Nonsense! This is something every teacher and parent can do starting right now. I will not take credit for this - it comes out of Responsive Classroom and was beautifully demonstrated by the teachers I worked with at Oxford Valley Elementary years ago. One of the most remarkable of these teachers was Heather R.
Heather R. taught 4th grade at the time and one year in particular had a little boy who really struggled with his emotions. He had reason to and Heather understood. She employed the following system (this can be done at home just as easily).
First she chose to ignore his inappropriate behavior that was not threatening or overly disruptive. He did not hear his name with a negative comment.
Next she explained what she would want to see take place to the entire class. Just a simple reminder: In two minutes you need to have your books put away and line up to go to PE.
1 Minute Reminder: You should be finishing up, putting your book away and then get in line to go to PE.
Verbal Acknowledgement: I see Mary putting away her book and getting in line, Billy, Tommy and Kathi are getting in line too. Thank you. As the students got in line she acknowledged each by name.
Here is the tricky part. There were no personal invitations or admonishments. Only thank you for doing the right thing by naming each child as they did what was asked. A big deal was not made of any behavior positive or negative.
When everyone was lined up the class as a whole was thanked and off they went.
Why this works:
No one is singled out - everyone is thanked.
What the teacher wanted was fully explained and reminded.
Minor negative behavior was ignored.
Beyond the direction and the one reminder there was no other direction given.
Everyone heard their name in a positive way.
She caught everyone doing what was expected and told them thank you for doing.........
She was specific to expectation, behavior and person.
Behaviorally challenged children get into the cycle of only hearing their name when they are doing something wrong. That is what they are waiting for - and they do not even know it. They need the reinforcement of knowing what to do and being thanked as soon as they do it.
To often we withhold the ‘thanks’ because they are finally doing the right thing. As soon as they do the right thing they get the positive feedback - not praise or the snide ‘finally’ just the thank you by name like everyone else.
Give it a try. You may have to do it a few times however you will be surprised by the result. Explain what you want, ignore negative behavior, remind, thank by name and behavior when it happens!
Have a question - reach out today. Let’s get a conversation started.