Saturday, March 24, 2012

Establishing & Maintaining Positive Relationships and Classroom Management, Part 4

So, we've touched on how to manage early stage misbehaviors in our series, but what about those students who intentionally, or chronically, break the rules?

Correcting Intentional Rule Violations

Intentional rule violations are deliberate misbehaviors that are serving a function for the student. It occurs despite the explicitly conveyed and modeled expected behaviors, and is not born out of ignorance of the expectations. This correlates to PBIS Tier II supports, suggesting that the middle 15% of students who do not respond to Tier I initiatives will respond to these. 

These consequences must be implemented consistently and without emotion. It is imperative that adults do not leave themselves open to inviting students to frustrate, anger, or hurt them, which only increases the reinforcement of inappropriate behaviors from students who seek a sense of power or control. 

Corrective consequences are meant to positively change a student's behavior, not inflict misery or pain. They must fit the severity and frequency of the intentional misbehavior--mild enough that you are able to and comfortable enough to implement it every time a student exhibits the behavior. There is no evidence to suggest that punitive measures such as writing a statement 100x, putting gum on the end of your nose, etc, have any positive impact on effecting change in student behavior. All they really do is erode a relationship with a student, foster creative ways for them to avoid or complete the task with no investment in changing the behavior, and perpetuate the "one-upping" escalation that makes it student vs. teacher.

Plan to interact with the student briefly at the time of the misbehavior without arguing--simply state the rule and the corrective response, no explaining or justifying. If the student needs to discuss this with you, they are free to make an appointment to see you at a time that does not disrupt teaching. Again, the overarching concept is NOT to transfer power to the misbehaving student.

Responding to Chronic Misbehavior

Chronic misbehavior is often the "habitualization" of intentional misbehavior. These students are the 5% that fall at PBIS Tier III and do not respond to strategies implemented in Tier I or II. Once a behavior becomes chronic, intervention is necessary to break the pattern of misbehavior. Without proactive planning, adults run the very real risk of reacting to misbehavior in ways that reinforce it, rather than decrease it. 

Corrective consequences at this level are only effective if they reduce the occurrence of the misbehavior in the long-term. The response to the behavior should not be merely to resolve the problem at the time, but to resolve it for the future. Thus, many corrective actions for chronic misbehavior are most effective when they address the underlying causes of the behavior. 

By the time a behavior becomes chronic, there is often a power struggle between the adult and student. Power struggles happen because the student wants to "save face" with their peers and adults frequently do not recognize the onset of the struggle, nor how to diffuse it. 

Diffusing a Power Struggle

  • Deliver the message to the student quietly and privately, say "thanks," and walk away. There is no power struggle if the teacher is not there. The student may mumble under their breath--keep moving and get back to teaching. 
  • Remain calm, collected, and appropriate.
  • Employ LAAD: 
    • listen (pay attention to what the student says) 
    • acknowledge (let the student know you heard them)
    • agree (let the student know that what they are saying might be or is true--agreeing with someone is a tried-and-true tactic to diffuse most people!)
    • defer (discuss at a later time)
Note: these resources are not mine, but that of my district's professional development dept.

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