Teaching with Love and Logic, by Jim Fay and David Funk is part of the love and logic philosophy (learn more at loveandlogic.com), they believe that to get the best out of children we need to teach and discipline out of love, understanding, and compassion.
The book is an easy read with concrete examples of how to use this philosophy in a classroom at any grade level. One thing that I really like about this book, is that the authors are asking the readers to try what works for them and not to overturn everything that has worked in the past. They are not out to make every teacher feel badly about everything they have ever done to their students, rather they are inviting the teacher who wants the best results out of students, and is not yet seeing them, to try some ideas that have worked for others.
I agree that not every rule needs to be written out to the letter, and I agree that when we do that students will find loop-holes and tell us that we have been unfair when disciplinary action is required on something not clearly and fully laid out. I am also very freed by the idea that I do not need to apply consequences the moment I am offended. In fact according to the authors it can be more effective to wait until you have the time to deal with a consequence, because in the meantime the student will worry about what is coming and will be seeking a way to make it better, they will also have an opportunity to cool off so that you are not trying to consequence someone who is ready at the moment they did something wrong to fight over it.
I am also taken by the idea of empathy. Whenever there is a consequence I can say to the child, “I am sorry that this is happening to you” and they will learn that I am not just out to fight with them, but I am actually hoping they will not have to suffer.
What I have applied most of all to my regular life is the plan to give choices with more than one option that I like. I have often stopped myself from getting angry and having a fight by asking myself what options I can allow here. For example, “you may change into a Pull-Up, or you may choose not to listen to a story tonight. The choice is yours” in this example he chose not to change and he was very upset not to have a story. I needed only to tell him how I would live my life, and the next time we had a question about this, he chose to put on a Pull-Up.
I recommend this book to any teacher who is looking for the freedom to teach students who want to be taught, I will keep it in my parent library and I expect to refer to it myself from time-to-time.