How to Improve Students’ Bad Attitudes: Strategies That Work Better & Faster

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

How to Improve Students' Bad Attitudes:

Strategies That Work Better & Faster

 
 

 

 

How to Improve Students' Bad Attitudes:

Strategies That Work Better & Faster

student bad attitude

It's winter. It's that time of year that if the weather doesn't get to you, your students do. One huge annoyance can be the lousy attitudes that you are facing starting too early every morning to way too late each afternoon. You may even have a student or two who is so difficult and sour that you can't forget about him on that long drive home. We're ready to help. Hello from Youth Change Professional Development Workshops' Director, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I've spent my entire career developing and honing unorthodox, highly effective strategies to turn around even the most negative student you work with.

The most important thing to realize is that no one changes their attitude because someone else thinks that would be a good idea. If you directly ask students to change their attitude, that's fine, but it probably hasn't been working very well. The strategies below avoid the failure rate that mere words can produce when it comes to trying to generate student attitude adjustments. Notice that all of these student attitude adjustment strategies do not rely primarily on words, but take more indirect approaches. The use of this style of approach means that you are placing a light bulb over the students' head but letting the student pull the cord to turn it on. If you pull the cord for the student, then really the only option left for many of them is to fight back and resist. Using less direct methods means that most of the time, the student with the negative attitude, won't always immediately default to being resistant or oppositional.

The next time you consider just telling a student to improve their attitude, remember that the adult equivalent is being told to lose weight or stop drinking. That image may be a very useful reminder to minimize your reliance on verbiage and to increase your use of more indirect approaches that don't generate resistance.

teacher workshopIf you want more than the sampling of strategies offered here, consider coming to our Seattle Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop on May 4-5, 2017. Right now, we have have two completely free work-study scholarships to give away. Grab one of these awesome no-fee workshop registration slots before they are all taken. Call 1.800.545.5736 to quickly sign up. You'll learn 200 powerhouse strategies for whatever student behavior, attitude and social problems you name.

 

Students' Negative Attitude-Buster Strategies
 

student bad attitude posterUse Passive Intervention Strategies

to Improve Students' Bad Attitudes

Poster #314, shown at right, is the perfect, low effort strategy to chip away at students' bad attitudes. It may appear that the student is just staring at the wall but Poster #314 could be eating away at them slowly day by day. You don't need to buy the poster. You can make your own, or have a student whose behavior warrants a consequence, make a version of the image shown here. Either way, students can't argue with a poster. Nor, can students unsee what they read. Your message was delivered– and probably more rapidly than if verbiage had been the sole method. With this passive intervention strategy, you've planted a seed that may gradually begin to grow over time. This tactic is most definitely not a quick cure, but part of an on-going effort that can ultimately produce results.

 

Use Strategies That Show the Benefits

of Attitude Improvement

If people are going to change, it's because they see a reason to change. Give your students a reason to improve their bad attitudes. Show students what's in it for them if they limit or improve their negative attitude. This approach can work very well with your more self-interested students who care mostly about what they can get for themselves. When the student is in a difficult situation, such as having done a minor bit of problem behavior, encourage the youngster to "Keep 1 Problem to 1, Not Turn 1 Problem Into 2." Since this strategy shows students what they get for themselves by evidencing a less negative attitude, this approach can be hard to resist. It is, in essence, showing students that their negative attitude is like the old adage about biting your tongue to spite your face. The more you can link a more positive attitude to the student getting more of what they say they want, the more progress you may make improving the negativity. It's almost like you are marketing and selling a more positive attitude like it was a brand of jeans or cell phone.

 

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student attitude posterUse Strategies That Un-Normalize

Students' Bad Attitudes

At many schools, having a sulky, negative, oppositional attitude is considered normal. Consider working to get that rather bad standard to be different. Poster #574 (shown at right) gives you some words to do that. It can start or further the process of helping your students understand that being nasty or mean or difficult is not a life plan that will work. You can also help students to identify all the jobs and businesses that people can succeed in if you are really unkind to those around you. Most students realize that there are few or no jobs where abusive behavior is tolerated, and that ultimately having a really negative attitude will be a potential obstacle and impediment throughout life. You are again selling the idea of a more positive attitude as benefiting the student with the negative attitude. Us humans are often pretty self-interested and that makes this strategy a good candidate to use if you want to transform the bad attitudes you see in your classroom or around your school or program. Using the phrase shown on the poster, "healthy humans don't destroy other humans" is a great phrase to use regularly as it can impact some students who will find the words unsettling.

 

Use Inspirational Strategies

to Improve Students' Bad Attitudes

Some students are impacted by pretty sayings and inspirational words. For your students who have negative attitudes, but might respond to inspiring words of wisdom, consider using this phrase, or creating a poster of the words for your walls. The phrase is "Live each moment as if you chose it." These words are going to be especially useful for students who are sullen and negative in specific settings, such as P.E. class or when there is an exam announced. Because the phrase is provocative and worth further thought, some students may actually stop and consider what it means since it's meaning is not necessarily obvious. It is difficult to resist words that you haven't yet figured out, making this strategy a winner. In the instant that the student grasps the phrase's meaning, you actually delivered a bit of insight to the youngster. It can be one step on the long progression of improving that student's attitude in your classroom and school.

 

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    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

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Strategies to Motivate Unmotivated Students

 

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Strategies to Motivate Unmotivated Students

Includes Free, Printable, Motivational Classroom Poster

 
 

Next Live Workshops:

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$8 0h Wow! Behavior Change & Motivational Posters

 

Student motivation can sag as everyone returns from the holidays and heads into the long stretch until Spring Break. If your students' motivation has dropped with the temperatures, here are some lively and very effective motivational methods that are sure to fire up interest, enthusiasm and focus on school and education. The assortment includes a free printable motivational speakerclassroom motivational poster that has received lots of comments. Many educators find it to be an eye-opening, effective way to build motivation in students who are unmotivated, discouraged, bored, frustrated or lacking confidence.

Happy New Year from all of us here at Youth Change Professional Development Workshops, and a special shout-out from me, Youth Change's director, Ruth Herman Wells. I hope I will be seeing lots of you this year at our 2017 general session professional development workshops, and at the conferences, schools and agencies all over North America where I will be leading workshops or providing keynotes. Please come up and say "hi." It is always so wonderful to get to meet our Problem Kid Problem-Solver magazine subscribers in person so be sure to come down front to say hello. If you have a bad budget but want to attend our general session workshops coming to Seattle on May 4-5, 2017 or Portland, Oregon on October 12-13, 2017, we have scholarship slots open for both events. A quick call to 1.800.545.5736 is all it takes to grab one.

strategies to motivate

 

Motivational Strategies

for the Most Unmotivated Students

 

poster motivates unmotivated studentsMOTIVATIONAL STRATEGY

Replace Missing Motivation with

Artificial Motivation


Few teachers have ever taken a class called Motivate the Most Unmotivated Students, but most teachers probably wish they had. Typically, many teachers see a plethora of unmotivated students when they look out at their class. Typically, most teachers don't feel like they have a plethora of awesome motivational methods to improve the situation. This article is going to change that a bit for the better.

You may not be aware that you can actually build motivation for school, education and class work. Initially, you should start the process of building motivation by relying on external items that are already very liked by students. Think of it this way. You can initially use a "carrot" to lead student to Literature, Algebra or History class, and once you've gotten and held their attention, you can reduce the reliance on external positives. It is sad that some families don't reliably teach their children the importance of school, but like any other area that is being overlooked in a child's life, teachers may be the ones to have to fill in the gap. That is certainly true here, but the good news is that improving a child's motivation is a lot easier than (figuratively) dragging a kid to school and forcing them to learn– which is what the situation may feel like now.

Money is a very effective external item that can serve to engage many unmotivated students to care more about school, class and education. Yes, ideally, children would come to love reading Hemingway, or find early American history enthralling, but money makes a great "hook" to start to transform how students view education. In the meantime, you are going to have to market school, classes and education like they were a pair of way cool jeans or a new iPad. You're going to be working to convince students that school is the only path to many of the things they very much need, want or value…which brings us back to money.

Our popular motivational poster, Poster #471 (shown above) does a great job of marketing school and education by linking them to something most students care a lot about: money. It shows students what they "earn" every second, minute, hour, day, month and year they spend in school. This poster is based on the belief that high school grads earn approximately $330,000 more per lifetime so it reflects life expectancy and earnings stats.

You can print this eye-catching, motivational school poster for free and post it in your classroom, or the hallways of your school. You can download the free motivational poster here. Feel free to share it with your colleagues. Obviously, one motivational strategy can't fix all the boredom, disinterest and yawns, but it's a terrific first step. You can find thousands more motivational strategies throughout our website, and another great motivational strategy further below in this article. You can use our site search engine to search for more "motivational strategies." Most strategies are free but you will find many in our books, in person professional development workshops and online courses too.

Yes, this "artificial" motivation may not start off being nearly as beneficial and reliable as the real thing, but now that you may have your students considering the possibility that school just might be important to them, while you have their attention, you can help them discover what they could love in the world of education.

 

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student

 

MOTIVATIONAL STRATEGY

Learn What to Do About

Work Refusers


Some students don't start off unmotivated– but they sure end up that way. Among other university training classes that most teachers haven't taken but may wish that they had is Work Refusers 101. Some of your youngsters become so discouraged or frustrated by school that they stop working altogether or do as little school work as they possibly can get away with. Often, these are very well-intentioned students who have learned over time that doing nothing seems a lot less painful than taking a test or completing a homework assignment. Since teachers often have little real-world training or tested strategies for work refusers, these youngsters can quickly become a nightmare to teach. They may appear to be your most unmotivated student since they do so little actual school work, and require constant help to complete almost any academic task.

Here's the secret to successfully engaging your work refusers in school: They are not necessarily unmotivated. They can have great motivation but the child has simply learned that shutting down and doing nothing seems to yield better results than taking action. In your Psychology classes, this pattern was described as Freeze, Flight or Fight. Work refusers camp out in Freeze. That makes these students seem passive-aggressive or oppositional when really they just freeze and have trouble moving beyond that. To best understand, look back in your life for a time you crawled into bed and wouldn't come out. It may have been after a traumatic experience or a romantic setback or a job loss, and for you, a short-term thing– but for these students, freezing up has become a long term, entrenched pattern.

So, motivational methods will only take you so far with this population. And, as you may have noticed, it is so easy to get caught in a power struggle with them. So there's what won't work. Here comes what will work: step-by-step, slow transition from doing nothing to gradually doing something. So, if the student typically does two paragraphs of handwriting, maybe we aim for two paragraphs and one more sentence. The next step might be two paragraphs of handwriting and two sentences…and so on. The steps need to be tiny and when the student balks at a step, consider dropping back a bit and carefully observing for anxiety. When this student's anxiety goes up, their work production goes down. Over time, you will learn to calibrate their work load with their anxiety. The more you can create a cooperative team feeling while avoiding increasing their anxiety, the more work you will ultimately get out of this youngster.

We devote entire classes to teaching about work refusers so we are just skimming the surface here for what you can do, but we thought it was important that you realize that the student who may look the most unmotivated, can be much more accurately viewed as a child rife with anxiety issues.

 

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    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

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    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


The 5 Best Classroom Management Hacks

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

The 5 Best Classroom Management Hacks

 
 

 

classroom managementDid you know that you can avoid many classroom management problems before they start?

Happy New School Year from me, Youth Change Professional Development Workshops Director, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I have spent most of my life writing books, creating posters and leading workshops to help teachers figure out what to do when classroom management has become a serious problem. Let me show you how to skip the back-to-school pitfalls that can make teaching so frustrating and exasperating for the next 9 months. These effective, must-do classroom management hacks are time-tested and teacher approved to work better than conventional approaches.

Youth Change Workshops cares about you and your students so if you need more help, we have our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop coming up soon in Portland on October 13-14, 2016. If you have a bad budget, scholarships are still available by calling 1.800.545.5736. You'll leave the workshop with 200 solutions for the classroom management problems you name at the start of our first day so you're guaranteed to get solutions for your exact students and their exact problems.

 

Top 5

Classroom Management

Hacks

 

classroom management articles1. Start Strong
    Because There Are No Do-Overs

No student will ever fight back or complain if you start out the school year being a very strong disciplinarian and then decide to loosen up a bit. However, if you start off being a weak or even moderate disciplinarian and decide later that you need to tighten up…well, good luck with that.

It is so hard to tighten up classroom management and so easy to loosen up. It always amazes me that this central premise isn't the foundation of every teacher's classroom management game plan.

Having spent my whole career helping educators tighten up problematic class management, I really can appreciate that it can feel like battle to re-invent a classroom once an unsatisfactory atmosphere has developed. It's almost like the classroom gets branded as a free-for-all. That's why I sometimes have to recommend that an existing classroom be "discontinued" instead of trying to wage an uphill battle to turnaround that negative perception. So, if you do find yourself fighting serious classroom management battles, it is better to start completely over. You can even re-name your classroom, redo the layout and make other cosmetic changes to emphasize that "Room 256" is gone and now this is "Beyond Room 256" or similar. Re-starting works best at natural break times like the end of a term or after a holiday break.

However, there's a caveat to this remodeling plan: If you tell your students that "things are going to be different," you better deliver. You'll still get challenged and tested and if you don't satisfactorily manage the challenges and tests, expect things to return to the way they were. If you don't satisfactorily manage what the students throw your way in your "new" classroom, it will become even harder to engineer the classroom conditions you need to teach. That means if you do create a "new" classroom, make sure you have acquired the skills, attitude, motivation, mentoring and backing you need to guarantee that your "new" classroom will be "new and improved," not just "new" but with the same old problems.

 

classroom management article2. Establish Rules
    In a Way That Ensures Compliance

Remember when they put that new stop sign in by your house? Remember how mad you were that you didn't even get a say about it and now you have to live with it? You thought to yourself: "Yesterday, I just rolled through here and today, I want to just roll through here." Wouldn't you have felt better about the new sign and complying with it, if you'd at least had some input into the decision to install it? Sure, and the same logic applies to your students.

When students arrive at the first day of school and are told that they need to follow this rule and that rule and this rule, they react a lot like you did when you thought about cruising through the new stop sign. What if you allowed students to help shape the rules? Well, the answer to that question is that you'd have the same set of rules but far better compliance.

On the first day of school, start with a classroom with no rules and let students take turns role-playing the job of teacher. Give a great prize in lieu of a paycheck. To earn the prize, the role play teachers just have to teach the other students to memorize a five digit number. Sounds so easy, doesn't it? Yes, but, this is a classroom with no rules. The other students can talk at will, leave the class at will, pop bubble gum, and so on. The role play teacher will soon become frustrated. When that happens, offer the role play teacher the opportunity to create rules and let the student attach his or her own name to the rules. For example, "Juan's No Cussing Rule." The rules are now things created by your students and their names are attached to them.

Students are far less likely to hassle or trash the rules that they invented and bear their names. This is a slam-dunk easy way to build in excellent classroom management and discipline from the first ring of the first bell.
 

classroom management3. Teach Behavior, Attitude and Motivation

     Before You Expect Them

Few teachers would expect math or reading skills before anyone taught them to students, but many teachers do expect students to start the school year with appropriate behavior, a good attitude and ample motivation. Sadly, those expectations are often not realistic in our contemporary time. Years ago, parents more reliably taught their offspring to behave acceptably, have a reasonable attitude and sufficient motivation. That is not always the case now. That means if you want to work with properly behaved, motivated students who have good attitudes, you are going to have to teach that. You can expect anything you want, but if you haven't taught it to the child– and no one else has taught it to the child either– then you are often going to be disappointed.

There are thousands of lively, effective methods to teach students to have acceptable behavior, attitude and motivation. Take a look at some step-by-step, how-to guides that are in our archive of past "Classroom Management Strategies" articles.

The bottom line is that good classroom management is predicated on students using proper behavior, and having adequate motivation and attitude. If you want good classroom management, you need to teach students to do their part. It is difficult– perhaps even impossible– to have good classroom management with students who are chronically badly behaved, unmotivated and have negative attitudes. If you want to change what you see in your classroom, start by training your students to look, act and sound like successful students.

Article Continues Below

 

 

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Schedule Your On-Site Inservice Workshop Now

It's More Affordable Than You Think

Learn 100s of Strategies for Work Refusers, Violent,
Uncontrollable, Unmotivated and Withdrawn Students

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Article Continues Here

student classroom management4. Proactively Identify and
    Manage Problem-Starters 

There's always at least one, isn't there? There's always at least one student in every classroom who seems to start the fires and feed them once they're started. Identify this student on Day 1 and immediately develop an effective plan to manage him or her. If you wait until this student is in trouble for misbehavior, it's too late as these youngsters are often pretty cagey and slick– even at a young age– and can be master manipulators of both students and adults.

Even more important, you need to know that one-size-fits-all discipline techniques fit no one, and that is part of why this student can reign supreme on your turf. Just like you know 200 ways to teach spelling to fit each student, you need to know 200 ways to implement classroom management to fit each student. Often, your biggest trouble-maker doesn't respond to conventional, everyday discipline methods and behavior intervention strategies. You may have noticed that "nothing works" to control these seriously acting-out students. The amazing thing is that mental health and juvenile corrections staff have developed tailored techniques for the most extremely misbehaved youngsters, and have been successfully using these methods for generations. Even more amazing, most educators have not been offered these tested and researched techniques. The one exception to this statement is that special education teachers are sometimes fortunate to have been given training on how to manage the most extremely misbehaved children. These special educators may have been given some or a lot of practical training on how to manage students who have been given the mental health diagnosis of conduct disorder.

It is estimated that 11-14% of the population of children and teens have conduct disorder– whether diagnosed or not. The key thing here is that you can't use ordinary behavior management techniques with this population as those approaches always fail and usually make the problems worse. So, if you want to have the tools you need, the reality is that you need to upgrade your skills to include behavior management techniques designed for very acting-out students. We can help with that upgrade. You can rely on our site's free resources to learn classroom management methods designed to work more effectively with children with conduct disorder. These carefully tailored and researched interventions are going to work so much better than the generic methods that you're using now. There are lots of free articles on conduct disorder on our site. You can start by reading an introductory article on conduct disorder.

 We also have many live, online and on-site workshops on the topic. We also have books, ebooks and audio books that can quickly deliver these must-have tools so that you finally have the updated, targeted methods you need to rein in your most misbehaved, hard-to-manage students. You'll learn the reasons why you must work with the most misbehaved students by having many, ultra-high consequences; making sure that all interactions relate to what the student cares most about; making sure you know the student's most liked rewards and disliked sanctions; confronting all bad behavior every time; never giving second chances; drastically limiting discussion over sanctions and rule violations; maximizing supervision at all times; watching for set-ups; watching for manipulation, lies and delinquency, and if your boss and team permit, you need to stop being so fair.

The bottom line: If you can control your most misbehaved students and negative leaders, you're well on your way to controlling your entire classroom. 

 

classroom management for teachers5. Get Help Now

One of the top reasons that teachers quit is that they hate the state of their classroom management. Some teachers may improve on their own, but the vast majority of teachers who are living through a classroom management nightmare really need to acquire better tools and information. Since 80% of a typical teacher's training focused on academic content, it's not a surprise that classroom management can seem so daunting. Based on that percentage, one would expect that a typical teacher's day is dominated by content issues, but ask any educator and they will tell you that their day is dominated by students' behavioral, social and emotional problems– yet those are all areas given limited or no practical training in pre-service courses.

Severe or chronic classroom management problems are unlikely to change unless the teacher changes. If you've read this article looking for the way out of your classroom management war, the truth is that change isn't going to just happen. You are going to have to actively upgrade your skills and possibly, your personality style and demeanor. That's not to say that every teacher needs to have a loud and forceful personality, for instance– some of the best classroom managers are very quiet and laid back– but if students see you as an easy mark or easily fooled, some personal change may be required to combat that perception. That's why a mentor can be such a help. So, consider finding someone with great classroom management and a personality like yours– or what you wish your personality could be more like– and ask for help. While there is no substitute for upgrading your skill set to fit contemporary students, for some educators, tweaking their personality style and demeanor will also be necessary.

Students read us adults like open comic books. That means they sometimes know us and our weaknesses far better than we know ourselves. You may fool your boss, your co-workers and yourself, but you will almost never fool your students. So, it's incredibly important that you believe wholeheartedly that you can effectively manage difficult students. And, that's not something you can learn from a workshop. That's why upgrading your skills may need to be accompanied by finding a caring mentor who tells it like it is.

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    Reprint or Repost This Article
     

    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

    Help Unmotivated, Failing, Troubled and Unmanageable Students

    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.