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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How Teachers Can Help Depressed and S.E.D. Students

 

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How to Help
Depressed and S.E.D. Students:

 Must-Know Tips and Tools

 


 
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Workshop Helpers needed to attend our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop 100% FREE while helping with workshop logistics. Plus, helpers can earn 10 Clock Hours free, as well as optional college grad credit. Call 1.800.545.5736 to grab a helper slot or to get more details. Workshop Info


 


 


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Details immediately below or call 1.800.545.5736
 

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Before we give you some fantastic tips on how to teach and counsel depressed children and teens, would you give us a bit of a helping hand? We have a fairly big group coming to our Seattle Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop on May 5-6, 2016, but for the first time in two decades of hosting this workshop, no one has signed up for our Work Study Helper Scholarships. We are looking for two people who would like to attend the workshop totally, 100% FREE and in exchange, help with workshop logistics. It's easy work in exchange for waiving our usual $169 tuition. Would you please let your co-workers know about this awesome professional development conference at an awesome price? Helpers get the same workshop as everyone else and can also earn 10 free clock hours and optional college grad credit too. Call 1.800.545.5736 for details and to sign up. Workshop details are here.
 


 

How to Help
Depressed and S.E.D. Students:
 Must-Know Tips and Tools

 

teacherIt can be tough for teachers to know exactly what is the best way to help children who are severely emotionally disturbed (S.E.D.) Working with sad and depressed students can often be particularly difficult and delicate. Even counselors who specialize in assisting children and teens with depression and sadness, can find these youngsters very hard to help. So, if you are not a counselor, be sure to immediately seek help from a mental health professional or your supervisor if you have any safety concerns at all. This sampler of intervention strategies is not a substitute for that. The strategies offered here for S.E.D. and depressed students give you just a tiny look at of our more comprehensive offerings provided in our workshops, online courses and books— and this peek at our resources is definitely no substitute for consulting a clinician and our full professional development resources for additional guidance.

If you do want more than just a tiny taste of our innovative methods for children and teens with S.E.D. and/or severe depression, be sure to consider coming to our upcoming Seattle, May 5-6, 2016 Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop, where we will cover S.E.D. students in great depth. As you probably have noticed, we have two no-charge Workshop Helper slots open, meaning you can attend completely free and earn clock hours and college credit too. Call 1.800.545.5736 to sign up or get more details on this fantastic opportunity, and be sure to pass on the information to any colleagues who might want to participate for free in this information-packed classroom behavior management workshop.
 

SED studentStrategies for Depressed and S.E.D. Students
 

Yesterday Once More
When children and youth spend a lot of the present being very upset about problems from the past, ask them to "bloom where you're planted."

Power Walk
Vigorous exercise can have a powerful effect on depressed children and teens. Studies have consistently shown that exercise is one of the top three things that can help a child or youth stay ahead of depression.  New research in the past decade, indicates that mindfulness, yoga and meditation are hugely effective methods to help students cope with depression. However useful, exercise, meditation and mindfulness are not miracle workers. Don't forget that if you are not a clinician, be sure to immediately seek mental health guidance if you have any safety concerns about a depressed child. It is always better to play it safe as the severity of a youngster's depression is often not readily apparent.

Power Talk
Talk is the other intervention that studies have shown to be potentially quite useful to help depressed children and adolescents moderate the amount of sadness they are experiencing. We recommend that you combine this intervention with the preceding method– exercise. For example, you and the student can walk rapidly around your site while the child gets to talk about any issues that may be of concern. You can "Power Talk while you Power Walk". Children who "talk it out", are far less likely to "act it out". They are also less likely to "act it in"– to hurt themselves with behaviors such as self-harm, self-endangering, substance abuse or other similar self-destructive actions. Depression can be both acted out and acted in. We tend to think of depression as just being acted in, but it can be either.

For Right Now
For children who are sad about things from the past or future, ask them "What's wrong with this moment?" If they say that nothing is wrong right now, then ask them "Why would you waste the present worrying about what's done…or what may never happen?" Assist students to avoid squandering the present moment for a problematic past or potentially problematic future. This intervention reflects mindfulness concepts beautifully if you are helping your students learn to be more mindful.


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Article Continues Here

student with SEDDepression Solves What?
For children and adolescents who are often mired in depression, ask them to tell you exactly what depression solves. Assist the students to understand that depression solves nothing, and can make things worse when the child neglects responsibilities or shirks work due to sadness.

Cancel Stinkin' Thinking
Now that you have your students realizing that depression never solves anything, teach them to notice and stop depressing thoughts by thinking "Cancel" whenever they notice negative thinking. You can call the negative thinking "stinkin' thinking." If students protest that they will never be able to turn off all the negative thoughts, reassure them that just noticing the negative thinking is a huge first step. "Sell" the idea of reducing negative thinking by emphasizing that students will be probably more comfortable and experience less pain by simply reducing the amount of negative thoughts.

Take Action
Train depressed students to take an action rather than just wallow in sadness. This intervention is the perfect follow-up to the two approaches shown immediately above.

Depression Time
For students who really hesitate to take steps to stop their negative thoughts, suggest to these youngsters that they simply try to reduce the number of minutes spent on negativity. Next, point out that there will always be plenty of time to be depressed later, that students aren't giving up anything, they can always choose to be sad again later. Alternatively, have students determine how many minutes per day they spend dwelling on sad thoughts, then have them reduce the time by a percentage that is acceptable to them.

Important Reminder for Non-Mental Health Professionals: Please be sure to remember this article is no substitute for consulting your site's mental health professionals if there is any possibility of safety issues with a student who appears depressed or to be S.E.D. If you aren't sure, always immediately consult your mental health staff or your supervisor. These strategies are innovative techniques that may help this population, but these methods do not in any way replace immediately consulting a clinician with any and all safety concerns a child or teen may present. To learn more than this small strategy sampler offers, come to a workshop, enroll in an online course, or check out our books.
 


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sed-student-workshop

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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.

     

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


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    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


School Counseling Tips: How to Talk to Children About Death

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

School Counseling Tips:
How to Talk to Children About Death
 

 

 

school counselingSchool counseling is a tough job to do. As a school counselor, you must be ready to help with virtually any social, emotional, family or academic problem that can arise. School counselors cover it all, from bullying to depression, from domestic violence to drugs, from college planning to mental health issues.

School counselors see plenty of the mental health issues that are tough to manage. However, talking to kids about death can be a task school counselors face at least once or more each school year. Having that conversation probably ranks pretty high for difficult, delicate subjects to focus on with children and teens in school counseling sessions. There's certainly the potential to ease or avoid pain, to enlighten, even elevate a child, but there is certainly the potential to confuse, worsen or cause pain, or even frighten or damage a youngster.

Hello from Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I am a national expert on helping troubled and challenged children and teens. I have written dozens of books, am an adjunct professor for two universities. I also write a column for a national print education magazine, and I train thousands of teachers, counselors and parents annually throughout North American.school counseling conference I also raised two children who turned out to be a social worker and a special ed teacher so I guess I can walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

School counseling is the lifeline for many troubled, disturbed and challenged students. For some of these youngsters, the quality of the school counseling that a child receives can be the single most important force determining whether a child sinks or swims, struggles or thrives. With that in mind, I offer this quick how-to guide to use in counseling, teaching, parenting and elsewhere.

One of my specialty areas is helping children and teens cope with loss. The truth is that children are not uniform creatures and there is no one single right way to talk to a child about death and dying. Having said that, I can offer a few guidelines that are easy for adults to remember and use. I have crafted these how-to steps to be useable by school counselors, teachers, juvenile court staff, social workers and other professionals but these tips have been written to be readily accessible by parents and non-professionals too.

school counselorFirst, use actual life events as your jumping off point rather than mechanically or artificially stage a conversation. Parents can start the conversation as young as they wish, but around 2 years old is a general suggestion for where to start. So, Mom can say "Please don't stomp that bug because he could end up dead," and then be ready to explain what "dead" means. The explanation of "dead" must be concrete enough that a small child can understand it so pairing the discussion with the concept of "all gone" works great. Use an object and hide it to teach "all gone."


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student assistanceSecond, don't worry too much if the child gets the concept of death the first times it's discussed. You're building up to the a more complete understanding as the child ages and develops. Ideally, Moms and Dads should let the child take the lead, and seek questions that should be gently answered. This is an incremental process. If a death occurs in the life of a young child before the concept has been successfully communicated, then aim to give pieces of the concept bit by bit. Give too much and the child will get overwhelmed and their brain can stop absorbing new information on the topic.

Third, children's brains aren't fully developed so abstract, non-concrete concepts can be confusing. Let them use their frame of reference like having a "ghost dog" that a child imagines after the death of a beloved pet. Creations like "ghost dog" are completely normal and actually quite helpful. It takes the whole huge idea of death– something even us adults struggle with– and cuts it down to be a bit more pint-size. Parents can help their children think up their own creations to bridge the gap if their children don't devise their own "ghost dog." For example, a child might create drawings of the departed pet as a way to remember it, and let it "live" on– if only as their picture on the refrigerator.

student mental healthFourth, older children and teens do grasp the concept of death and how finite it is. However their immature brains can struggle to cope when there is a loss. For teens who do have good abstract thinking abilities, the focus should be especially tuned into how the older child or teen is coping. Counselors, teachers, school staff and parents shouldn't just judge the book by its cover, and should be alert for acting-out or more covert acting-in behaviors like substance abuse, self-endangering or problems in school.

Finally, loss is part of life, and is just another difficult job that should fall to parents. Waiting to address the subject until the child is older is never a good plan. It will always be tougher for a school counselor to step in late in the game than for a parent to be gently imparting information all along the way.

For parents who are unsure of when to introduce talking about death, sooner is better. So long as they are gentle and let the child take the lead, while observing for distress, it is always better for parents to tell the truth about life– even when the truth is tough to take.

 

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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
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    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


Student Motivation Problems Stop Here: How to Motivate Students Who Don’t Care About School

 

how to motivate students article

 

Student Motivation Problems Stop Here:
How to Motivate Students
Who Don't Care About School

 
 

motivational workshops

 

If you’re completely fed up trying to get the student in your life to look, sound or act like a student should, you can relax. Help is here.

Finally, whether you’re a teacher or parent, you’re going to have the fun, fast, effective ways you need to motivate kids to succeed in school. Yes, even your kid. How do I know? I'm Workshop Presenter and Author Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. First, I’ve spent my whole life as a teacher educator, developing lively, unexpected, more effective methods to motivate even the most motionless youngster. Second, I don’t just talk the talk. I walk the walk. I managed to produce two successful students, one now a special ed teacher, and one a social worker— but there was a time when one of them could rival any of the most do-nothing, “I’ll do it later” offspring out there.

So, parents and teachers, check out a few of my surprising, hard-to-forget, even harder-to-ignore motivational methods for your most unmotivated students.
 

How to Motivate Students
 

Stop Talking So Much


That’s right. Pure talk is easily ignored. Kids may hear “blah blah blah.” Even if they do hear what you call “talking”– and they call “lecturing”– your message lasts just seconds or mere minutes. Switch to unexpected, impossible-to-forget methods that aren’t always just verbiage, and most definitely are not lectures that can be ignored or reduced to “blah blah blah.”
 

Use Methods That Are Attention-Grabbing and Simply Unforgettable
 

This intervention speaks for itself. It is our Poster #1 and it's ideal for older teens who are failing in school or often truant. It works well visually as a sign or poster, but even when spoken, it makes a much more effective intervention that more lecturing.

Especially when used as a poster, this method is simply insidious. It just nags and haunts every time they see it. Students can’t get it out of their mind— and isn’t that absolutely what you wanted to accomplish.

One of the most important steps to motivating apathetic kids is to get their attention and keep it. This device, which is one of my most famous motivational posters, will do that.


 

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poster motivates students

Poster #316

Detour Around Resistance with Humor
 

Absolutely nothing is more effective to beat back resistance to change than humor. Poster #316 is the perfect example of that. It is tough for a kid to stay defiant and oppositional when they’re laughing. Humor can be short and sweet, and still deliver your motivational method more effectively than even the longest lecture. Check out one of my recent creations, Poster #316, shown at right.

 

 

 

 

 

Classroom poster motivates students

Poster #128

Go Nuclear
 

For the Facebook generation, it has to be over-the-top to register and stick, so use methods that are edgy, unexpected and most importantly, so surprising that your message can’t be ignored and won’t be forgotten.

Simply posting an official looking document like my popular Poster #128, shown here, will generate upset, surprise and worry—and that may be what it takes to motivate older, tougher, really resistant adolescents.

 

 

 

 

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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.


How to Motivate the Most Unmotivated Students Today

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

How to Motivate
the Most Unmotivated Students Today


It's Easier & Faster Than You Think

 

Strategies Include FREE Printable Posters

 
 

Get This Poster FREE 

motivational classroom posterThere are so many unmotivated students and yet, most teacher and counselor university training programs contain few courses that offer specific, practical, real-world motivational methods to effectively build motivation.

Even though they have been offered minimal motivational strategies, teachers and counselors are still expected to successfully perform their jobs despite their lack of vital tools. Facing dozens of unmotivated, apathetic, indifferent, failing students, today's teachers and counselors can feel like a pilot without a plane or a hairdresser without scissors. It's tough to successfully do your work without proper tools.

As a professional development trainer for the past two decades, I how to motivate studentshave amassed hundreds of the most innovative, up-to-date motivational strategies that exist for use with unmotivated K12 students. My name is Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. and "Motivation" is practically my middle name. I've spent my professional career creating and perfecting motivational strategies that are unexpected, compelling, intense and far more effective than what you are using now.

Did you notice the poster above? You can download a printable version of it free or purchase a pre-printed 11" x 17" version of Poster #323. In this issue, you're going to get lots of free motivational resources and strategies that you will find work so much better than whatever you are doing now.
 

Marvelous Strategies
to Motivate Unmotivated Students
 

motivational classroom posterMotivational Strategy #1

Get This Poster FREE
 

Poster #323 works when conventional motivational strategies fail because it takes an indirect approach. If you offer similar information verbally and more directly, the typical teen will fight it, ignore it or debate it. You can't question a poster on the wall. Instead, the poster nags, cajoles and reminds, eating away at the student's resistance over time.

You don't have to purchase the poster to use this intervention. The phrase pictured can be used verbally if you wish. If you do prefer to buy it for $8 pre-printed, order it here. However, if you would like to download this poster for free– along with other items offered at no charge in this issue– take these 2 steps by 1-31-14:

  1. Share our website with a colleague using this link. Or, share our site by posting our link (http://www.youthchg.com) on Facebook or elsewhere. Be sure to tell us where you posted.
  2. Click here and an email form will open. Use this form to email us to request the freebies. We'll email you the link to all the no-fee resources mentioned in this blog issue.
     

Motivational Strategy #2

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motivational posterHere's another effective motivational strategy that can be implemented verbally, but the visual version may have more power since it is on-going and verbiage is momentary.

This strategy teaches students that a high school diploma is worth $329,000 more lifetime income than a dropout earns. That's a powerful motivator that every K12 student should know.

To use this motivational tool with elementary students and children who have limited math skills, use piles of play money to illustrate the difference in income then ask the students which pile of money they would like to have for themselves. When students select the bigger pile, note that finishing school is the most likely route to the most money.

Get Poster #324, pictured above, as a printable poster, or order it as a medium size, pre-printed poster for $8.


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Motivational Strategy #3

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dropout prevention resourcesHere's a student motivation strategy that just might be one of the most overwhelmingly persuasive and powerful strategies anywhere. You can use the facts pictured on Poster #311; you don't have to get the poster. If you would like to get the poster, you can get it as a free printable poster or as a pre-printed poster for $8. You can view this poster enlarged to better read the content.

Among the hard-to-forget facts that can stay with even your most resistant, hard-to-reach students: Dropouts earn $143 less per week than high school grads and are 4 times as likely to be unemployed. However, the total list of consequences will have more impact than a few selected hazards. The goal of this strategy is to overwhelm the unmotivated student's denial and make the consequences of dropping out hard to forget, and even harder to live through.

 

Motivational Strategy #4
 

classroom posterAt our live workshops, participants always ask for motivational methods that help students project into the future. Many teachers complain that their students feel the future is light-years away and thus, not relevant. We have hundreds of methods to powerfully demonstrate to students that the future is closer than they think, but Poster #330 offers a very graphic, concrete way to convey that to unmotivated students.

This poster shows a car mirror. The mirror has an inscription that says "The future is closer than you think."  To maximize the impact, you can print this inscription onto clear stickers and paste onto an old car mirror. Alternatively, you can create the image and inscription on your computer and display it on a screen. You can also offer the words verbally. If you prefer to buy Poster #330 it is $8, and printed on high gloss, medium weight poster paper.

 

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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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An Expert Explains How to Manage Students with Oppositional-Defiant Disorder

 

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An Expert Explains
How to Manage Students with
Oppositional-Defiant Disorder

 
 

 

O.D.D. workshopOppositional Defiant Disorder is a mental health diagnostic term that can be applied by a mental health professional to describe some severely misbehaved youth and children. Although this youngster may be a real handful to manage, this diagnosis is an infinitely more hopeful and workable one than Conduct Disorder, which can appear similar.

I'm Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. and my work in the trenches, and years of training teachers, counselors and juvenile justice staff have helped me to learn a lot about Oppositional Defiant Disorder, also referred to as ODD.

help with O.D.D.In our workshop, even many mental health professionals confuse the differences between oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD). Although there are similarities between these two types of seriously misbehaved youth, some of the ways you work with these kids differ dramatically. In fact, many methods that are essential to work with ODDs are not just ineffective, but dangerous with CDs. The most common example of this is character ed, which tends to make the CD's behavior much worse.

We covered CDs and ODDs in articles in the 2nd and 3rd issues of this Behavior and Classroom Management Blog, but here's a very quick recap. So if you're not a subscriber to our blog of educational articles on behavior and classroom management strategies, here's some of what you've been missing. (Sign up for the blog here.)

 

 

Recap


Oppositional Defiant Disorder
vs
Conduct Disorder

ODDs probably have a conscience and remorse, but neither of these seem to be much in evidence. CDs are considered much more severely disturbed, and much more likely to engage in extremely dangerous and/or problematic behavior. By definition, CDs lack meaningful relationship capacity.

Here's a pop quiz to test your knowledge. Don't worry, the answers are below.

These questions capture some of the most common misconceptions and questions we constantly hear in our workshops about these two types of hard-to-manage youth. However, the brief answers provided here are absolutely no substitute for mastering how to effectively and safely work with severely acting-out youth and children, so be sure to come to one of our workshops around the country. (We even still have $84 half-price scholarship work study slots open in most of the cities if you're on a budget.)

teacher online coursesOr, you may want to purchase one of our instant download ebooks like All the Best Answers for the Worst Kid Problems: Conduct Disorders if you want more information immediately. If this information is new, you can actually find that your class and group management problems can rapidly improve as a result. You can be reading our ebooks in less than 60 seconds, and they cost just $15. If you do not do well on the quiz, the reality is that you are much more vulnerable to continuing safety and effectiveness concerns.

Here's the Quiz on
Oppositional Defiant Disorder vs
Conduct Disorder

1. Animal abuse is particularly characteristic of… ODDs or CDs?

2. Evoking remorse is a strategy that should only be used with…ODDs or CDs?

3. There has been a big increase in the number of kids diagnosed as…ODD or CD?

4. ODD leads to CD…or does CD lead to ODD?

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Answers:
Quiz on
Oppositional Defiant Disorder vs
Conduct Disorder

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1. Animal abuse isn't a litmus test for CD, but some mental health experts believe it almost could be. Animal abuse is tightly correlated with CD.

2. Most mental health experts, though not all, believe that the heart of being a CD is having no heart or conscience. Therefore, evoking remorse in a CD won't work, and could make things much worse. Getting that conscience "in gear" is often central to working with ODDs.

3. There has been a big increase in all manner of severe emotional problems over the last few years, especially in younger children. No study has yet revealed the explanation for this general increase but CDs and ODDs are part of this trend. CDs are especially increasing in number, so it is more important than ever to understand this problem and to learn basic mental health terms and concepts even if you are a teacher, after-school program worker, principal, court worker or other professional or para-professional who didn't really sign up to work with the most seriously disturbed youth and children.

4. ODD does not morph into CD, nor does CD change into ODD. Sometimes a child will be diagnosed as ODD but the therapist may really suspect CD. Because CD is such a serious diagnosis, clinicians are often very deliberate and slow to formally apply that label. This is an appropriate amount of care, but to the non-clinician, it can appear that the child must have changed from ODD to CD, when what really happened is that the clinician was finally able to make a definite determination of CD.

Key Strategies for

Oppositional-Defiant Students

Here's some key strategies to use with ODDs. Remember: Most of these won't work with CDs, and can make the problems worse!

  • Skill Training: Teach the youth to properly manage his or her fist, mouth and actions. This is critical– especially if the child doesn't get this training at home: kids can not use skills they haven't been taught.
  • Relationship-Based Approaches: Developing a bond with this child can yield results.
  • Activate the Conscience: It is critical to evoke remorse and regret for problem behaviors.
  • Consequences Count: They are just one part of the solution but shouldn't be overlooked. Offer consequences as soon as possible. Be careful about second chances or lightening the consequence.
  • Problem Peers: ODDs get into plenty of trouble on their own and need no help from CDs to engage in misbehavior. Keep ODDs tracked to positive peers. Limit their contact with CDs.
  • Observe for CD: If you are not a mental health professional, consult one if you feel that your ODD child is so seriously and extremely misbehaved that he or she should be examined for a possible CD diagnosis.

LEARN MORE: You've just read only a small portion of the information that youth professionals need to safely and successfully work with oppositional-defiant youth. Come to our workshop or visit more of our huge web site to get more of the key information and strategies you must have to work with one the most difficult-of-all youth. It is truly a matter of ensuring safety and enhancing your effectiveness with your most uncontrollable youngsters.

ODD workshop Our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop courses (live and online seminars), plus our books and ebooks can stop the confusion, misinformation and uncertainty about how to consistently and successfully manage severely acting- out youngsters.
 

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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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    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
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How to Prevent School Violence: Mental Detectors not Metal Detectors

 

 

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How to Prevent School Violence:
Mental Detectors
not Metal Detectors

 

 

At our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshops around the country, youth professionals continue to report seeing more and more children from deeply troubled homes. If you are not a mental health worker, your college training may not have prepared you for working with children whose behavior is driven by the trauma they endure at home. This Behavior and Classroom Management Blog issue gives you a few of the basics all youth professionals need to know in order to maximize their ability to successfully do their job with children from deeply troubled homes. However, please note that these introductory basics are just the very start of the information you'll need.

how to prevent school violenceI am Youth Change Director, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. At age 21, I began my career in a locked state hospital setting working with the most violent youth in Oregon. The first day on the job, I was severely bitten by a 12 year-old felon. That injury plagued me for years. I resolved at that moment to learn everything I could about out-of-control children and teens. I realized that nothing I had learned in college prepared me for the real world of working with acting-out, violent students. I was surprised that I had to piece together the answers I needed, that there was no apparent ready-to-go source of specific, updated, real-world strategies. Let me share with you some of what I learned about how to prevent youth violence.

Due to the short space I have here, this article focuses more on potentially violent children who may be bullied, depressed, in crisis or have huge family problems. However, many violent students and potentially violent students evidence another dynamic. Read more about those youngsters in another Behavior and Classroom Management Blog educational article.

As more and more contemporary children seem to have major family problems compared to years past, it is absolutely critical that both you and your team thoroughly know mental health basics. Since studies emphasize that seeing and helping distressed youth are the primary ways to prevent school shootings, that's another reason that non-mental health youth professionals like educators must upgrade their skills right away. As Richard Lawrence of St. Cloud State University has noted, "We need more mental detectors, not metal detectors in schools."

 

Effective, Updated
School Violence Prevention Strategies
 

student violence prevention How to Prevent School Violence
See the Pain

How are your "mental detection" skills? Some youth professionals never notice that they're working with children in distress. Not noticing makes it more likely that you might add to the child's burdens, and these children already carry a heavy load. You may also miss any cues that show that this is a child who could one day explode in violence.

Learn to look deeper into problems like sleeping in class, depression, back talk, irritability, and poor performance, to consider if family problems could be the cause. For example, a child may sleep in class not because she's "just a lazy kid" but because it's the only place she has free from the all-night roar of Dad hitting and berating Mom.

 

student violence prevention How to Prevent School Violence
You Can't Fix It


If you are not a family therapist, be careful about focusing your efforts on changing the family. Veteran counselors struggle to impact severely troubled families. Non-family counselors are unlikely to have the desired impact because they lack the time, expertise, and training to succeed. As a non-mental health worker, your expertise lies with children. Put your energy there instead. You can certainly encourage the family to seek counseling, but understand that family therapy should not be provided by people outside the mental health field.

 

student violence prevention How to Prevent School Violence
Offer Accommodations


The night after a beating, it can be tough to focus on math. If you have data to indicate abuse, of course you report it, but if you only suspect trauma, be prepared to offer accommodations. If you give traumatized youngsters time to process and recover from recent crises, they will work as hard as they can on days that they are able. Can you fairly ask any more of a human being than that? Since school shooters often feel persecuted or badly treated by others, here is another reason to show you are sensitive and caring instead of adding to the perception that people are mean and just don't care.

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student violence prevention How to Prevent School Violence
Fill in the Gaps


If you can't get the family to do their job, then you fill in the gaps. For example, you may help a child devise a plan to wake up for school each morning, but have granola bars, sox, and other items that the child may need in order to function throughout the day at your site. It's tragic that you must cover for the family to such an extent but if you don't, the child will continue to suffer, and may be so distracted by his unmet physical needs that he can't benefit from the services your site offers. Since studies show that many school shooters were having trouble coping, that is another compelling reason to fill in the gaps. Most school shooters are also young males, thus the use of that particular pronoun here.

 

student violence prevention How to Prevent School Violence
Evaluate and Upgrade Deficit Skills


Here is a very quick way to see if your team members are competent "mental detectors" able to spot children in distress. Can your team members name the 4 most common mental health/ family problems that children face? The answer is included in our Follow-Up Resources section immediately below, but before you scroll down to look, stop and consider if you know the answer. (To all our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop past participants: you should all know this.)

If all the members of your team cannot name these 4 problems, how can they spot children with these concerns? Teams that do not know how to spot distress lack the ability to prevent school shootings. Don't believe us? This assertion originates with the 2003 Secret Service/ U.S. Dept. of Ed study on school shooters. Upgrade deficient skills now– for the sake of students who suffer– and to more effectively ensure that a shooting never happens at your site. As the study indicates, metal detectors will never work as well as mental detectors.

 

student violence prevention How to Prevent School Violence
Follow-up Resources


Did you know the top 4 mental health/family problems that children face? These problems can affect the child directly or another family member. These problems are: 1) substance abuse; 2) severe emotional disturbance; 3) sexual abuse; and 4) physical, verbal or emotional abuse. If you didn't know this, that means you need to upgrade your skills. Some suggestions: our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop is a fast, comprehensive option. You don't have to come to a live class. You can also get the entire course online, and you can bring the workshop to your site or conference. We still have popular back-to- school dates open for on-site inservice sessions, but they are rapidly disappearing. Call to schedule your class now: 1.800.545.5736.

Another resource: Our Child's Guide to Surviving in a Troubled Family is full of lessons to ease the difficulties that distressed children endure. It is $15. If these options don't meet your needs, email us for help finding resources that would work for you. We care about you and your students and we are here to help. Please note that many of our resources are free or low cost, and we offer scholarships to our workshops.

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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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How to Teach Students to Pay Attention in School

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

How to Teach Students
to Pay Attention in School

 
 

 

Classroom management strategiesSome days, it can seem impossible to get youngsters to pay attention. Here are some great strategies to help you to teach students to more successfully pay attention.

This educational article is written by Ruth Herman Wells, Director of Youth Change and veteran motivational workshop speaker and trainer. I've spent decades learning everything I can about how to help challenged students to succeed in school. I'm confident that these innovative classroom management strategies will work as well for you as they do for me. Starting tomorrow, you can have more of your students paying attention– and maintaining their focus longer.
 

Strategies That Teach Students

How to Pay Attention in School

 

How to Pay Attention
Strategy

 

pay attention1. Teach Visual Tracking

Few schools or counseling centers actually teach youngsters how to pay attention, but kids won't magically learn these skills on their own– even if you consequence or sanction them. Among the first skills to teach: visual tracking. Here is a sample strategy, but multiple repetitions using an array of methods will be needed. See the follow-up resources below for additional techniques: Use a magnet and metal to illustrate how students' eyes should be "stuck" on the teacher.

 

How to Pay Attention
Strategy

 

teach students to pay attention2. Do the Unexpected

Read this one carefully or you will definitely miss something that is worth a lot. The technique is to hide something.

Remember when you were young, you wondered "Does the teacher really read my term paper?" so you wrote the word "PEANUT BUTTER" in the middle of the paper to see if she was paying attention enough to even notice. You can use a similar technique with students: Bury the announcement of a reward or goodie deep into a handout or the paperwork for a task.

 

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How to Pay Attention
Strategy

 

 

strategies for paying attention 3. Teach Distraction Control Skills

Among the skills that schools and agencies expect from students, but neglect to teach: managing distractions. Here is one sample strategy, but be prepared to use a variety of methods and many repetitions before the concepts are sufficiently implanted.

Teach students that distractions are "attention-grabbers," then show them how to avoid, modify, ignore, or request help to manage them. You can use a TV, iPod, radio, fan or other noise-generating items to demonstrate avoiding, modifying, ignoring, and getting help with distractions. Don't limit yourself to just audible distractions. Include other types– such as visual distractions– by simply having someone walk through the room, or you can place an unusual or interesting object where students will notice.

 

How to Pay Attention
Strategy

 

distracted student4. Teach Maintaining Focus

It's not just students who have ADHD who have trouble focusing. This is yet another necessary and expected skill that is typically not taught. Again, you will need a variety of interventions, but here is one dynamic technique to start with.

The idea of sustaining a focus is tough to communicate, especially to younger students, and to kids with challenges. If a child can't conceptualize the target behavior, there is little chance they can do it, so it's important to successfully convey a picture of the desired behavior. To give a picture, play a game called "Focus on This." Ask students to focus on an item, such as the clock on the wall. Challenge them to stay focused for 1 minute, then 2 minutes, and so forth. Don't limit yourself to the visual aspects of focusing. Repeat the game but this time, choose an activity that requires listening, and use sound bites or music excerpts for the focus. A fun follow-up is to see who can maintain their focus the longest despite distractions that you create. This follow-up method teaches students how to maintain focus despite distractions. If you offer a reward to the student who focuses longest, you will have a lot of fun while thoroughly "cementing in" the concepts.

 

How to Pay Attention
Strategy

 

pay attentionWant More Strategies to
Teach Students to Pay Attention
?

We can help you locate the resources you need. You can call us at 1.503.982.4220 or email us. You can also reach us through Live Help. You can also find hundreds of additional strategies in our Problem Student Problem-Solver Store.

 

teacher store

 

 

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/pay-attention-in-school/

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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.