Remembering an Educational Icon One Year Later

Jan 12, 2013 by

concept-art…the best and brightest students are so many times mislabeled, kicked out, ignored or sedated in the name of “classroom management” or teacher control.

Delia Stafford –

On this anniversary of Dr. Martin Haberman’s passing January 1, 2012, the Haberman Foundation is focused  on continuing his mission to reinvigorate his vision and dream to help inner-city schools and children in poverty.  Dr. Haberman had a particular dream that has not yet been fulfilled.  He wanted to provide teachers of this nation a training tool that could be impactful, fun-to-use and a critical intervention as a practice or coaching tool. This tool will help teachers empower students and improve their own success in teaching.  When all teachers have access, The Haberman Educational Foundation’s efforts will be focused on the most challenging of classrooms.  Dr. Haberman was excited about the development of the prototype, but did not have the opportunity to see the completion and distribution. We are looking to schools and businesses across America to help HEF realize his dream to  help the millions of teachers and students that attend school every day in America.

Children who witness and live in poverty are in peril today which will eventually impact our entire future economy.  We at HEF are not talking about the violent streets or the impoverished homes, we are talking about the public classrooms.  If an inner-city student doesn’t graduate, their likelihood of continued poverty, unemployment, incarceration is radically increased and escalating the burden on cities that are supposed to be the economic engines of our future.  Without a high school diploma, 90% of all jobs become unavailable to dropouts or pushouts.

It only takes one person to turn that situation around; that person is ‘a great teacher’. The teacher can/may be the last hope for many young lives.  However, of the teachers who may be inspired to make a difference in urban classrooms, 50% are either quitting or failing within 3-5 years.  This is as serious as the student dropout rates,7,200 leave /dropout every day.  We see Dr. Haberman’s insights on “gentle teaching in a violent society” as a critical key to ensuring student stay in school.  His vision was, ” if only we could teach teachers to recognize and appropriately respond to kids personal needs and psychological motives, teachers would find respect and engage the diverse and broad potential of inner-city students”.   Haberman (2005,2011).

The peril in the urban classroom today is that the best and brightest students are so many times mislabeled, kicked out, ignored or sedated in the name of “classroom management” or teacher control.  For Dr. Haberman, it wasn’t classroom management through control, it was classroom engagement from mutual respect between teacher and student.  So when a student is empowering their environment, why are they mislabeled as a rebel instead of a natural born leader?  When a student disrupts the class with creative input or incessant questions, why are they mislabeled as an attention seeker, class clowns or trouble makers rather than somebody desperate to contribute or to be engaged?  When a student who is destructively challenging the teacher is discarded and mislabeled as delinquent; then the teacher must strive for de-escalating the situation and gaining mutual respect?  When a student is slipping away into themselves, they are mislabeled as lazy or apathetic rather than being just bored, or worst depressed about an issue caused by the outside world.  If these students are not engaged versus discounted, they are more at-risk of dropping out. (Haberman 2011, Teacher Talk, When Teachers Face Themselves.)

Dr. Haberman believed all students could be engaged, without distracting from the rest of the class, if only a teacher could recognize and respond appropriately to each student’s psychological needs and motives.  He also believed that the importance of this key factor could be revealed in the form of a simple and fun video game.  This is especially important to the next generation teachers who are most likely gamers.

If this product is available directly to teachers on a desktop or mobile computer, it could be available to anybody, anywhere, at anytime.  This could be a make-or-break experience for teachers, especially first time teachers, who are so often on the brink of quitting or failing because they can’t engage their students. They can’t get to the subject matter or employ the pedagogy if they cannot reach their students. If you can engage a student, you can teach them anything. If you can’t engage a student, you can’t teach them anything.

We need your help to make Dr. Haberman’s dream real.  He was so pleased at the development of the prototype before he passed away.  Help us realize his dream.  We are raising money to produce an introductory mobile, micro-game available to teachers to give them a fighting chance in their first year.  It can also be used a coaching tool for more experienced teachers to help new teachers increase their competency in student engagement.

Please take time to visit our crowd-sourcing, fundraising campaign on to learn more!

We are “crowd source” funding, because we want this available to all teachers, separate from politics, budgetary limitations, or time restrictions.  When we reach our goal, we will make this game available for free to all teachers.  When we exceed our initial goal and reach our stretch goals, new modules and social networks will be created to provide continuing support and tools.  Help us make a difference in the world as Dr. Haberman envisioned…

Chris Stapleton

Delia Stafford
President & CEO

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