Richard Lawrence Dufour
A uniquely experienced and successful teacher, Richard Lawrence Dufour agrees with Madeline Hunter who said, “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!” Many thought Hunter’s view was too “warm and fuzzy.” Yet, in fact, we in teaching are not going to reach some learners academically until we first reach them “human to human.” Richard holds that the research is clear: when students know you value them as a human being, not as just another student, they will work harder for you and challenge you less. He also believes those teachers who understand the efficacy of the “point of contact between teacher and learner” do not need more new theory and trending programs. By providing the main ingredient missing in many classrooms today–a connection with children–teachers will raise subject matter to an appreciation competing with adolescent drama and distractions from wireless devices.
Richard believes educators have the toughest job in America as they are asked every day to wear many different hats–mom, dad, nurse, counselor, police officer, judge, jury–while delivering curricula often the subject of controversy. To help teachers lighten their load, Richard proposes teachers be given research based, proven, practical strategies and applications they can start implementing immediately – without discarding what is already working in their classrooms.
Understanding that students enter our schools and classrooms with different backgrounds and cultures, Richard points out their cognitive abilities, assets and experiences are just as wide ranging. Sometimes the only thing students have in common is their age! The “one size fits all” approach does not work anymore.
To Richard, the biggest unchallenged assumption by many today about education (especially by politicians) is that children come to school willing and ready to learn. As educators, we know this is not the case. Presently, a generation of kids come to our schools basically unsocialized. Many students are learning behavior from media celebrities. viral videos, social media and each other. The uniformity of parenting in the era of black and white television no longer can be expected.
Richard knows, as educators, we can do little from 4:00 PM until 8:00 AM, but there is much we can do from 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM. Richard is dedicated to helping educators be successful through motivation, inspiration, humor and a common-sense approach to stress management. Most important, his dynamic trainings leave educators of all grades, positions and types of schooling with as many proven, practical strategies as he can. After all, it was an extraordinary teacher and coach who lit the flame of his own calling to teach when Richard was 12 years old. Today, Richard continues the legacy of the enthusiastic, well prepared, caring teachers who have shaped his identity, The words of one of Richard’s former students say it all: “Mr. Dufour cares about his students and what he teaches.”