Consistency

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by K_luv30, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. K_luv30

    K_luv30 Rookie

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    Dec 10, 2008

    I realize consistency is vital to an effective behavior management plan, but how do you decipher which "battles to pick." I understand disruptive behavior needs to be addressed, but if a student is ADHD, or needs to be redirected more than others, how do you remain consistent? Also, how do you address misbehavior without stopping the flow of the lesson? I use proximity, wait and stare before continuing, etc., but sometimes I'm blown away at the lack of respect. And it's "little" things, but big enough to really irritate me.

    I also would like advice on students being defiant (4th grade). For example, if I need a student to change seats because of excessive talking or whatever, they will argue with me or whine about it (4th grade). How do you handle this without getting into a power struggle? If a student starts to argue, how can you walk away from the situation without it looking like the student doesn't have to do what you ask of them? I also don't feel I need to explain myself to that student, especially if I'm trying to prevent further misbehavior, but if I do give a reason for my decision, they'll find a rebuttle or deny it.

    I hope this made sense. I appreciate any and all feedback. Thank you.
     
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  3. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Dec 10, 2008

    As far as students who want to argue with you - DON'T! Calmly repeat your instructions - the broken record approach - until the student complies. If they don't comply, calmly assign an appropriate punishment - I don't know what grade you teach, but if it's elementary, it could be minutes lost at recess; if it's secondary, you could do a five-minute "power detention." In fact, you should take a look at Power Teaching - lots of great ideas!
     
  4. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Dec 10, 2008

    If a child is not following directions I have found the technique of just waiting until they do works very well. Don't say anything just stand and wait. I also believe the best solution for arguing is we are not arguing and thhen broken record. In situations where arging was a serious problem I would just take a minute for every argumentative word or phrase they said so "but.." there goes a minute. If there are a lot of trigger attempts (where the children are trying to push your buttons) the best solution is don't rise to the pushing, if you can ignore it or respond like you were clueless to the attempt do so. Upper grade students love to push buttons if they find out an adult with respond.

    If children are trying to discuss or debate consequences, you can inform them you will happily discuss it with them after school or at another given time that convinences you. That way the children feel you will listen and if you have made a mistake you can fix it but you don't have to stop everything to deal. Another thing I have found to work well is just telling them "sorry, but I am judge, jury, and lawyer in this classroom."

    If they are acting or saying things that are disrespectful the best solution is not rising to it, maybe even "I hear you are having a problem we will need to discuss it privately," and walk away. That way you are not falling into their button pushing and for the rest of the students it doesn't look like you buckled.
     
  5. Sheba

    Sheba Companion

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    Dec 11, 2008

    Great question. I’ll give you part of some ideas I've copied from a classroom management suggestion guide I’ve been compiling:


    What do you do when little Sally, who was just sitting there sulking not wanting to do a thing the last few weeks but is actually trying this week, throws an eraser across the room to her friend after borrowing it to correct her answers, even though you've expressly said not to throw things across the classroom? What do you do when a student who has a reputation as a troublemaker but is OK in your class and actually quite smart in your subject casually lets out a swear word when explaining something to her friend when doing group work? I'm all for consistency but I think there are times when it's best to pretend not to see or hear certain things if it's possible. I think this is especially the case when it comes to students who have rough family situations or just plain hate school who do things that are wrong but not hugely detrimental during a lesson when they and their classmates have been generally doing OK...



    Re: defiant students (I don't teach elementary but I'm sure it would work the same if not better):

    As for dealing with defiance, I do believe there are times when it's necessary to put your foot down and lay down the law and I work at a school where you can do that, but I also think a lot of potential ‘teacher versus student’ situations can be avoided. Here are some things I've found that work well:

    - Group rewards. I recently got rather angry at a grade 8 class and looking back at it I think I was really stupid to forget about this because it may have been easily avoidable. I was getting a class to move out of straight rows into six groups of clusters of desks and what should have taken one minute ended up taking five ... well maybe it was two or three but it sure seemed like a bloody long waste of time to me. What I should have done was, right before it was time to start moving, told them that the first group to be ready would get three bonus points, the second two, and the third one towards the review quiz game we were going to do. This may well have stopped me from getting angry at a few students who just didn't seem to feel like moving or felt like really taking their time about it.


    - False agency. This is based around a parenting technique for young children but it sometimes works surprisingly well with teenagers, too. How often do you hear a parent say something like:

    'Now Johnny, it's time to go to Grandma's so put on your shoes and coat and get in the car ... Johnny, no, we need to go right now ... Johnny come on! We don't have time to waste … Come on! Hurry up! ... Johnny, I'm counting to three ... one ... TWO ... TWO-AND-A-HALF! ... Johnny, do you want a spanking!...'.

    And life becomes a battle of the wills. I know parents who have conversations like that with their kids all day long. However, they can often be avoided just by giving kids a sense of choice over alternatives. Instead of approaching simple instructions as a battle Mum could ask:

    'Johnny, Grandma has some great food for us so we need to go to her house. Which do you want to put on first, your shoes or your coat? OK, here's your coat. Do you want to tie up your right shoe or your left shoe first? Where do you want to sit in the car, in the front seat or back seat...'

    Of course Johnny actually has no more agency over what's going to happen than in scenario one, but is less likely to become defiant if he thinks he has some say over what's going on. By the time he's finished making all the little choices he's been so preoccupied that he hasn't had time to think about the big one.

    Move to the classroom and the same thing often works. It can be as simple as asking the class ‘Do you want to do part A or part B first?’ and letting the students choose the order. And who’s most likely to blurt out an opinion? Likely the class clown and / or the most dominant student in class, the same student who would be most likely to respond defiantly to instructions. You don’t even have to have actual options to make this work, sometimes. For instance I might inform my class ‘All right, it’s time to finish with a listening exercise; what would you like to use for your listening exercise, an English pop song or a dictation’? Obviously they’re going to choose the pop song and I haven’t even prepared a dictation-based handout. But it gives them a sense they have a tiny bit of control over what happens, and reminds them that if they still don’t like doing a cloze and grammar point drawn from a pop song it could have even more boring as a dictation.

    Along these lines one can also throw in a randomiser that makes things look as though it’s not the teacher who is giving orders but an inanimate object that’s determining what’s happening. My favourite is a big, colourful die I like to bring to class. There are various ways you can use it. One example is, when doing an oral quiz or review questions, to divide questions into six categories, with one of them being something a bit funny or silly, or something that will result in someone winning a little prize. Then number 5 can be something like ‘write a sentence’ and number 6 ‘grammar focus’ or something else the students don’t really like but needs to be covered in their course. 2/6 of the time you’ll still be doing sentence or grammar questions, only instead of you ordering the students to spend 2/6 of the lesson on it will be the die’s fault for landing on 5 or 6, or the bad luck of the student who rolled it. And the next time they roll the die there’s still a 1/6 chance it will result in something pleasant.


    Those are just a few ideas I've been trying to work into my general approach of classroom management. By no means are my classes trouble-free but I find I don't have to deal with so many of the other problems I hear my teacher-friends constantly complain about, so I figure I've struck some sort of good balance. Emonkey's advice is very good too, and I've done a few of those things myself to much success.
     
  6. riggit

    riggit Rookie

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    Dec 11, 2008

    These kids are usually masters at pushing buttons. State your direction and then act as if you expect them to comply immediately. I usually get busy helping someone else and keep track of the time. I usually give them 1 min. to comply. If they still don't - repeat your direction (broken record) and again walk away and help someone else. Check the clock again. Do this one more time and if they still don't comply simply call for an administrator.
     
  7. smithereyenes

    smithereyenes Rookie

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    Dec 12, 2008

    I could have written this post! I teach 4th also and am finding the beginnings of attitude in my class as well. Last year was just awful.

    Here is what I am doing this year and it has seemed to help quite a bit. First, I have a classroom covenant. The kids signed it and then we modeled it and then I talked about it (in the beginning) all the time. I also have a "chart" system where the kids start on green each day then move their clothes pins up the ladder for misbehaviors. Yellow is a warning, Orange is a 5 minute loss of recess, and red is losing the entire recess or going to our "I Can" room during lunch and recess.

    If a student is misbehaving while I am teaching, I will walk over and give them a small cut out square of laminated paper that has a CC on it. It stands for Classroom Covenant and when they receive it, it means that they are violating our covenant in some way and need to reasess their behavior. I have two colors of these little CC squares. If they get an orange one, it means that they just need to refocus and think about what they are doing. If I give them a blue one, it means they need to move their clip. All the while I am still teaching and don't have to interrupt myself to correct the behavior.
     
  8. smithereyenes

    smithereyenes Rookie

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    Dec 12, 2008

    I almost forgot....I agree with the previous posters. Don't argue with them. I tell them that it is my way and no other. If I tell them to do something and they start to argue with me, I tell them they have 3 seconds before I move their clip/call an administrator. It is not very often I have to follow through on my word.
     
  9. K_luv30

    K_luv30 Rookie

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    Dec 13, 2008

    I'm so thankful for your awesome responses! Extremely helpful!

    One more thing (maybe :), I have a student who is not disrespectful, just doesn't want to do anything. I know he can, because if he wants to do something (recess, bathroom, etc.), he completes the assignments, no problem. I've tried behavior plans, parent conference, group points, even bribery and he just doesn't care. As long as he's not disrupting other students, I do what I can to get him motivated, but nothing's working so far. I can bring him to the water, but I can't make him drink it, you know? I feel somewhat guilty because he's not learning anything! I've had him in groups, and the kids try to get him focused as well, he says "I don't care," bringing the group down. I should mention, I teach ELL's so although I've tried the parent route, communication is a challenge, therefore ineffective. Any thoughts?
     
  10. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    Dec 14, 2008

    I've tried something similar that a child will want to talk and I've said we can talk about it at recess - that will get them to stop talking pretty quickly. I've ignored one that was just trying to push my buttons by constantly asking a question that he knew the answer was no and he wasn't following our classrooms of how to ask a question in the first place(raise hand and wait to be called on). I do teach 5th graders and they are into pushing buttons and seeing how far they can go.
     
  11. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Dec 14, 2008

    Power Teaching is something you DEFINITELY want to look into! The classroom management system will give you tools to handle the very situations you are encountering.

    You can find all the links, and an explanation of how to begin using the method on my website here.
     
  12. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Dec 14, 2008

    You might try adding on. Basically when the kids finish they get to do activities they enjoy or would prefer. If a child is working and doesn't finish have them be finished and go do the other activity. If a child is constantly taking their time but really can do the work add on to the amount of work required everytime you go by and don't see them working, make them finish it a recess and during fun times. Often it will start the child working after experiencing it once or twice.
     

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