considering kindness

So late the other night (I couldn’t sleep, as usual) I was listening to a radio discussion with one of the authors of a new book called Leading with Kindness: How Good People Consistently Get Superior Results. In the context of business management, he talked about ways we all can use “kindness” to motivate, support, recognize, adapt and grow. Much of their management/leadership ideas are based on psychological theory—essentially, that people are more productive when we treat them with caring, fairness and honesty, but that kindness does not also equal weakness or lack of discipline. Pretty logical, I think.

Since so much of what we do in the ARC is leading and teaching by example, I wonder if we begin to think about how we can lead with kindness—understanding, compassion, acceptance—then can we enhance the way we tutor? So much of our tutoring pedagogy already includes much of what these writers are proposing, so tutoring fits right in to this philosophy of helping others to help themselves—giving others the tools they need to succeed on their own.

While I’m not proposing that we begin to think about our tutees as employees, our students as products, and what we do as a business, I do think that we can glean something from these ideas that can open our tutoring horizons and offer us fresh ways to examine what we do.

For example, we can consider what brings our students in to our center and what keeps them engaged. Then, what can we do to help them grow and become better learners. In addition, thinking about the cross-cultural implications of practicing kindness, especially in a Center like ours, can be invaluable.

So anyway, if you’re interested in reading or hearing more about these ideas, you can check out this website: Or you can listen to a webcast with the authors here:


  1. Comment from Gary:
    "I agree with you, Courtney. I think that tutors should be understanding, patient, and kind. For example, I had a student who wanted to reschedule her tutoring session with me, on another day and time. I had to do something else on that day and time. However, I still saw this student because I knew that she really needed my help. I was glad that I did that because she got a good grade and she thanked me for that. "The way we treat people, that's the way people we'll treat us."

  2. I'm reminded of one of the bosses I had at the job I had shortly before I went back to school. She was notorious in the difficulty employees had in getting along with her; she was strict and had extremely high standards (which I actually appreciate more now) but her manner was such that I didn't want to do well to please her; I wanted to do well to get punished less. She brought out kindness in oddly presented and oddly timed ways that caused more stress than happiness.

    I think of her, now, when I work with my students. I consider her a lesson in how I don't wish to connect with others.


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