consequences need to match the situation, talking to others with different perspectives can aid your creativity.

Why did you want to present to the Child Development class?

We truly believe that Love & Logic is the best way to handle classroom management.  It is adaptable to each teacher’s personal style and we have both had great success with Love & Logic.  Not only with our students and own children, but with each other.  We felt we had concrete examples of how to use Love & Logic in the classroom with our years of experience and stories.  We knew that presenting Love & Logic to a group of college students interested in education would be rewarding as we knew it was an opportunity to pass on examples of how to put this into practice.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

We were impressed with the knowledge of the Concordia students as evidenced by their questions and their answers.  Students were genuinely interested in the material and were eager to answer questions and present scenarios to us for us to offer our suggestions.  It is exciting to know that CUAA has a number of competent teachers in the pipeline.  Finally, thank you for inviting us to present.  To God be the glory!

More about the CUAA School of Education Undergraduate Experience

In the School of Education at Concordia, students receive practical application of theoretical knowledge. One such practical application was learning from the Van Dellens. Students receive enhanced learning experiences and are equipped with strong skill sets upon graduation. CUAA School of Education graduates are highly sought after for their classroom knowledge and readiness to teach.

Explore all of the School of Education programs and degrees on our website, or schedule a campus visit today.


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