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  #41  
Old 05-02-2012, 11:18 PM
Loomistrout Loomistrout is offline
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Originally Posted by Bored of Ed View Post
... I disagree with the part about how backtalk will cease if the teacher doesn't fuel it. That probably works for typical kids, but these are kids with social and behavior problems. They don't have any internal brakes. ...
Are you saying the only classrooms with social and behavior problems are Sp. Ed.? Jones didn't create skill of shutting up when provoked. He got it from observing teachers at all grade levels and all subjects. One observation ground was a continuation high school where the worst of the worst were sent. These kids were at the top of the food chain when it comes to behavior, kicked out of regular ed.

But you are correct. There is no guarantee any technique will work with all students. Out of context, without other parts of structure in place and lack of real training there is a high probability for any teacher to "give it a try" and fail. An example:

I was approached by a colleague who had "heard" about Fred Jones. She had an "unruly" (her word) class with several out-of-control (her word again) boys. She wanted to know if I knew of any "techniques" which might help. Trying to be helpful (later realizing my mistake) I gave her the short version of Limit Setting (precursor to backtalk). At recess I noticed her line as she was trying to use "body language" with the boys. They were pushing, shoving and arguing. She got close and stood. I counted to five. At five I guess she couldn't take it any more, grabbed one boy by the shoulder, spun him around and snapped at the other two to "Turn around and keep your hands to yourself!" As she stomped away the boys were noted giggling and laughing. Later that day she stopped in the hall to say, "You know, what you told me about that Fred Jones' stuff just doesn't work with these kids."

The next day I noticed her line with the same three boys at the back doing their thing. She was not at her line yet, held up at the office (I think). Not convinced LS would not work I decided to take a try. I walked slowly towards the boys and squared my toes and shoulders as I stood about a foot away. I put my hands behind my back and just watched. At first the boys ignored me, kept playing. When I got to 14 seconds (I was counting) one of the boys turned and said "What do you want?" I said nothing. Kept watching. At 17 seconds one boy tapped the other boy on the shoulder and pointed for him to turn around. The boy gave a last glance at me, turned and put his arms at his side. The boy behind did same. I waiting until 25 seconds, turned, took two steps and turned back to face the boys again, making sure to square my toes and shoulders. The boys were looking back at me as if to say, "Okay, we get the message."

How long did it take me to get Limit Setting down to where it worked almost every time? About a year. And that was with after school practice sessions once a week, a group of teachers role-playing behavior problems encountered in class and tweaking skills. It is too simplistic to just read TFT and expect to perform, flawlessly, the nuances and details of Limit Setting no more than reading about the golf swing will transfer to perfect golf on the course. You mentioned "sitting for 20 minutes" and nothing happening except more backtalk. Sitting may work after the class has stopped testing and structure is in place. If you can, try standing as much as possible.
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  #42  
Old 05-02-2012, 11:24 PM
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Bored of Ed Bored of Ed is offline
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Ah, hope! Will continue to work on the body language and give myself time to grow it. And hope G-d will forgive me for taking so long to reach these kids...

(and I know there are kids with problems in general ed, too - hey, my kids ARE in general ed for the other 5 periods of the day - but there IS a difference between a regular kid with a sassy attitude and a kid whose ADHD meds are wearing off and CANNOT put the brakes on his motor mouth. Or the kid who has zero social awareness and will neither notice or care that the class has gone silent all around him - poor guy, I'm the least of his problems. Good thing he's not in that 7th grade.)
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  #43  
Old 05-31-2012, 10:26 PM
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Bored of Ed Bored of Ed is offline
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Just wanted to update that I tried implementing some of the suggestions here and I really have seen some improvement! It's actually quite empowering. Of course I'm still FAR from the classroom I envision but it was definitely worth the try.

Thing with the "look" and body language (including the silences, et al), I think it's worn off. I'm doing the same thing and it isn't working anymore. For maybe a week or so I think it got their attention, they seemed a little nervous, like what does she mean by that? But now they're back to ignoring me. Not half as bad as before for some of the kids, but one of them has gotten worse. I think something's going on with him because I've heard from other teachers too that he's acting up lately, but I just don't know how to deal with him anymore!!! I give him the serious look and don't say anything, and he keeps spouting his garbage. This went on for THIRTY minutes yesterday while his classmates were telling him to give it up already because it was just not amusing. I threatened to call home. No help. I made good on the threat. Possible slight improvement but certainly hasn't stopped the backtalk and disruptions. I have called in the principal enough times, it doesn't help and just embarrasses me. Sigh.

Two weeks left, in which these jokers have to get prepared for final exams. Almighty.... I hope this is not what burnout feels like.
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  #44  
Old 05-31-2012, 11:17 PM
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Special-t Special-t is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bored of Ed View Post
So anyway, people with positive optimism here, pretty please, any advice on where/how to start making a difference in May? I feel so overwhelmingly deep in a rut here...
I'm making some late changes. My style has been too laid back in some areas. On the bright side, I have strong rapport with my students (9th-12th). But I'm not structured enough, especially for the 9thies. So ... Instead of letting things further crumble, I made an announcement to my classes that I'm changing my management style to help them accomplish more by the end of the semester. I told them I was going to be less tolerant of distracting behavior and expect them to work more quickly with more focus. It's been well worth the effort and I'm setting the tone for next year.

I worked out a plan with my neighboring teachers so I can send key offenders to their rooms with easy work to do. This is helping me pinpoint exactly who is disrupting the class.
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