Why picking your battles is a poor strategy

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Peregrin5, Jul 19, 2013.

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  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    :yeahthat:
     
  2. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    A colleague had a student who had a 504 for "mild anxiety disorder" and part of the 504 was "She will not be reprimanded for doing something wrong in class."

    Now if that doesn't give a child carte blanche, I'm not sure what will.
     
  3. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Someone should start a poll about this subject. I would bet that overwhelmingly elementary teachers and secondary teachers have very very different views on this.
     
  4. Pashtun

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    There was more to it than that.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I've had a 504 plan that read almost exactly the same way. What makes you think there was more to it than that?
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Can you expand upon this a little more?
     
  7. Pashtun

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    Maybe this is how it works in secondary, this is not how I have seen it work in elementary.

    It is never "Johnny will not be called out on his misbehavior" or "Johnny will be allowed to tap his pencil loudly on his desk"

    It is typically, if Johnny is called out in "insert typical way" it can trigger a violent or very negative reaction. So lets talk about "ways" we can hold Johnny accountable while reducing the negative outbursts.

    Let's get Johnny something he can tap without making noise so as not to disrupt other students.

    Its just not as black and white as "Johnny doesn't have to follow the rules" so much as it is some students need slight modifications in order to maximize their learning.
     
  8. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I am not saying this is fact Caesar. I am saying I "suspect" that elementary teachers are more open to small modifications to students than secondary teachers. I can be 100% wrong..it is a suspicion.

    Take the above example.

    "Johnny is allowed to tap his pencil loudly on his desk."

    Some students may need to tap to help stay focused. The poster implied this is a no go. I suspect a lot of elementary teachers would find something less distracting for the student to tap.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that you're mistaking this as a difference between elementary and secondary. I think it's actually a difference between a skilled 504/IEP writer/team and an unskilled one, which could happen in either setting.
     
  10. Pashtun

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    I have never seen anything even remotely similar to this, that did not have an alternate path.

    Basically , they would not be reprimanded in "normal" ways, but that the actions that were inappropriate would DEFINITELY be addressed in other "nontypical" ways. They were never given carte blanche, it was just dealt with differently and maybe at different times. Usually required meeting with psychologists to develop a plan.
     
  11. Pashtun

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    Maybe, but I am not talking about them having to have an IEP. I am talking about a teacher recognizing and acepting that some students need small "adaptations" in order to maximize their learning and the teachers willingness to work with it.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    You haven't seen this sort of 504. I have, Ted has. They exist, with no alternate courses of actions. A colleague across the hall had one that said "Student will not smoke marijuana." How that qualified as an appropriate 504, I have no idea, but it did.
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I understand what you're saying, but I also think that you're making some very far-reaching assumptions about secondary teachers. We are different, yes, but we're not monsters who don't care about our students or don't want them to be successful. Some of your comments are reading that way.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Often this is the case. Often there is a huge discussion about what is needed and a small blurb is written in the IEP with the intent that the case manager will explain to the teachers what the blurb means for the student.... we know how that often goes.

    Or it is written into the IEP or 504 vaguely but never intended to be followed.
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    What is a "small adaption" to one is a "huge adaption" to another. That is why 504 and IEPs really need to provide specifics instead of subjective information.
     
  16. Pashtun

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    Yeah, they are not intended too be this way. Give me a sec.
     
  17. Pashtun

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    That the above represents a more general view of elementary teachers and the bottom represents are more general view of secondary teachers.

    That elementary teachers don't see different adaptations of rules as breeding resentment in the classroom, whereas secondary teachers will see much more resentment in their classrooms.

    That is what I meant.
     
  18. Pashtun

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    I am not even talking about students with IEPS. Small adaptations would not even require an IEP.
     
  19. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    That's fair. The comparison also applies to all students.

    The term "small" is subjective. What one may consider a "small adaption" in the classroom another may consider it a "huge adaption" and completely unfair. For example, one teacher may see allowing a student to stand in the back of the class when antsy but able to listen a HUGE adaption. Another would be a teacher that insists students look at her all the time to show attending. To allow the student that has problems with this to do otherwise would be a huge adaption.

    That is why conversations like this are murky. Everyone has their idea about what is small or large or what is fair or equal. Without objective, concrete examples of small and large it makes the conversation difficult.
     
  20. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I think there could be some merit in what you are saying. I say this because lower elementary students want to please the teacher, whereas older students no longer feel that same need to please the teacher. This is why perhaps in a classroom with young students, those students who witness misbehavior do not necessarily feel the urge to copy that behavior if they know it displeases the teacher. They, more often than not, recognize that it is something inappropriate and should not be done. This could help to explain why it might be different in an elementary classroom than in a HS classroom.
     
  21. 2ndTimeAround

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    and that one I would fight tooth and nail.

    Also the one that Caesar mentioned - using flash cards on a quiz? What the heck? How in the world that does tell you what the kid knows?
     
  22. 2ndTimeAround

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    I agree with both of you.

    I think there are some horrible 504 writers out there. Horrible! Some will put anything in a document to appease parents. Some think that "their" students are the most important and to hell with the others and/or the teacher. Some just have no clue.

    But I also think the focus and environment is so different for high schoolers that there should be a difference in the approach. If you are in MY class in high school it is because you are trying to earn a high school diploma. That means that part of my job is to prepare you for the next step - adulthood and autonomy. I take this part VERY seriously. More seriously than I do the small details within my curriculum. You need to be able to function in society and throwing a fit because you have to do something you don't want to do is not going to work in the 'real world." Not being held accountable for misbehavior is going to get you fired at your first, second and possibly third job. Also, elementary classes tend to be smaller and elementary school teachers tend to have fewer students overall. Ten percent of the class tapping pencils in elementary school affects, what, 18 kids? Ten percent in my class will affect about 32. And lastly, GOOD parents are going to want their child to be as proficient in life as can be. They are going to want to help their child overcome disabilities and issues. A lot of the time the problems that seem big in elementary have been solved by the time the children come to us. Students have learned coping mechanisms or have simply outgrown the need for accommodations.
     
  23. 2ndTimeAround

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    Unfortunately, I have seen things like this. It is frustrating. The girl I mentioned earlier had a 504 that read like this. She was not to be called out for her misbehavior. Teachers couldn't move her card. If any other student got positively rewarded for something, she had to be as well. It was an absolute joke. When she was in the middle of a fit she sometimes could be removed and sent to guidance. Where she would get to dress the counselor's teddy bear and eat candy. @@ Those modifications trained her to be even worse behaved than she was when she started. The school in essence taught her that it paid to be 'bad.' She will have a hard time when high school rolls around because the EC department will review that 504 before she starts and pull a lot of that junk out of it. I don't know why (in my area at least) elementary and middle schools are so afraid to limit what goes into a 504.
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This is one of the most common accommodations I've seen during all my years of teaching. I think it's done for students who struggle activating memory and/or with reading comprehension. It's one accommodation that I don't really mind, because I can see that it really helps the students who need it. I mean, I surely don't care whether they need to use a flashcard to remember what "aurantiacus" means as long as they can use it correctly when we're translating.
     
  25. BumbleB

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    I agree with 2ndTime about the huge differences between elementary and high school. Being a middle school teacher, I see huge differences between 8th grade and 9th grade. The big one being that middle school classes aren't for credit. If a student fails a course in middle school, there is no consequence. IMO, this is when SPED teachers should be testing out various "cocktails" of accommodations and modifications to find the perfect blend that supports but doesn't enable. Of course parents of high schoolers freak out when extended time is taken away...that could be the difference between passing and not for their child. By high school, students should have a good knowledge of how they learn best and what they need to be successful. That foundation needs to come from the elementary and middle school teachers, who help them develop self-advocacy skills and try a variety of strategies with them.
     
  26. 2ndTimeAround

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    My course is vocabulary-heavy. The students do need to know their terms in order to be proficient in the course.

    How do these students with such accommodations take their state finals for their other classes? Do they get to use flash cards then?
     
  27. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    My course is foreign language, so it's naturally exceedingly vocabulary heavy. That's not the main skill I'm teaching, though. I need them to be able to communicate in the language. If they need a dictionary to be able to do that, I'm okay with that.

    We don't have "state finals". I am pretty sure that these students are not allowed flashcards on their proficiency exams.
     
  28. Sm2teach

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    I would expect there to be a difference in having a child for 45-50 minutes a day as opposed to the full day that lower level grades have.
     
  29. Pashtun

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    I totally agree with this. This is why when it comes to "rules", I really do not care what other teachers do. I set the expectations in my class. So I don't get all "bothered?" if say another teacher allows students to do something that I don't. I feel I can set the environment and expectations in my room.
     
  30. Pashtun

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    I agree. I never meant to imply one was better than the other. Simply that I suspect one would be more accepted by secondary teachers and one method more accepted by primary teachers.
     
  31. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    It seems to me the article speaks more to classroom management in general than IEPs. Unless I missed something.
     
  32. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Equal--treating everyone the same

    Fair--not giving anyone an unfair advantage

    Equal: I am a student in your class. You do not allow students to have drinks during class. I take medication that causes severe dry mouth. I ask if I can have water, but haven't had a chance to get a doctor excuse yet. If you are being equal, then you have two choices. (1)You do not allow me to have the water because it is a rule. If everyone else has to do without, so do I. (2) You allow me to have my drink, but also tell the others they may have drinks as well because it needs to be equal.

    Fair: Same scenario, but you allow me to have the water without changing the rule for everyone else. You're modifying for my need. Allowing me to have the drink does not give me any kind of unfair advantage or put the rest if the class at a disadvantage.

    Often being EQUAL is actually being UNFAIR.
     
  33. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I understand it would be much more difficult to have the same approach in high school and I don't think I would have the same approach if I was teaching high school. But I do want to point out I've always had at least 26 children in my class, which is a lot different than only having 15 8-year-olds. But being with them all day every day does make it easier to target specific behaviors with specific children. Not every child of the 26 needs this approach.
     
  34. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    The teacher needs to be the one to create an environment where other kids are not getting upset. It not just an issue of general ed. vs. special ed. There are plenty of general education elementary students who are impulsive and lack age appropriate self control. There are also special education students that are not impulsive and have no issues following rules.
     
  35. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    That is much easier said than done, especially when hormones are running rampant and you've got 50 entitled, inner-city kids crammed into a room. I think that I'm pretty adept at classroom management and establishing a safe, positive classroom atmosphere. Even so, I can't control my students' emotions. That's an unrealistic expectation of a teacher.
     
  36. JustMe

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    I understand. It's not like you're winking at the kid as if to say it's fine they snack a but...you are just pretending to be oblivious. They don't think, "Mrs. Caesar lets us eat in class!" but as you said, "Haha, Mrs. Caesar's clueless that we eat in her class!"
     
  37. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Just because students might be treated differently doesn't mean you're playing favorites. I've never been accused of playing favorites because I let Johnny lay on the pillow during the lesson but not Billy. If Billy did complain or accuse me of liking Johnny more I'd explain that it doesn't mean I like Johnny any better than everyone else. I want everyone to have what they need to focus and succeed in the classroom. Johnny has trouble sitting up straight for an extended period of time. There are other things Billy has trouble with that I help him with.

    Again, obviously this scenario wouldn't happen in secondary but I don't think not treating students equally means playing favorites.
     
  38. Pashtun

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    I don't know of any elementary school that has 15 kids in a class. I have never had less than 30 in 4th grade.
     
  39. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Some of these students would not ever survive with that mentally of I can't bend the rules for you. I could correct Joey every single time he calls out- and guess what- he's STILL going to call out every single time. So what's the use if it's not fixing the situation. This is not to say Joey never gets asked to raise his hand (and actually I came up with a very useful way to fix this issue at the end of the year and he eventually did stop calling out) but it's to say that I occasionally let that go in favor of not interrupting my teaching, letting him feel successful or focusing on another issue, i.e. not sitting properly on the rug or whatever else it could be.
     
  40. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Here´s another example. Back to my ADHD student from last year who will not sit quietly for listening time, and becomes easily distracted during independent work time. I allowed him to work with headphones on and listen to classical music (during work time, not listening time) whereas other students did not have headphones. Now, I did not do this because I favored him more than the others, but it was creating an environment for him where he could focus. This was an attempt to help give him what he needed so he too could be successful, whereas most of the class could focus and be successful without the headphones.
     
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