Teacher Back-to-School Success Secrets Improve Classroom Management

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Teacher Back-to-School Success Secrets
Improve Classroom Management

 
 

classroom management workshopIt's a new school year, but for many students back-to-school means back to problems. It can seem like such a mystery why so many of today's kids struggle so much each school year, but perhaps we've overlooked a common sense explanation and solution.

It's that time of year when I hit the road all over North America training school after school on  how to build a better school year. I'm Youth Change Professional Development Workshops' Director and Trainer, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I spend a lot of time at each stop sharing all the classroom management secrets I've collected over the past decades. In our high tech era, I also provide online training, as pictured in the image above. After years of providing teacher training in a huge range of formats and venues, I know that these techniques can really stop classroom management problems before they start– and isn't that what every teacher wants?

So, have you ever noticed that we don't actually teach kids to be students? It's true. While every school district has a formal, written-down plan to teach kids academics, few districts have a formal, written-down plan to teach kids how to be students and take advantage of all the great academics they are offered.

Perhaps we need to teach kids to be students exactly the same way we teach them how to read, learn math, and master social studies. Teaching kids how to be students is very different than stating the rules. Most teachers review the rules, but many instructors don't ensure that their new students have the skills, attitudes, and motivation needed to properly comply.

In our live and online Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshops that Youth Change hosts, I often joke that in a time long ago, and a place far away, moms and dads reliably motivated their offspring, and prepared them to be successful students. Continuing the theme, I note that time and place are gone, and they aren't coming back any time soon. Sadly, many of today's families don't motivate their children to care about school, and don't teach them the skills needed to succeed as students. If the family doesn't prepare the child to succeed in school, by default, that task must become the job of the teacher if the family can't or won't start doing what they are supposed to do.
 

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We would never throw a child in the deep end of the pool and expect him to teach himself how to swim. We would never put a child up on the expert ski slope and expect her to teach herself how to ski. But, we do place children in school each year and expect them to teach themselves how to be students. That is why so many teachers work with kids that don't look, act or sound like students. That is why so many teachers struggle with unmotivated, uninterested youngsters, and have an uphill battle to maintain good classroom management and control. Teachers are working with untrained, unmotivated children and youth. It should be no surprise that from Day 1 of the new school year, so many children struggle.

Districts that take the time to train youngsters how to look, act and sound like students usually report a drop in attendance problems, tardiness, absences, and behavior problems. Many report a decrease in expulsions, suspensions and detention. Most report wasting less instruction time than the national average of 22 minutes per hour lost to behavior management problems. But those results make perfect sense and should be expected. Training kids to be students can only yield improvement, and probably has no significant downside. Training kids to be students should begin in Pre-K and every year after. Training kids to be students may be the only common sense, real-world way to build a better school year.

If you do decide to teach your new students how to be prepared for the job they face over the new school year, there is a lot to cover. So where do you start on Day 1 of the new school year? We recommend safety and attendance issues come first, then follow up by teaching the remaining skills your new students need. The subsequent skill training should include a lot of motivation-building. Your youngsters might look, act and sound completely different if they come to believe that school is more important than the air they breathe. But don't forget to ultimately include other key school skill training areas such as adult interaction skills, peer interaction skills, how to be in a class discussion, homework management skills, punctuality skills, and so on. For this back-to-school issue, here are several sample strategies that address an assortment of critical school skills your students will be needing this year.
 

Successful Back-to School

Classroom Management Techniques to Use Now
 

New School Year Resolutions

Some students start off the new school year chock full of negative expectations. Stop the negativity now by hosting a Happy New School Year Party that is similar to a Happy New Year Party. It's tough to stay negative and sour at a party. During the party, have each student make New School Year Resolutions listing what they hope to accomplish during the school year. This approach can really defuse some of the negativity because school is not fitting these students' bleak view.

Banker, Not Teacher

Because students who graduate earn $329,000 more than those who drop out, you may want to tell the class that they should refer to you as a banker, not a teacher. Or, use this line: "A diploma is so valuable that it belongs in your wallet." A great follow-up activity is to ask your students to speculate on what they would do with an extra $329,000. Another follow-up: Have students rename your school to be a bank, so Sixteen Acres Elementary School could become The First Bank of Sixteen Acres or Sixteen Acres Elementary Savings Bank and Loan.

Give Me Five

classroom management posterTeach essential paying attention skills to students by playing Give Me Five. Have the student give you a high five slap then say "Give me five! Two eyes watching, two ears listening, one mouth shut. Give me five!" Our $8 Poster #252 can provide on-going reminders, and for a limited time, it's on sale for 25% off on our site when you enter 25 at checkout.

From Vacation Back to Education

Students don't necessarily have the skills to settle themselves back into the routine of school, but sometimes we assume youngsters can make the big leap on their own, or that they will get help from their parents. Unfortunately, many students will struggle to make the transition, and many of these youngsters won't have parental support, so don't assume that all students will be able to fit back in to the routines and responsibilities of school. Help students let go of summer break and become ready for more structure and responsibility. To aid in the transition, assist students to understand the specific differences they're about to face. Distribute pieces of poster board, about 8 x 11 inches in size. Ask the students to write on one side of the poster board: Goodbye Summer. On the other side, ask students to write: Hello School. Next, ask students to illustrate each side, then discuss their completed creations, assisting students to identify what they must do to make the "big leap" back to school.

Your Job at School

When discussing your role with your students, consider using this description that one of our workshop participants uses each year: "My job is to get you to do what you don't want to do, so you can become what you do want to become."

Have You Ever Heard of Eating School?

To teach students how to behave in the cafeteria, set up Eating School and practice. Instead of practicing with actual food, select silly substitutes. For example, instead of spaghetti and meatballs, students practice with cut-out pictures of spaghetti strands, sauce and meatballs. Be very careful that students don't put any of the substitute items in their mouths, but do select items that are fun so that students won't even notice that they are actually learning lunch room behavior skills.

Self-Control or Teacher Control

A teacher in Alabama says he has great success telling his students at the start of the school year that he expects them to use good self-control, but if they don't "it will be provided for you." Because he adds a light humorous element to the information, it makes it harder for students to resist. Of course, he also teaches his students exactly how to manage their mouths, feet, hands, arms, legs and so on. Both of these aspects need to be included for this technique to work.

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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.

     

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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
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Bring Order to Behavior Disorders Insider Secrets for Controlling Uncontrollable Students

 

school counselor blog


Bring Order to
Behavior Disorders:
Insider Secrets for
Controlling Uncontrollable Students

 

Some students' behavior goes beyond just being extremely misbehaved. Some students actually have mental health problems that are called behavior disorders.

Counselor training includes extensive preparation to manage each type of behavior disorder. That is why counselors can sometimes more successfully manage youngsters that educators struggle to control. Most counselors learn specialized behavior management tools tailored for each type of acting-out disorder. Most of these targeted tools work really well for educators too– except that educators are not normally routinely offered this essential training on behavior disorders.

While we are all aware of the hazards of labeling students, we have to have some shorthand to know exactly who we're talking about. If we didn't call a rose a rose, some of us might think Shakespeare was talking about dandelions. If we describe the flower each time, we can end up pretty confused, and long-winded too: "that red, no, I mean pink, no, it's white, no, it's a yellow flower that smells really sweet and may bloom all summer." So, as you read this article, of course you want to be sensitive about students being labeled, but hopefully you can agree that the use of common mental health terms will assure that we all know exactly which students– and which behavior disorders– we're talking about.

workshop trainer Ruth Herman WellsI'm Ruth Herman Wells, M.S., the Director and Trainer for Youth Change Workshops. At Youth Change, we firmly believe that educators and other non-mental health workers are smart enough to make those distinctions. This article will help you understand the categories and corresponding tools to use– or not use– with each type of student. In this issue, we will focus particularly on a single type of behavior disorder.

Unless you're a mental health professional, you can't diagnose the
disorders featured in this article. But you've never been able to diagnose other disorders– like ADHD, for example– but you most certainly have learned how to fine tune how you work with youngsters you believe could have that difficulty. Using that type of adjustment process of carefully tailoring your interventions without diagnosing will work for any mental health disorder that you think you might be encountering. While a diagnosis from a mental health worker would be incredibly useful, you can still work successfully with severely unmanageable youngsters either way.

There are two major mental health disorders that characterize the most extremely misbehaved students. Some youngsters have Oppositional-Defiant Disorder. That is a mental health diagnosis that describes kids that have consciences but sometimes act like they don't. This diagnosis can only be applied by a mental health professional but will be very important for any youth worker to know about and understand. This diagnosis is far more hopeful than the second disorder, "Conduct Disorder," which means the child lacks a conscience and a real capacity for relationships. While the oppositional-defiant child (ODD) may also appear to have little
conscience or relationship capacity, you may be able to improve that
difficulty with the right approach and methods. With conduct disorder (CD), such improvement isn't possible.
 

Understanding Oppositional Defiant Disorder & Conduct Disorder


WHAT DOES OPPOSITIONAL-DEFIANT DISORDER LOOK LIKE?

Oppositional-defiant kids are often some of your most misbehaved students. They may disrupt your class, hurt others, defy authority and engage in illegal or problematic conduct. Though students with ODD may look similar to conduct disorders, their bad behavior is usually less severe, less frequent, and of shorter duration. The ODD label is often inaccurately applied as this dynamic can be a difficult concept to grasp and apply correctly. Because many mental health professionals understandably hesitate to assign the heavy-duty conduct disorder label, they sometimes use the diagnosis of ODD as kind of a parking spot. This convention results in people using methods for ODD with conduct disordered youngsters who would have potentially benefitted from methods for CDs instead. CDs will be adversely affected and poorly managed by the use of strategies designed for students with ODD. In this issue, we are focusing on strategies for children and teens who appear to have ODD.


THE 3 AREAS OF HELP FOR ODD YOUTH

To help the child with ODD, you must focus on:

  1. Skill building
  2. "Pulling up" that conscience– example strategies are below
  3. Improving their relationship skills.


For skill building, teaching them how to regulate their anger, actions, peer skills, verbal output, etc. will be critical. (Note that CDs benefit from this training as well.) But equally important, the child with ODD must be aided to care about others, and to be guided more by conscience. (Note that CDs almost never benefit from this type of aid, and usually become more out-of-control as they assume the adult has "no clue" if they are using methods that involve utterly foreign and irrelevant concepts like conscience, remorse, guilt, and trust.)

In our workshops, we give dozens of effective interventions for stimulating the conscience of children and teens who evidence ODD. We will supply a
few of the best here. These interventions will only focus on stimulating that conscience or "compensating" for it. If you want more than the handful of ideas given here, or you want to see how to build skills and relationship capacity– those other two key intervention areas for students who evidence ODD– consider signing up for our live or online distance learning workshop, or purchasing some of our books that will deliver hundreds of the solutions you need.


STRATEGIES TO STIMULATE OR SIMULATE THE CONSCIENCE

for Students Who Appear to Have ODD

You can use these methods with or without the diagnosis. Remember that these interventions must be combined with the other key focus areas for students with ODD: skill training and relationship training. Also, remember these methods are not appropriate for use with that other type of very misbehaved youngster, children with conduct disorder.

 

STRATEGY #1

Before a child undertakes a problem behavior, ask the youth to imagine that s/he will read about that act on the cover of the local newspaper
in the morning. Ask the child their reaction. If they say that they wouldn't want to read about it in the newspaper the next morning, then you can say "Then don't do it!" This image makes a fast and easy guide for kids to follow to evaluate whether or not to do questionable behaviors. This intervention is a good choice to use with children whose conscience provides little guidance.

 

STRATEGY #2

This intervention can be used before or after the child has engaged in
misbehavior. For example, let's say the child has stolen the teacher's pen, you can say "I want you to imagine that we're making a video about your life. Are you impressed?" That uncomfortable sensation that the child may have in reaction to this intervention may be the conscience stirring.

 

STRATEGY #3

After the child has engaged in a problem behavior, such as stealing a pen, as in the example above, ask the child, "So what's your integrity worth to you?"

 

STRATEGY #4

To adapt the intervention shown above for young children, simply rephrase the question to "So what's people believing in you, worth to you?" Or, rephrase it to "So what's people trusting you, worth to you?"

 

STRATEGY #5

Have students list problem behaviors, and write their responses in a column on a board. Next, in a second column, have them list the most likely consequences of each behavior. Inform students that they can no longer say "I didn't know what was going to happen next," or make similar disclaimers because they have just shown they can make good guesses to predict the future. This strategy is another substitute for the conscience  as students can "guess ahead" before choosing to engage in problem behaviors.

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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.

     

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Why Can’t Character Ed End Your Classroom Management Nightmares?

 

character ed educational article

 

Why Can't Character Ed

 

End Your Classroom Management Nightmares?

 
 

 

Educational Article on Character Ed by Classroom Management ExpertCharacter ed is becoming more and more popular in schools all over the U.S. But in our behavior improvement workshops around the country, more and more educators and counselors are complaining that character ed is not the solution for every youngster. They want to know what is wrong with character ed approaches.

I'm Author, Trainer Ruth Herman Wells and I think I have the answer. Even better, I think I know how to fix what's going wrong with character ed so your classroom and behavior management can improve right away.

First, let's make sure you know what character ed is. Character ed approaches attempt to use character-building to ensure or engender appropriate behavior. A character ed approach to bullying might require that the bully apologize and make amends to the victim of the bullying, for example.

Character ed methods essentially use a single force to elicit satisfactory conduct. The logic is that by building character, conscience and moral values, students' behavior can be improved or maintained at a satisfactory level. Unfortunately, human beings are not "uniform" creatures. Single-mode interventions of any type can be expected to fail with at least a portion of any group. Character ed is subject to this potential flaw just like any other style of student management.

The education world does tend to move from trend to trend, and character ed may be a current one. This educational article will explain the biggest flaws and serious safety issues you may encounter if you use character ed, and will explain how to supplement character ed approaches to make them more effective with different types of youngsters. We'll also look at how to avoid the predictable safety issues that character ed methods can engender.
 

character ed techniquesWhen Character Ed Fails
as a Classroom Management Tool


 

WHO DOES CHARACTER ED WORK WELL WITH?
Ironically, character ed works best with the students who least need it. So, character ed can most impact youngsters who have a conscience, remorse and values. Obviously, youngsters who fit that description are not likely to be your worst bullies and agitators.

WHO DOES CHARACTER ED WORK WORST WITH?
The sentence above may not be grammatically correct, but that is the least of your problems. Character ed works worst with students who lack a conscience, remorse and compassion.

A whopping 11-15% of young people will fit this description. The mental health term that might be applied by a counselor or other mental health clinician to some of these youngsters is "conduct disorder," but the rather grim bottom line is that character ed is utterly ineffective with these students.

You can can't successfully use conscience-based approaches with students who lack a conscience. These students will be your worst bullies and agitators yet character ed is virtually powerless to control them. These students are likely to be the source of many of your worst classroom and group management nightmares but character ed is utterly ineffective when used with them– plus, even more discouraging, safety concerns are often generated by relying on character ed techniques.

HOW CAN CHARACTER ED CAUSE SAFETY PROBLEMS?
Safety problems can easily be created or worsened by using character ed methods with conduct disorders (children without a conscience).

Here is an example: A conduct disordered child bullies another youngster. The bully is given classic character ed-style consequences such as being asked to apologize and make amends. Lacking relationship capacity, the child is unable to benefit from these relationship-based approaches, but it gets worse. Having been caught and required to make an apology may have angered or annoyed the bully, putting the victimized student at high risk of retribution.

ARE THERE OTHER SAFETY CONCERNS?
Character ed approaches often involve helping the misbehaved child understand the harm he has done to his peer. If you help the bully "understand" how his behavior upset or saddened the victim– which was his goal in the first place– aren't you almost for sure marking the victim for more torment?

Bullies love a strong negative reaction from their victims, and character ed methods often highlight the victims' negative reaction. The sorry side effect is to place a "kick me more" sign on the back of the victimized student. Expect the bully's problem behavior towards the victim to increase. There are additional, important safety concerns about character ed methods that we cover in our live workshops, online training workshops, books and ebooks; we have covered just the most common concern here.

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teacher workshop on character ed

 

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character ed methods HOW CAN I SUPPLEMENT CHARACTER ED TO AVOID SAFETY PROBLEMS?
It's easy to supplement character ed methods and eliminate the safety concerns. The most important step is to be sure all your staff are trained to know about conduct disorders. You must use a different set of interventions with conduct disorders. You can continue to use character ed methods with others if you are satisfied with the results that style of intervention delivers with some students. Our workshops and books are packed with information on conduct disorders. If you seek free resources, consult the index to our Behavior and Classroom Management Blog, shown in the right hand column of this page. You'll find dozens of free educational articles with practical, ready-to-use methods and help.

HOW ELSE CAN I ENHANCE CHARACTER ED TO WORK BETTER?
Character ed won't make up for a lack of skills, a bad attitude, or if students lack the motivation to improve their behavior. Add in those items, and watch the improvement. So, be sure to teach all the skills that you want students to use, and cover everything from what to say to where do hands belong and not belong. Any behavior that you expect, you must teach.

Without skills, students can not perform better no matter how much you build their character. Similarly, character ed usually doesn't make up for a bad attitude or poor motivation, so be sure to teach both of those. If you are thinking that no one knows how to teach students to have better attitudes and motivation, then you haven't been to one of our workshops, thoroughly visited our huge web site, or purchased one of our books or ebooks. We have thousands of methods to do just that. 

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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
     


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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.