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Loveslabs 05-12-2019 06:52 AM

Positive Comments make things worse
I have taught 2nd grade for over 25 years. My school is really pushing PBIS and restorative justice. Our behavior coach wants us to do away with consequences. He feels that we are there to teach them right from wrong and we should never punish children. Instead we should encourage them with praise and reteach whatever the child is struggling with behavior wise.

I agree to a point, however I think children need to learn there are consequences for poor choices. Plus, any reteaching of behavior has to come from instructional time because we arenít allowed to take away recess or lunch or give detentions. We are in danger of being taken over by the state because our test scores are so low, so we canít really stand to lose instructional time. We have no extra bodies in the building to help so when there is a major problem there is nobody to reteach the behavior or to keep things moving academically in our room.

I had two hot messes in my room this year. One is emotionally disturbed and was finally removed from my room after 30 weeks of school. This child would just scream and scream for no obvious reason. The coach told me I should have created a better relationship with the child and then the child would have stopped screaming. :confused:

The second child had many issues and what worked one day wouldnít work the next day. If you praised this child or thanked her (privately or in front of the class) for making good choices she would lose it and her behavior would escalate. Often she would start hitting others or saying cruel things to others.
When I asked my behavior coach the best way to deal with this he told me to build a better relationship with the child. :rolleyes:

So, my question is....How do you handle the child that canít take any praise or acknowledgement of good behavior? This is a child that also seems to like consequences. By that I mean she seems to like knowing Iím going to follow through if she doesnít make good choices. For example, she will remind me at recess time that she has lost 5 minutes of recess. Personally I think it makes her feel safe when I enforce consequences.

70Primrose 05-12-2019 07:12 AM

Fire the coach
That is such BS! We have these children more than their parents and at times we need to be able to discipline them and set boundaries. I believe in Love and Logic in the classroom. Children need those boundaries many push and push to find them. I hate these stupid new techniques, they donít work. As for the one that wonít take the positive reinforcements, donít give them. I had one like that. He did not want a relationship either! My instructional coach that was a mom also told me to just notice things with him, ďI notice you got your name on your paper.Ē then walk away. He was never pleasant, but it helped keep the tantrums down. He wanted my attention, but sabotaged any good he did. Is the whole district on board with this? If not go to the district and tell them you want to do Love and Logic.

Haley23 05-12-2019 08:16 AM

I worked in a school like that once. I had to just do my best to enforce my own consequences in my classroom. I'd often plan a more "fun" activity for the last few minutes of a lesson (typically some sort of academic game) and let students who did well participate, and students who didn't had to write about what they'd do differently next time. It was really hard to not have those "big ticket items" to take away though, like recess, field trips, special events, etc.

My admin only wanted us to call home for behaviors. That was effective almost none of the time. The parents either didn't see the behavior as a problem, or had the same issues at home and either couldn't or wouldn't handle them.

I've found that kids with ODD do not respond to praise, but do respond to consequences. I had a kid in my after school program this year that I was super nervous about because he needs a lot of support from counselor/psych/paras all day long. The kid has done absolutely fine with me, because there are actually consequences in the after school program (they get kicked out after three incidents). At the beginning he asked a lot about what the boundaries were and what would constitute a "strike."

For your student, I would stop the praise and enforce boundaries as much as you can within your own room. You have to be close to the end of the year, right?

ConnieWI 05-12-2019 04:01 PM

If you really study PBIS, it is not all about the positives. There are consequences for poor choices.

I would begin by doing some research on PBIS. Make copies of the info you find on consequences. Highlight what you want your behavior coach to read. Then, when no one is around, stick it into his/her mailbox. When he/she begins to spout only the line that only positive incentives and building relationships are the district line, disagree and point out that consequences are also part of PBIS.

Good luck...

Keltikmom 05-12-2019 04:26 PM

I like Connieís idea. Before I retired, we were just in the early stages of investigating PBIS. From day one I felt we werenít getting the full picture. No way does any group benefit solely from ďjust positive statements.Ē Or no consequences.

And I call call complete BS on this business of ďits your fault because you donít have a good relation with the child.Ē That is such horse puckey. I built great relationships with my most troublesome students and it included establishing boundaries and when to draw a line in the sand.

MaineSub 05-13-2019 04:00 AM

The problem is...
The problem with most of these "programs" isn't the program or the concept--it's what (however well-meaning) people do to them.

These are not zero-sum games. While I totally agree and support the idea of increasing positive interactions in the classroom, classrooms should also reflect to some degree of the realities of life and the world. In the real world consequences do exist. It's not likely that the IRS will simply make positive statements to you if you fail to file your taxes. You don't get a sticker on your behavior chart when you file your taxes--they don't even send a thank you note.

I also believe in giving kids choices but that assumes they have at least a modicum of decision-making skills. If we aren't teaching decision-making and critical thinking skills, giving the student choices is a lousy teaching technique because we're actually teaching the wrong lesson. One of the often omitted lessons in schools today is some "rights" have to be earned.


How do you handle the child that canít take any praise or acknowledgment of good behavior?
(This is not a criticism because I think the question actually suggests the OP knows the answer. The challenge is to make the answer work in a system that is often broken.) I think it's past time we remember that we are teaching individual kids (humans) and not simply adapting and following programs developed by some theorist. Some kids need and want consequences... actually, all do. They are just little people who are becoming adults. Some adults obey the speed limit to avoid a ticket. Some adults obey the speed limit because they think it's the right thing to do. I'm not sure it much matters why someone does the right thing as long as they do it.

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