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New technique--weird results
Old 10-21-2005, 08:41 PM
 
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This morning I had a conference with my VP about classroom management, and he recommended the technique where you don't criticize any student behavior, but instead vehemently praise students who are doing the right thing in the problem student's vicinity.

I tried it for the morning. It was exhausting, but at least I was issuing no detentions. It's not terribly natural to me, since I tend to be a little dry and sarcastic by nature, and I think I sound fake, or overwrought, being enthused about ordinary behavior, but I really, really tried. (Think of Professor Snape, after he's been through sensitivity training.) The results were mixed, and kind of interesting.

1. Its main drawback is that it does NOT stop classroom chatter, or make it easier to quiet the class.

2. Its main selling point is that it worked REALLY well with two of my biggest problem kids. They got the idea quickly, and worked to get positive attention. Other than that, results okay, but these two are SUCH a problem, that it may be worth it just for them. Also, I think the class felt good when we wrapped and no one had detention for a change.

3. This is the weird point. One of my problem kids did NOT get the idea quickly, or wouldn't go for it. Deprived of his normal flow of negative attention, he got increasingly agitated. He picked fights with the kid in the next seat. "Ms. Green! Did you see that? He's always tryin' to start something!" When that didn't work, he talked loudly to other kids. When that didn't work, he began to hang backward out of his seat, and roll his eyes back while I was teaching. (At this point my paraprofessional, who had come in a little late and missed the key points of what we were doing, tried to intervene.)

When THAT didn't work, he began an odd thing where he rapidly shook/vibrated his head back and forth and flapped his arms. At this point I began to get faintly worried, but continued bravely on, although I didn't quite have the heart to say 'Kevin, how great that you're sitting at your table without pretending to have an epileptic fit when other people at your table are doing so!" to the kid next to him.

Getting slightly desperate after a few rounds of the head-shaking thing, he caught my eye and said, in not at all a snide or hostile way, "Did you see my head shaking?"

I realize with some amazement that I have reduced this kid to checking to make sure I realized he was misbehaving.

I have no idea what's going to happen on Monday, or how long any of us can keep this up. I think I may be doing the technique wrong, or possibly just not getting some key parts of it...but...heck...it's helping, I think.


 

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It Does Work
Old 10-21-2005, 11:43 PM
 
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Hi~

I use this technique often in my classroom~praising the students who ARE doing what they should be doing while a few aren't in the hopes that they will catch on.

While going to school I worked at a residential treatment facility for children with severe emotional and behavioral problems. I attended several workshops on behavior management and dealing with difficult children (we served boys and girls ages 6-17). They had this 80/20 philosophy. 80% of interactions with students should be positive, while the other 20% could be acknowledging and addressing behavior issues (except in some extreme cases).

Trust me, it works! This was my experience...if students (like your one having an "epileptic siezure") see that you are NOT going to give them negative attention for their negative behavior, it will most likely eventually stop. Why do they act out in class? Typically they want attention from the teacher and other students.

This is what I would do...when you see that student do something that is asked of him or is behaving appropriately, acknowledge that immediately. You don't have to go overboard and gush the praises, but make a point of giving him that positive attention.

Last year I had a student (girl) who would do anything and everything to get attention, usually negatively. One day I decided I was going to completely ignore her behaviors even if it drove me mad. The next morning my class was sitting at their tables and beginning their work. She was itching her legs, arms, and head like crazy. She was also making these noises. I completely ignored her although I wanted to shout "STOP DOING THAT!" from across the room. One student came over to me and told me about her, and all I did was smile (through clenched teeth!). Eventually she stopped, came up to me, and told me that her legs and arms itched (dry skin...not lice). I said, "Well, I've got just the thing to help you! Lotion!" Then I said, "I'm glad to see that you came to me and told me your legs and arms itched. That way I was able to help you."

So look at the bright side...you didn't give any detentions Remember if this is something you don't usually do, then your kids aren't used to it, and they probably won't know how to react. My advice is to keep going with it and see what happens.

BTW, I've been in classrooms where the teacher is negative, negative, negative! What they say AND their tone. To me it's like nails on a chalkboard. Can you imagine how it is for the students that sit in there day after day?

Good luck
 
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Words to say
Old 10-22-2005, 01:31 AM
 
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I benefitted from this post. I think I am less positive than I think and need to make an effort to say more positive acknowledgments to students who are following the rules. I am ridiculously affected by reading too many ideas and especially on the theory of not saying "good job" because it is counter productive. (Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards) I try to say, "I'm noticing how you are following the rules, Emily, etc.. but need more examples of actual phrases, what to say.

If I made a list, I would hang it near me so I could deliberately say those phrases to whoever deserved it, throughout the day. Make sense?

Thanks for any ideas.

Jen
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results--wow
Old 10-22-2005, 07:35 AM
 
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can you even believe you have that much power over your "epileptic" boy? wow!!!

i say keep trying it--i bet it won't be too long before he tires of not getting that negative attention! at the same time, work your butt off watching/waiting for him to do that 1 teeny appropriate thing so you can pounce on it and praise him!

let us know how it goes next week.
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new method
Old 10-23-2005, 07:58 PM
 
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This information is great. I am just wondering what happens in a classroom where there are several who constantly blurt out, draw undue attention to themselves, and some who are bullies? How does the rest of the class respond to their increasingly outragous behavior in an attempt to gain the negative attention? I tried somehing along these lines a couple of years ago and am now reminded of it. You ask a question, and rather than say yes or no, you continue around the room as if you are taking a survey to draw out the kids who don't usually participate in class. Once everyone has had a chance to respond you give the correct answer. It did seem to work, but like this technique it felt artificial at first until we all got used to it.


 
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this has been helpful - thanks
Old 10-25-2005, 03:15 PM
 
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Like many of you who responded to this post, I am a 2nd year teacher and had the best class last year. This year I have an abundance of problems in my classroom. My worst student has finally straightened up his act but I still have two who constantly disrupt the classroom. I have about 5 or 6 different behavior plans (individual and whole class) going in my classroom and nothing seems to work. I had the worst day today and hoping to find some advice online. I have always praised positive behavior but lately have found myself to be the wicked witch of the west. I am going to try to ignore the inappropriate behaviors tomorrow to see if that works because you're right nobody benefits from constant negative behavior. I know it will drive me crazy but reading through all of your posts made me realize that it's definitely worth a try. Thanks for advice!!!

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Ahh always the rule breaker
Old 11-06-2005, 06:50 PM
 
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Then you have the kiddo that doesn't care about consequences and loves to go to the detention room. I hate taking recess as they only have one 20 min. break and if I keep them then I get punished too as I have to stay with them. Whaaaa!!! Then there is the kid that when ignored will start hurting the other students or knocking furniture over. I really hate 1st/2nd grade right now. I came from a middle school background and these little guys are killing me. I have 6 boys out of 20 who destroy the classroom and teaching time everyday until I send them to detention and then they get sent home because their behavior is soooo bad.
I started tickets for "caught being good" and on Friday I draw 10 names from the can and they get to choose from the treasure chest. I do this at the end of the day so they put it right in their backpacks and don't play with the little Oriental toys in class. That works ok and then I have the people pleaser. I have little plastic people and each time I start to count backwards from 5 the kids have to get into their seats and get quiet. Whatever number I am on when this is accomplished is the number of people they get in the jar. When the class reaches 25 people we have a people pleaser treat. They choose from fruit roll-ups/gushers/100% juice/popcorn. Something like that. On the next day of school I bring in the treat earned. they know just because someone didn't do right doesn't take their treat away. It is a class effort. This works the best.
Our school uses the card system and most don't like their card flipped. I have 4 colors and when they get to the last color RED they must call their parent themselves and talk to them right then and there in front of me and then I talk to them. They get a detention for whatever time limit I place on them. Still the 6 don't get it. One started meds and instead of bouncing off the walls all day he became angry and tipped his desk over. Joy. Most of the time I do have good class and have had compliments from visitors. I was too easy on the consequences because I didn't want to send these little ones out of the room and miss work they can't make up. NOW, they are gone at the first sign of trouble and I have taught more in the last week then the whole year.
 
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A Good Laugh
Old 12-29-2005, 11:50 AM
 
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I got a good chuckle from these posts.

Students these days need lots and lots of attention. Some want whatever kind they can get. So pay extra attention to those students, and say things like: "Oh, I'm so glad you got to do such-and-such today." Hype special participations like in a music program. And when they are unbelievable, just tell them you'd rather them join the class than have to sit out, smiling at them all the while.

You know those improvement things we fill out at the beginning of the year? One year I worked on taking the negative out of comments to the students, which is pretty much all the "n" words; don't, not, never...Instead of "Sally, don't talk," rephrase to a "Sally, we need to be quiet in the hall."
Every bit helps in the big picture.
 

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