Possible

Possible

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Anger Management for Children- Part Two: Triggers


This is the second part of three articles.

There is no single explanation why some students feel habitual and recurrent anger, exhibiting more aggressive behaviors than other students show. Some of it might depend on the child’s earlier experiences in life. Students who show a tendency to angry and aggressive behaviors in school seem to be responding to a worldview, their idea of how the world functions, that validates the belief that they are living in a hostile and negative world. If the child has had negative experiences earlier in life, experiences that are now part of the child’s memories, a particular incident may trigger anger associated with the student’s memories and thoughts. For example, if another child accidentally steps on the child, the troubled and anger-prone child will be inclined to perceive the intrusion as a hostile and intentional act because this interpretation matches and validates his or her worldview. Anger becomes an automatic response to everyday events, even when the environmental cues are not there, or even when the environmental cues are contradicting the child’s interpretation of the event. This habitual response can be reinforced by others, including parents, teachers, and peers if they have become used to it, and are expecting angry and hostile reactions from the child all the time.  Every time the child’s angry feelings create a counter-reaction from others, this counter-reaction reinforces the child’s negative worldview, helping the child feel in control of the situation, especially when he or she gets what the anger was all about in the first place. The angry feeling by itself functions as a short-term reinforcement for the child, and once anger and aggressive behaviors are recorded in the child’s mind as a way to control, manipulate, and dominate others and their environment, the anger-prone child will use angry feelings and aggressive behaviors more easily in the future.

Other contributing factors can help in maintaining an anger habit. Among the most common in children, we can mention:

·        Frustration. Anger is almost always based on frustration. When feeling overwhelmed, embarrassed, or ignored anger seems to be the child’s attempt to regain control. Anger-prone students show low frustration tolerance, going “on the offensive” to deal with situations that other children just put up with.

·        Fear. Anger can be based on fear, from fear of losing a privilege to fear of failure in a task or skill, anger is usually about the fear of losing something that feels important to the child. As I said, anger-prone children seem to be always on the offensive; they feel uneasy and sometimes overwhelmed with situations that put them at risk of losing what they value, and they try to hide this apprehension from others by being the ones who attack first.

·        Shame. Anger can spring from the child’s feelings that he has to fight all the time to preserve his dignity and sense of self-worth.

·        Lack of Assertiveness. When the child lacks the ability of assertively speaking for his rights, and does not know how to negotiate to get what he wants, the child may find himself exploding instead.

Certain pre-conditions may also influence angry feelings and aggressive behaviors in children, among them

·        society’s attitude towards aggression and violence (a reaction to watching violent movies, television, and/or sports)

·        need for attention

·        angry and aggressive interactions with a parent or a caretaker

·        a cover-up for feelings of failure

·         group pressure

·         a cover-up for sadness and depression

·        using drugs

·        maintaining group status

·        to avoid closeness

·        revenge or “getting even”

What the child is thinking and how she is feeling at the moment of the event is instrumental in creating anger. If at the moment of the event the child is relaxed and in a positive state, she is less inclined to react angrily to the event. If, on the other hand, the child is already on an aversive or pre-anger state, she will be more susceptible to an angry reaction.

For more on the topic of anger in children…
Understanding the Anger-Prone Student Part One: Models of Anger
To read this article, click here.
Handling Angry Students: Psycho-Educational Strategies that Work
To read this article, click here.
Child Guidance Skills for Teachers: Relaxation Techniques for Angry and Troubled Students
To read this article, click here.
Coping Strategies for Students with Anger Problems
To read this article, click here.
Anger Management for Children: Using Self-Talking to Defuse Angry Feelings
To read this article, click here.
The Therapeutic Classroom: Guided Imagery and Visualizations for Students with Anger Problems
To read this article, click here.
In addition, don’t miss…
What are Coping Skills? Part Two: Social Skills Training and Assertiveness
To read this article, click here.

Of Interest to Teachers...
Essentials of Emotional Communication for Reaching the Unreachable Student: Where Do I Start? What Do I Say? How Do I Do It? To preview this book on Amazon, click here.


A Call to All Teachers:


Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What is an Attention Deficit Problem?

An attention deficit problem is defined as a significant difficulty in focusing and maintaining attention in the classroom. The main symptoms are lack of concentration, difficulty paying attention, unable to focus, difficulty remaining on task, and impulsivity; all behaviors that lead to learning problems, and may lead also to behavior problems in the classroom. There are predominantly two types: the inattentive type or ADD and the hyperactive-impulsive type or ADHD.  Children vary in the range of symptoms they show, and some exhibit a combination of both inattentive types. Attention deficits are more common in boys than in girls.

 Generally, ADD children are easily distracted, and they show difficulty listening and following directions, focusing, sustaining attention, and remaining on task, among others. These children are described by teachers and parents as “spacey” and disorganized, with a strong tendency to misplace their school materials. However, in the classroom, the inattentive type rarely shows behavior problems. The ADHD type, on the other hand, shows a high activity level and impulsive behaviors. This is the child in “constant motion,” often fidgeting with his hands or feet, and struggling to remain seated (constantly roaming around the classroom). ADHD children are easily over stimulated and, on many occasions, socially immature. Because of their struggles in the classroom, children with attention deficits may show also low self-esteem and low frustration tolerance. We need to keep in mind that children have different personalities, skills, talents, and weaknesses. When a child is exhibiting a high number of these problem behaviors, compared with his age-peers, it may be appropriate to test the child for attention deficits.

Techniques for Children with Attention Difficulties



 Helping the Student Having Difficulty Following Directions


A Call to All Teachers:


Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Turning Your Classroom Rules Into Individualized Action Goals

Turning our classroom rules into individualized action goals is a classroom discipline strategy that we can use to manage troubled, anger-prone, and acting-out students. The individualized action goal should be stated in a way that guides the student in taking smaller, manageable steps toward a target behavior, ensuring that the child experiences success in reaching smaller milestones and/or in smaller increments. To individualize a classroom rule, first, select a classroom rule that matches the child’s behavior, and then, translate the rule into an individualized action goal. For example, you can translate a general classroom rule from “Keep your voices low” to the individualized goal, “I keep a low tone of voice.” Make the goal as specific as possible, and write an action plan with steps outlining:

• What the child will do

• How the child will do it (sub-steps and strategies)

• Where the child will do it

• When the plan will start, how often, and for how long

• Consequences for compliance and noncompliance

• How progress toward the goal will be measured

If you want, you can combine the individualized action goal with a behavior contract that both the child and you sign and follow. It is important that you specify in the plan what you will do to help the child reach success (for example, you will use a hand signal to remind the child to lower the volume), and that you discuss strategies that the child can use as reminders (e.g. keeping a note card on his desk with the rule visibly posted). Examples of classroom rules that we can turn into individualized action goals are (from Rief, 1993):

• I pay attention

• I control my temper

• I listen to my teacher

• I keep my hands and my feet to myself

• I raise my hand before talking

• I do my best work

• I sit appropriately on my chair

• I speak politely to others

• I lower my tone of voice

Additional guidelines for setting individualized rules and goals are

1. Give the child a mini-goal for the next (24 hours, two days, or a week). For example, “For the next two days, I will raise my hand before talking. The following consequences for reaching my goal will be in place: (a) penalty: loss of computer time, and (b) reward: three tokens.”

2. If the student does not succeed in reaching the goal, try: (a) modify the goal and try a new path or (b) select a partial goal and work on a smaller, discrete behavior at a time.

3. Set up proximal goals, that is, a target behavior that is challenging but it is not beyond the child’s current capabilities.

Reference

Reif, S.F. (1993). How to reach and teach ADD/ADHD children: Practical techniques, strategies, and interventions for helping children with attention problems and hyperactivity. West Nyack, NY: Center for Applied Research.


A Call to All Teachers:


Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”



Of Interest to Teachers...
Watch Your Language! Ways of Talking and Interacting with Students that Crack the Behavior Code. To preview this book on Amazon, click here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Anger Management for Children- Part One: Models

This is the first of three articles.

Definition of Anger

We can define anger as an emotional state triggered when we feel frustrated. Most specifically, being frustrated means that we want something that we do not have. Anger is a normal feeling that everyone experiences. Together with happiness, fear, and sadness, anger is one of our four basic emotions. Anger levels range from mild (frustration), to moderate (mad), and to severe (rage). We experience anger physiologically (e.g. breathing rate increases, muscles tense), emotionally (as a feeling), and cognitively (i.e. aggressive and/or negative thoughts). We can express anger in an overt way (e.g. cursing, hitting, kicking, or throwing a temper tantrum), a covert way (e.g. resistance and noncompliance), or by turning the feeling inward (e.g. depression). Our angry feelings and actions can target specific individuals, the world in general, or just us. Anger is always a feeling and it is not the same as aggression. Aggression is a behavior, and is only one of the ways in which we can express anger.

 Models of Anger

Although anger is a basic emotion, some children are so engulfed by their intense and recurrent feelings of anger that dealing with these feelings become difficult for them. Children with anger problems have difficulty keeping their anger under control. For a troubled and anger-prone child, anger becomes repetitive and chronic, rather than an isolated event. Anger-prone children show greater frequency, intensity, and/or duration of angry feelings and behaviors. To explain these behaviors, we can use several models. Those models most commonly applied to school age children follow.

• The constitutional model explains anger in terms of the child’s temperament.

• The affective model considers anger a dysfunctional emotion.

• The reinforcement or learning model suggests that other people are reinforcing the child’s anger by giving attention to him/her when he or she is acting-out. Even when it is negative attention, this attention from other individuals strengthens in the anger-prone child the perception that he or she is the one in charge; through anger, children learn to control and manipulate both other people and the environment.

• The social learning model maintains that children learn to react with angry feelings and aggressive behaviors when they observe anger and aggression in others, in particular, when they see the consequences of aggressive behaviors in others. For example, a child who sees another child get what she wants by using direct force (e.g. pushing in line), and without receiving a negative consequence or a reprimand, will be more likely to exhibit an aggressive behavior in similar circumstances. This model of anger derives from Bandura’s more comprehensive social learning model.

• The functional model maintains that anger has a purpose and a goal, that is, anger aims at achieving the goal of removing frustration. According to the functional model, to remove frustration, an angry individual needs to understand what his/her goal is, or what he/she expects to get from the anger. Specifically, an angry person must understand what he wants, whom they want to get it from, and how they intend to get it. According to Fein (1993), anger becomes a problem when its goal is not clear to the angry person.

• The social skills deficit model suggests a deficiency in the child’s ability to solve social problems coupled with limited skills in the number of alternative solutions the student can generate to handle successfully social or interactional problems. For example, the aggressive adolescent generates more physically aggressive solutions, like hitting and fighting, as opposed to verbal assertion solutions such as talking about the conflict. In addition, aggressive children often generate fewer bargaining and compromise solutions, because they are less capable of accurately perceiving the true intention of others (Robinson, Smith, and Miller, 2002).

• The self-management deficit model explains anger as a deficit in the child’s ability to sustain effort to reach a long-term goal, and to find solutions, in particular, when the solution requires focused effort and the circumstances seem adverse to reach the goal.

• The cognitive model maintains that anger is due to distortions in thinking, or misattributions (negative and/or irrational attributions) of the situation. The troubled and anger-prone student has a pattern of thinking similar to the following:

1) The child selectively attends to and maximizes the negative cues, minimizing the positive cues.

2) The child automatically assumes intentionality and blames the other child.

3) The child labels the event as an angry event.

4) The child reacts to the label (angry event) rather than to the real event.

I will elaborate on the cognitive model of anger in the next article (part two).

References

Fein, M. L. (1993). I.A.M.: A Common sense guide to coping with anger. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Robinson, T. R., Smith, S. W., & Miller, M. D. (2002). Effect of a cognitive-behavioral intervention on responses to anger by middle school students with chronic behavior problems. Behavioral Disorders, 27(3), pp. 256-271.

For More on this Topic…

Handling Angry Students: Psycho-Educational Strategies that Work http://www.scribd.com/doc/36855915/Handling-Angry-Students-Psycho-Educational-Strategies-that-Work

Child Guidance Skills for Teachers: Relaxation Techniques for Angry and Troubled Students http://www.scribd.com/doc/36799175/Child-Guidance-Skills-for-Teachers-Relaxation-Techniques-for-Angry-and-Troubled-Students

Coping Strategies for Students with Anger Problem
http://www.scribd.com/doc/52915589/Coping-Strategies-for-Students-with-Anger-Problems

Anger Management for Children: Using Self-Talking to Defuse Angry Feelings http://www.scribd.com/doc/52930623/Anger-Management-for-Children-Using-Self-Talking-to-Defuse-Angry-Feelings

The Therapeutic Classroom: Guided Imagery and Visualizations for Students with Anger Problems http://www.scribd.com/doc/58154762/The-Therapeutic-Classroom-Guided-Imagery-and-Visualizations-for-Students-with-Anger-Problems

Of Interest to Teachers...
Essentials of Emotional Communication for Reaching the Unreachable Student: Where Do I Start? What Do I Say? How Do I Do It? To preview this book on Amazon, click here.


A Call to All Teachers:

Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Classroom Management: 23 Psycho-Educational Tips for Correcting and Redirecting Behavior

1.Do not label the student, e.g., “You are such a messy sloppy!”

2.Disapprove the behavior, not the child. Avoid using messages that refer to the child’s character, for example,

• You are always messing up.
• Can’t you do anything right?
• You seem to enjoy fooling around and acting silly with your friends.
• You never listen!
• You always have an excuse for not bringing your homework.
• You have no respect for anyone.

In these kinds of messages, global and absolutistic words like “always,” “anything,” “never,” and “anyone” imply the idea that the child’s behavior is an inherent trait, like having brown eyes, and it is not going to change.

3.Provide warmth and an accepting atmosphere that communicate your basic acceptance of the child as a person even when you disapprove of the child’s behavior.

4.Use eye contact, say the child’s name, and use pleasant words.

5.Stay cool, do not display emotion, and remain calm and business-like.

6.Stay close to the child (at a desk’s length), avoiding giving reprimands across the room. It is always better to correct the child in private.

7.Begin on a positive note. Before correcting the child, let her know that you like some aspect of her behavior, current or past, or let the child know of something that she is doing right, for example, “Wow, you worked hard to wipe your desk clean. All that you have to do now is to remove these two small spots here,” or “You need help in handling the subtraction step in long division. All the other steps are correct.”

8.Avoid vague statements, for example, “This is sloppily written” or “Be nice to Justin.” Vague language is subject to different interpretations. The child needs to know what he is doing poorly.

9.Avoid using negative directions that tell the student what not to do, for example, “Do not make noises” or “Do not hit other children.”

10.Describe what you want the child to do in positive terms. Use positive wording, that is, telling the child what he should do rather than what not to do. For example, “Raise your hand to talk” instead of “Do not call out the answers!”

11.Use positive direction by guiding the student towards a more appropriate behavior. Give the child an alternative behavior, for example, rather than saying, “Do not color on your desk,” say, “You can color on this paper, not on your desk.”

12.Do not use correction and rewards together. Reward the child and leave it like that. You can correct the behavior later.

13.Use direct statements (e.g., “I need you to keep your voice low”) rather than questions (e.g., “Would you please keep your voice low?”). A question implies that you are giving the student a choice.

14.Do not ask, “Why did you do that?” “Why” questions only lead to an excuse for the misbehavior.

15.To express disapproval for an unacceptable behavior, you can make a statement that point out the effect of the behavior on you, or your feelings about the behavior. Then, provide an acceptable alternative. For example, “Nicki, when you leave your seat without permission, I get distracted. When you return to your seat and raise your hand, I will listen to what you have to say.”

16.Give the student examples of behaviors you would like the child to work on. Give specific examples of what you mean by __________ (e.g. behaving in the line or sitting straight).

Giving Warnings

17.Give only one warning and state the warning only once, or use the three-warnings, then penalty technique.

18.Do not reissue, coerce, or give a different warning.

19.Count aloud to five before administering the consequence.

20.Deliver the warning in as a calm and positive manner as possible.

21.Include in the warning a clear statement about what the child must stop doing, and what will happen (consequence) if the disruptive behavior continues.

22.Do not argue with the student.

23.After the penalty, ask the child what she learned from the mistake and what she can do differently the next time to avoid making the same mistake.


A Call to All Teachers:


Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”


Of Interest to Teachers and School Staff...

All Behavior is Communication: How to Give Feedback, Criticism, and Corrections that Improve Behavior. To preview this book on Amazon, click here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Helping the Unfocused Mind: Teaching Strategies for Students Having Difficulty Getting and Maintaining Attention

As Levine (2002) states, attention is the brain’s manager, including a complicated network of controls that regulate most of the processes involved in learning and behavior. Levine, an authority in brain research and founder of "All Kinds of Minds", adds that attention does not accomplish anything on its own, but rather it helps the brain determine what to do, when, and for how long. Children who struggle paying attention in the classroom, also known as children with short attention span and/or inattentive students, frequently exhibit problem behaviors such as:
•Distracted by background stimuli (irrelevant visual, auditory, and/or tactile stimuli)
•Shifting from one uncompleted task to another task that is also left unfinished
•Losing and/or misplacing the books and materials necessary for completing the task; forgetful
•Do not pay attention to details, and due to this, they make careless mistakes
•Do not seem to listen
•Difficulty organizing tasks (what comes first, next...), i.e. skipping steps and/or failing to follow the right sequence of steps
•Difficulty distinguishing between the relevant aspects of the task and irrelevant aspects

Due to a lack of organization skills, inattentive and unfocused students need help in structuring their school day (in getting organized), including materials, workspace, group dynamics, transitional times, and handling choices (Rief, 1993). When dealing with inattentive and unfocused students, the teacher needs to provide the structure using communication that is clear, descriptive, and that tells students exactly when, how, and for how long they are going to work (remain on task) on the assignment or they need to pay attention (listen). In doing this, the teacher is taking over as the executive or manager, showing and modeling to children how to plan, organize, and complete tasks. Next, I list some guidelines.

Guidelines to Help Students Focus Attention (Written Tasks)

•Before children begin to work on a task, have the class identify and list the steps for completing it, including a time estimate both for each step and for the whole task. You can write the estimates on the chalkboard, so that you prompt students when the time to complete each step is near.
•Write the list of steps on the chalkboard (a key word or a key phrase for each step is enough), and have children write the same list on a notepad or an index card. As students complete each step, they cross it off the list.
•Make the habit of saying, listing, and posting all the steps that are necessary for completing a task or project.
•Provide a timer or stopwatch for children to monitor their work time.
•Give children ample warning when an activity is about to change. For example, you can say, “You have five more minutes of work time left. In five minutes, we move to…”
•Make sure that students know exactly how long they have to work on the task. Set up benchmarks like, “Pages 12 and 13 should be completed by 11:15.”
•Read the directions aloud, and have students follow along, underlining or highlighting the most important information, explanations, key words, and/or steps. In addition, have children write the correct number above each step, i.e. 1, 2, and 3.
•Break a longer task into several smaller and easier tasks. For example, using index cards or a notepad, children write down each smaller step required to complete the assignment. Children work on one index card or step at a time, keeping all other index cards out of sight. As students complete each step, they throw away the card for that step, moving to the next index card.
•Give reduced assignments to your inattentive students, so that they can complete seatwork. For example, the inattentive child completes only five problems of the twenty problems on a page, or completes the odd problems but not the even problems.
•On a chart or an index card, draw a model (e.g. a solved three-digit multiplication problem) that children can follow visually. Color-code each step/place value, and have children compare their finished products with the model shown on the chart. Tell children that their completed problems must look like the model, only the final answer is different. If their work looks different, they know that they changed or skipped a step. Allow students to use colored pencils or fine point markers to solve the problems, so that they too color-code each step or place value. However, make sure that everybody is using the same colors shown on the chart. For example, the first step is always blue, the second step is always green, and the third step is always brown. This color-coding system makes easier for students to pinpoint where their errors are.
•You can reduce the amount of visual material that children need to pay attention to by drawing a circle around or tracing with your finger (framing) the important information on the chart or diagram. Teach children to consistently draw circles around and/or highlight important visual information.
•Cue students by saying, “You need to look at the _____ (e.g. timeline) closely, so that you can find two effects of the civil war.” Repeat the same cue as needed to keep children focused.
•Teach children to frame or highlight the operational symbols in math problems (i.e. addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division).
•Inattentive and unfocused students need successful experiences in completing tasks. This will be easier to accomplish by giving children short and very specific tasks to complete so that initially the time they need to spend on task is short. We also need to be sure that the tasks we give for independent seatwork are challenging but not frustrating to children, that is, with clear directions and a list of steps the child can do the task. Only after success with shorter tasks, we increase gradually the time we expect the child to remain on task.
•Use class rewards for remaining on task and/or for paying attention. Distractible students tend to concentrate better when teachers consistently acknowledge and reward focused attention and on-task behaviors. The literature researched indicates that rewarding one student for paying attention often has the effect of improving other students’ attention skills.
•Help children get and stay organized by using simple strategies like color-coding their notebooks, using notebooks with dividers, using different folders to file their work, using planners, and consistently using daily, weekly, and monthly schedules. Teach students how to follow a schedule.
•When you are handling inattentive and unfocused children, keep your expectations humble and real; one task left without completion should not be a big deal when the child managed to finish two other tasks. The two finished tasks, however, are a big deal; acknowledge the child’s success and reward him or her.
•Encourage neatness but do not penalize sloppiness. Give children a neatness list to follow (children write checks or “yes/no” for each completed item on the list).
•Give children written tasks with built-in checkpoints along the way.
•Use the “5 More Rule,” that is, have the inattentive child commit to work solidly for five minutes or pages, and when the child finishes, praise the child’s success and ask him or her to work solidly for five more minutes or extra pages.
•Tell the child the requirements for completing the task, for example, say, “Your math is finished when you complete all six word problems and I check that all procedures and final answers are correct. Do not start the next task until your peer buddy tells you to go ahead with the next activity.”

Guidelines to Help Students Focus Attention (Oral Tasks)

•Teach your students exactly how to pay attention, for example, say, “Look at me when I talk” and “Watch my face when I speak.” Even the behavior of consistently looking at you when you speak and making eye contact may have to be rewarded.
•Tell students in advance for how long they will have to concentrate, for example, “We will be working on _____ from 10:20 to 10:40.”
•Cue students to listen by saying, “You will need to listen closely for _____ (e.g. two important cities or one important person).” Repeat the same cue as needed to keep students on track.
•Explicitly tell children what to listen for, for example, “This information is important to know.” Alternatively, you can say, “Listening now. This is important…”
•Emphasize key oral information in the lesson by changing the pitch of your voice. Make students aware that, when they listen attentively, they will be able to notice how your voice changes when you say a key word or a key phrase.
•To get children’s attention, vary the tone of your voice during your lesson, for example, louder, softer, faster, slower, and/or whispering.
•Use voice control, that is, look at the inattentive and unfocused student in the eye, lower the tone of your voice, and drop the pitch to get the child’s attention. Under no circumstances you should scream or yell to get a student’s attention. (Never works!)
•Use the "whispering technique". When you are about to give important information, say, “What you are going to hear is important, and for that reason, I am going to whisper to you. Only if you are very attentive and listening carefully, you will be able to hear what I am going to say. Ready to listen? On one… 3… 2… 1…”
•Use countdowns (delivered in a soft and measured voice) and prompts like, “Ready, Set, Now…” to prepare children to listen.
•Use proximity control, for example, stand next to the inattentive student and touch the child on the shoulder.
•Use private gestures and gestures for the whole class, for example, go over to the child (proximity control), look directly into the child’s eyes, and tap your chin three times to indicate that you want her to focus on the lesson. For the whole class, you can tap your ear three times to indicate that you want the class to listen. Discuss with children in advance the meaning of the gestures.
•To keep children engaged in the oral lesson, make your lesson shorter and interactive. Every three-to-five minutes, stop to check students’ comprehension, to ask children to expand or elaborate on the information, or to give their opinion.
• Another strategy is to split your lecture into four or five shorter segments where you have children switching from listening to writing and back to listening, or they do different five-to-ten minutes activities. For example, you can divide a 40 minutes lecture the following way:

 Five Minutes: mini-lecture (first part)
 Ten Minutes: filling-in the outline and checking answers
 Five Minutes: mini-lecture (second part)
 Ten Minutes: finishing the outline and checking answers
 Ten Minutes: making a drawing or sketch that represents the main points in the lesson and sharing their drawings

•Refocus the students’ attention. Anticipate those moments in the lesson where the children’s focus and attention may drop and plan for activities that refocus, for example, summarizing, finding main ideas, completing a timeline, or drawing/sketching.
• Use a deck of index cards with each student’s name on it. Randomly, pick a card from the deck to call on students. Replace the card back in the deck each time.
•Reinforce visually the information that you are presenting orally. For example, on the chalkboard, write key words, key phrases, and/or page numbers. Always include visual references in your oral lessons, for example, pictures, charts, graphs, diagrams, or flow charts.
•Reinforce the important information in your oral lesson using advance organizers, for example, Venn diagrams, timelines, main idea and details diagrams, or cause and effect charts.
•Prepare outlines that you fill partially for children to complete as they listen to the lesson.
•Have the inattentive student repeat or rephrase your directions so that you can check if the child understands.
•Ask for specifics, for example, “Will we do problems three and five?” “No.” “Why not?” “We are going to do only the even numbers.”
•When you give instructions, avoid unnecessary talking; excessive verbalizations will only confuse the child with limited attention and concentration. Provide clear, descriptive (how to) instructions, indicating only the relevant aspects of the activity.
•Pay attention to children when children are paying attention; acknowledge it and reward the class. Focus your behavior management on praise and encouragement rather than giving negative attention to negative behavior.

To finish reading this article click here.


A Call to All Teachers:


Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”


Of Interest to Teachers...
Watch Your Language! Ways of Talking and Interacting with Students that Crack the Behavior Code. To preview this book on Amazon, click here.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Classroom Management of Disruptive Behavior: 18 Psycho-Educational Principles

Psycho-educational or therapeutic teachers believe that behavioral change is primarily a teaching and learning process. To be effective and long-term, behavior change strategies must include cognitive (thinking), affective (feelings), and behavioral aspects. We also believe that we all have the choice of behavioral change, and that all students, including students that exhibit habitually disruptive behaviors in the classroom, can learn new and more positive ways of behaving. In the psycho-educational classroom, educating disruptive children about the motivation behind their behavior plays a vital role. Once children understand that they choose their behavior, they also understand that they can change their behavior. Psycho-educational teachers believe that strengthening children’s coping and social problem solving skills is therapeutic. The psycho-educational or therapeutic model is one of social problem solving and socio-emotional growth rather than disciplining and punishment.

When teachers consistently and systematically follow psycho-educational principles, we can influence the direction of any exchange with a student to move the child away from confrontation, non-compliance, and disruptive behaviors and toward restoring a climate of cooperation and learning in the classroom. The teacher-student relationship is the glue that binds any behavior management intervention to a successful outcome. Simply put, teachers’ positive and supportive interactions with students are our most powerful behavior change tool. Through rapport, benign confrontation, optimistic messages and high expectations, psycho-educational teachers defuse disruptive behaviors, generating positive behavioral responses in students.

Psycho-Educational Principles

1.One size does not fit all. The process of behavioral change must be sensitive to and acknowledge the unique socio-emotional needs of the disruptive student.

2.Relationships with students are dependent on language. For therapeutic and growth promoting relationships, we need to use positive language.

3.Positive messages and high expectations generate positive emotional and behavioral responses. Critical and negative messages generate negative behavioral responses.

4.By changing our messages and vocabulary from critical to supportive and positive, we shape children’s behavior and get better class control.

5.We can reduce disruptive behaviors by communicating positive expectations. What we expect influences what we get.

6.Approaching classroom situations differently can change students’ behavior and the classroom atmosphere.

7.Responding differently to disruptive behaviors in the classroom empowers the teacher. Our greatest power is the power to choose how we are going to react to our students’ disruptive behaviors. We can treat difficult and disruptive behaviors as a challenge or as a threat.

8.Psycho-educational teachers see students’ disruptive behaviors as an opportunity to help children develop more productive and effective ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.

9.The disruptive student does his behavior, but he is not his behavior. Disruptive behaviors are dysfunctional behaviors, not a fixed personality characteristic. In other words, the behavior is the problem; the child is not the problem.

10.Disruptive behaviors are actions capable of change.

11.Positive and therapeutic relationships with adults shape social roles, problem solving skills, and decision-making.

12. Some rapport with children arises naturally, some we have to create.

13.Teachers can enhance children’s socio-emotional growth. Students that exhibit disruptive behaviors can grow socio-emotionally and can improve themselves.

14.We can teach self-control and self-management of behavior. In the psycho-educational classroom, the long-term goal of discipline is to develop self-awareness, self-direction, and self-control.

15.Students engage in fewer disruptive behaviors when they believe that they have the skills to control (self-manage) their behavior.

16.Students are empowered in behavioral change and self-control when they believe that their effort makes a difference.

17.Self-management of behavior stems from the child’s personal understanding and decision-making skills, rather than being founded in external controls and reinforcement.

18.Students have the resources they need to improve their behaviors. The psycho-educational teacher’s role is to notice those resources and to ally with the child in the process of behavioral change.


A Call to All Teachers:


Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”


Of Interest to Teachers and School Staff...

Essentials of Emotional Communication for Reaching the Unreachable Student: Where Do I Start? What Do I Say? How Do I Do It? To Previev this book on Amazon, click here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Get Solutions for Emotionally Troubled and Behaviorally Disordered Students: Using Self-Management Techniques with Social Problem-Solving

Teachers can use self-instruction techniques to teach children an organized approach to solve social problems like settling arguments and fighting; also to cope effectively with angry feelings and with feelings of frustration. To solve the problem, we can train the child to ask, “What am I supposed to do?” and then, the child follows these steps:
  1. Look at all the possibilities or look at all the different answers so you can find the best possible solution.
  2. Focus in. Concentrate or think hard about just the problem you are working on right now. Do not look or think about anything else.
  3. After you study all the different choices, pick an answer.
  4. Check out your answer. If you got it right, tell yourself you did a good job. If you did not get it right, you do not have to put yourself down. Just remind yourself to be more careful or to go more slowly on the next try. (Kendall and Braswell, 1985)
Teach students to use self-questioning. Questions help in organizing the steps needed to solve the problem. For example:
  1. What is my problem? Alternatively, what am I supposed to do?
  2. How can I do it? Alternatively, what is my plan?
  3. Am I using my plan?
  4. How did I do? (Bash and Camp, 1980)
Teach students to combine self-questions and self-statements with problem-solving. Children can use an outline similar to this:
  1. What is my problem?
a)      Identify the problem
  1. What am I supposed to do now?
a)      Look at all the possibilities
b)      Pick an answer
  1. How can I do it?
a)      Plan
  1. How am I doing?
a)      Check
  1. Did it work?
a)      (Yes) Say, “I did a good job.”
b)      (No) Say, “Things will work out. Let me try something else.”
Kendall and Braswell (1985) also outlined the content of most self-instruction problem-solving training programs for impulsive children. Students learn to generate self-statements related to five phases:
  1. Problem definition. The impulsive child uses self-statements that help identify the problem and its relevant features.
  2. Problem approach. The child uses self-statements that define a strategy for dealing with the problem.
  3. Focusing of attention. The student reminds himself to concentrate on the problem and on the strategies that he will use to solve the problem.
  4. Choosing an answer (strategy). The child uses self-instruction (self-talking) to narrow the problem-solving process to one particular strategy.
  5. Because of the problem-solving actions completed, the child uses either self-reinforcing statements or coping statements.
a)      Self-reinforcing. The child recognizes success in addressing the problem, for example, saying, “I did a good job.”
b)      The student uses coping statements to address constructively any failure to deal with the problem or situation; also, to remind himself what to do when confronting a similar problem the next time. For example, saying, “Okay, that did not go well. Next time, I’ll remember to use my strategies.”
Meichenbaum and Goodman (1971) listed the steps to teach impulsive children to talk to themselves. These steps are still widely used in today’s classrooms, and we can use them to train impulsive children in completing academic tasks (e.g. solving long division or writing an essay) as well as in handling social problems and conflict.
  1. Cognitive modeling. The coach performs the task while verbalizing aloud.
  2. Overt, general guidance. The child performs the same task while self-instructing aloud.
  3. Faded, overt self-guidance. The child performs the task while whispering self-instructions.
  4. Covert self-instruction. The child performs the task while using private speech (silently) to give self-direction.
The content of the child’s verbalizations may include:
  • Questions about the characteristics and demands of the task
  • Answers to the questions focusing on planning
  • Self-statements that help the student guide own behavior in how to complete the task (steps)
  • Self-reinforcing statements

References

Bash, M. A. S., & Camp, B. W. (1980). Teacher training in the think aloud classroom program. In G. Cartledge, & J. F. Milburn (Eds.). Teaching social skills to children: Innovative approaches (pp.143-178). Elmsford, NY: Pengamon Press.
Kendall, P. C., & Braswell, L. (1985). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for impulsive children. New York: Guilford.
Meichenbaum, D. H., & Goodman, J. (1971). Training impulsive children to talk to themselves. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 77, pp. 115-126.

****A Note from Carmen****

For detailed information in self-management procedures and in problem-solving procedures, you can read my blog postings:
What are Coping Skills? Part Two: Social Skills Training and Assertiveness
What are Coping Skills? Part Three: Social Problem Solving
What are Coping Skills? Part Four: Teaching Children How to Self-Manage Behavior

Related Articles…

Think Positive to Stay Positive: Teaching Children the Benefits of Using Positive Self-Sentences
Classroom Management: Using a Problem-Solving Sheet to Settle Conflict between Students (Reproducible)
Anger Management for Children: Using Self-Talking to Defuse Angry Feelings
http://www.scribd.com/doc/52930623/Anger-Management-for-Children-Using-Self-Talking-to-Defuse-Angry-Feelings


A Call to All Teachers:


Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”

Of Interest to Teachers and School Staff...
Keeping the Peace: Managing Students in Conflict Using the Social Problem-Solving Approach. To preview this book on Amazon, click here.