5 Must-Know Facts About Trauma-Sensitive Teaching

 

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5 Must-Know Facts About

Trauma-Sensitive Teaching

 
 


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classroom management help

classroom management help

classroom management help

 

 

 

 

 

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Coupon Code: 30% OFF Portland OR 2019 | Valid through 10-09-19
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Portland, OR: October 10-11, 2019

Seattle, WA: April 23-24, 2020

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5 Must-Know Facts About Trauma-Sensitive Teaching

Trauma-sensitive teaching is a term that you’ve probably been hearing used a lot lately. You may be wondering what that term means. This issue of the Problem Student Problem-Solver is going to explain all that, plus provide solutions and strategies.

Unless you’re a beginning teacher, over the past decade you’ve probably noticed the dramatic increase in the amount of emotional, social and behavioral problems that students present. But, you’ve probably noticed that it’s not just that there’s been a big increase. You’ve probably noticed that the severity of these problems has also increased, and that the problems seems to be starting earlier and earlier.

trauma-sensitive teachingHello from Youth Change Workshops’ Director Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. Counselors, therapists and other mental health professionals like me, have long referred to the elementary years as the “latency” years. That term means that emotional, social and behavioral problems are usually less frequent and less severe during students’ earlier years. However, there are plenty of elementary teachers that now find that term to be woefully out of date as they report seeing far more severe and far more frequent issues in the youngest students. That’s why this article is going to include strategies for K through 12th grades.

Trauma-sensitive teaching AKA trauma-informed teaching simply means that the teacher is skilled in working sensitively and effectively with students who have faced or are facing traumatic events such as a death, severe illness, abuse, homelessness, crises or similar. Prior to the move towards making sure that more teachers know about trauma and how to teach students facing it, there were not widespread efforts to try to better ensure that teachers didn’t add to the problems faced by a traumatized child or teen.

So, for example, a teacher might have stated at the start of the year that students must get their homework in on time and there will never be any exceptions for any reason. However, imagine a student was up all night trying to somehow stop Dad from beating up Mom. By not allowing that student any accommodation of any type– despite the child’s very difficult situation– that can easily add to the damage that the youngster is enduring. Trauma-sensitive teaching means that the teacher carefully attempts to avoid adding more burdens and potential damage to the students’ already heavy burdens.

Trauma-sensitive teaching also means that the teacher realizes that many students may face profoundly serious problems that the teacher doesn’t know much or anything about– but is still expected to not add to the child woes. This may sound impossible, but we’ll show you in the facts listed below that it is in fact doable.

Trauma-sensitive teaching is all about finding a balance between what trauma a student may be facing, or has faced, and still offering this youngster a complete education. Sometimes it can feel like those two goals are incompatible and not easy to balance at all. However, this article is going to help you successfully find the balance between being sensitive to any trauma the child has endured, and your mission to educate.

5 Must-Know Facts AboutTrauma-Sensitive Teaching

trauma-informed teaching1.  Find the Balance Between
Trauma & Education

While it can seem to be difficult trying to find the balance between being sensitive to the trauma and providing academic instruction, it is actually not that hard once you have the facts included in this article.

Here is an important fact that will help: You never abandon your mission to educate, but you don’t accomplish it at all costs. Going back to the example of the child whose father was beating the child’s mother all night, if you don’t allow the child an accommodation such as completing the homework a day late, you are definitely adding a lot of misery to the shoulders of a child who may already be struggling to function.

While it certainly is laudable to hold high standards for students such as “no late assignments ever accepted,” the cost of that policy can be devastating to the child. Further, at a time when suicide rates, attempted suicide rates and self-harm are on the rise, no one can know what can push a student farther into deep despair, maybe even over the edge. By providing education in a way that takes the child’s trauma into consideration, you strike the balance between the child’s woes and your mission to educate.

Instead of unilateral policies with no room for adjustments, a better expectation is for students to work as hard as they can on days they are able, and to get some type of accommodation at other times. This guideline may not be appropriate for other populations but for traumatized students, it’s not just necessary, but critical. Remember: You may be the only sane, sober, humane adult in the child’s universe. If you become one more adult making their life even more terrifying and miserable, that can really crystallize a student’s despair and help drive them to hurt themselves, skip school or class, or just give up entirely.

 

2.  You Don’t Have to Know Exactly What the Trauma Is

It can feel like you’re in the dark. There may be a few subtle or not-so-subtle clues that a student is facing or has faced significant trauma, but a lot of the time, you may feel that you just don’t have enough information to guide you to determine who may be facing trauma and who isn’t. Here’s the good news: You don’t need to know exactly what is troubling a student, to know that you need to work very carefully and methodically to avoid adding to the load that the child is already shouldering. Here’s a way to remember this point: Must you see the skunk if you can smell it? Most people say that smelling the skunk is sufficient. Your students often give you tiny clues that they are coping with trauma. You don’t need to know the whole story to know that you want to be very careful that you’re your teaching is trauma-sensitive teaching– because if it’s not, you are very likely damaging or exacerbating the stress that the student is already coping with. Of course, if you do become aware of evidence of abuse or similar, you are a mandated reporter who much immediately notify the appropriate authorities.

If you follow the guideline listed in Step 1 above, you are going to be adjusting your expectations for possibly traumatized students by maximizing your expectations for academics when the child is more functional, and reducing those expectations when the child appears to be– or tells you- that they are struggling.

 

3.  To Better Understand Students’ Trauma, Remember Your Own Crises

Adults usually face crises and trauma at a lower rate than students, but you should be able to think back to a car accident, a death or fire that you lived through to remember what trauma feels like. Do you remember that after the car accident, you couldn’t focus for more than a few seconds, you just hunkered down in bed and didn’t even seem able to pull it together to get dressed?

While you face trauma perhaps only occasionally, your students can face it hourly, daily, weekly or monthly. They may live with beatings, sexual abuse, domestic violence, hunger, poverty, mental illness or verbal abuse. Like you, they feel a lot of the time that they can’t focus, they just want to stay in bad, and they feel too beleaguered to even get dressed. When you felt like this, no boss could have just mandated that you pull it together because you were already doing as good as you could. Your students feel exactly the same. Coping with the trauma takes everything they have, leaving scant resources to learn at a time when simply getting out of bed or getting dressed can seem absolutely overwhelming.

If you pressure a student to perform when facing trauma, you are causing more damage. When your rules don’t allow any exceptions even for a child whose dad hasn’t come home all week, you are causing more damage. That is why using only trauma-sensitive strategies in your classroom is so incredibly important. Either you use them with students who may live with trauma– or you cause more damage.

Are you worried that some students will take advantage of trauma-informed strategies? Read on to find out if that’s an issue.

 

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trauma-sensitive teaching guide4. Trauma-Sensitive Teaching Methods
Are Not Likely to be Exploited by Traumatized Students

Because teachers are given little training on juvenile mental health, many educators just guess at what to do when faced with students’ emotional problems. When it comes to students’ emotions, many educators may use one-size-fits-all methods with everyone in their class– even though they would never use one-size-fits-all academic strategies. For example, most educators will not try to get all their students to use one textbook because some students need a more advanced option, and others need a more basic option. By switching to trauma-sensitive strategies, teachers are no longer using one-size-fits-all strategies when it comes to students’ emotional functioning.

Trauma-sensitive strategies are not going to be needed with many youngsters who are fortunate enough to not be struggling with trauma. By using trauma-sensitive methods only with students who may be facing trauma, you are avoiding using the strategies with other populations who might very well take advantage of the accommodations offered. So, yes, non-traumatized students might try to exploit trauma-sensitive teaching strategies. By restricting the use of these methods to students who are in need of this type of approach, you limit or eliminate the risk of students manipulating the methods to take unfair advantage.

For students who do live with current or past trauma, they are unlikely to exploit trauma-sensitive approaches. Here’s why: First, remember back to when you last experienced trauma. Remember how you couldn’t even think straight? Remember how you had too little energy to do anything? Your students feel that way too. They would have trouble organizing their thoughts to exploit the methods. They will have little energy to exploit the methods. And, because you are perhaps the only sane, sober adult in their life, they are not going to want to risk jeopardizing their lifeline.

 

5.  Avoid The Most Common Trauma-Sensitive Teaching Errors

Some staff members look at a traumatized student and say that while they feel bad for the youngster’s difficult situation, that they have to be fair and rigorous in their academic instruction and expectations. A teacher adhering to this philosophy may never allow a traumatized student to submit an assignment late or to take a make-up exam, for example. While it’s great that this teacher is so tightly focused on helping students achieve, this style of instruction unfortunately means that struggling students are being compelled to function at times when they are so deeply in crisis, that almost any functioning is difficult perhaps impossible– never mind learning and mastering new and challenging academics. If you remember back to that car accident you were in, or when you were almost badly hurt in a tornado, there were periods of time when even routine tasks like hygiene and eating were difficult or impossible for you to do. Some of your students face tornado-sized trauma at home or in the community. They can’t function just like you couldn’t function.

Other staff members on your team look at a traumatized student and say that they are so concerned about the youngster that they just aren’t going to expect anything from them. While it’s great that this teacher is being so sensitive to the trauma that a student may be dealing with, but based on this outlook, the teacher may not be offering the child enough academics to prepare the child for life and adulthood. While this viewpoint is the opposite of the view described in the paragraph above, it too has both positive and negative implications for the student coping with trauma. With this viewpoint, the child will be spared avoidable stress and pressure, but the world is not going to care about what this student lived through. The world will still expect this child to be able to spell, make change and fill in job applications– all skills the child may lack if their teacher doesn’t expect anything from them due to the trauma.

Holding one of these two viewpoints is a common way that teachers fail to achieve trauma-sensitive teaching. Now that you are aware of these common pitfalls, you will be able to avoid them. By balancing these two viewpoints, you find the sweet spot that is trauma-sensitive teaching.

 

 

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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
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Back-to-School Bad Behavior Stoppers

 

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Back-to-School
Bad Behavior Stoppers
 

 


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classroom management help

classroom management help

 

 

 

 

 

30% OFF!expert classroom management tools

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Behavior & Budget Problems Stop Here

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Back-to-School

Bad Behavior Stoppers

If back-to-school means back-to-school behavior problems, you’re going to love the problem-stopping classroom management interventions we’ve packed inside this issue. Using these dynamic behavior management interventions can make the rest of your school year so much better.K-12 Keynote Speaker Ruth Herman Wells

Hello and Happy New School Year from me, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S., the Director and Trainer for Youth Change Workshops. For over two decades, I’ve been training teachers, counselors, principals, and youth professionals around North America. From helping so many schools for so long, I’ve definitely learned that no matter how rough the start of the school year has been, we can still help. In addition to offering you intensive live workshops, on-site training, online courses, and streaming behavior management workshops, we’ve packed some of our best behavior management strategies into this issue. But, if you want more than the sampling of great student management methods included in this article, come to Portland, Oregon on October 10-11, 2019 for the full deal, the entire 10 hour Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop.  There’s a terrific 30% off offer at the top of this article so here’s your chance to get the landmark, problem-stopping workshop at a bargain price. You’ll leave with 200 of our most powerful strategies, methods so state-of-the-art, that you just can’t get them anywhere else.

 

Back-to-School

Bad Behavior Stoppers

Strategies

 

how to motivate studentsMotivation: The Secret Sauce

Yes, sadly, we all know that there’s no magic answers when it comes to getting students to behave and follow the rules, but motivation just may be the fastest and best overlooked answer. Pictured at right is a bad behavior intervention that is very potent, and, even better, you can use it in a variety of ways. This is our Poster #724 but the best use of this device is to create a real version of that wheel that is pictured and have students play Wheel of Misfortune, where they spin to see what life challenges they may face as adults when life strikes. The wheel has bad breaks like “lose wallet,” “flood,” and “sick dog.” For each spin, as part of a class discussion, students can detail how a lack of education and skills could make the challenge even harder to deal with.

You can follow this game with a Wheel of Better Fortune, and in this version, students can describe how having education and skills can have them ready to conquer each incident of adversity. You are essentially using a game format to market and re-brand school and education as critical to surviving as an adult. Using this type of distracting format makes it difficult for students to maintain their oppositional behavior and contrary nature. When they get caught up in the game and discussion, your message about the incredible value of school and education may sink in a lot more than words could ever do. This type of modality will deliver your message infinitely faster than using mere verbiage that students can easily ignore or dismiss.

Motivation has the power to change everything, including and especially students’ behavior. Once students are more convinced of the enormous, lifetime value of school, their behavior can start to shift. Of course, you still need to teach the behavior skills that you want your students to have, but motivation makes a terrific first step towards less back-to-school bad behavior.

 

Take Repeat Behavior Problems Off Repeat

back-to-school successIt seems sometimes that the same kids are having the same bad behavior problems starting with back-to-school and well beyond. If you can reduce the repetitive problems, that can really make a dent in the amount of student behavioral issues you have to cope with each hour. So, for students who repeat problem behaviors and dig in their heels to stand behind their mistakes, we show you our Poster #740. You don’t need to buy the poster, but you will want to start using the phrase and concepts shown on this poster. The poster says: The First Rule of Holes: When You’re in One, Stop Digging. This phrase can introduce the idea that stopping bad behavior sooner is a success– versus continuing to persist in problem conduct. You can actually teach students that by stopping sooner, they are making valuable progress towards managing their acting-out issues. Students rarely just stop entrenched behavior problems. Any progress towards improvement is usually a very much up and down pattern.

By acknowledging and praising stopping bad behavior sooner, you are helping break the cycle that often is the source of the bad conduct in the first place. The cycle tends to look like this: The student uses problem behavior and is confronted. The student feels bad about having been caught and perhaps also feels bad that they misbehaved. Feeling bad creates the perfect condition to misbehave. It’s similar to you and that cake in the refrigerator. You ate one big piece and felt terrible about it. So, what did you do? Feeling awful about your over-consumption, you figure you may as well have another piece. Welcome to the First Rule of Holes. It works the same for us adults as it does for your students.

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student inspirational posterEncourage Discouraged Students

Feelings cause behavior. Feelings like frustration, hopelessness, discouragement and self-hatred can help create the perfect storm because they are the spark that ignites the behavior problems that you then have to manage. By helping students cope with or moderate their feelings, you dramatically lessen the fuel for the next meltdown or big behavior problem. One way to temper outbursts that stem from discouragement is to help students understand that they may not be as big failures as they feel they are. So many students are seriously down on themselves whether they voice it or not. Certainly, being unhappy with yourself predisposes a child to use problem behavior. Poster #551 gives you six examples to use to show students that most of the people who are big successes in life, first faced and overcame challenges that are similar to their own. Enlarge the picture to better read the details on the poster. You can also check out another similar poster, Poster #537, to see six more examples you can use to start a class discussion. By showing your students that their ups and downs are just like those of highly successful people, you remove a lot of the troubling feelings that contribute to behavioral issues.

 

classroom management helpStructure to the Rescue

I will never understand why adults allow chronic behavior problems to continue. For example, many teachers can struggle to get all their students to settle in at the start of class. They can spend minutes saying “Okay, settle down,” “Get in your seats” and “Stop talking please.” Instead, these same teachers could use structure to solve the problem before it happened. Poster #252 shows you one example of structure that transforms the problems at the start of class into no problems at the start of class.

Beginning with a high five clap, students join the teacher at the start of class by making motions that show they have two eyes watching, two ears listening and one mouth shut. This structure replaces the pleas for seats and quiet. For older grades, a simple rhythmic clap sequence can perform the same magic. I have seen educators at the start of an assembly, instantly quiet hundreds of noisy students without saying a single word. They simply initiate the clap sequence and instantly have perfect quiet. Why would anyone continue to beg for quiet when they can clap and instantly get it?

Structure is the solution for many chronic problems. Getting quiet at the start of class is just one example of how structure can solve it all. Structure also can help solve problems with hallway behavior, talk outs, attendance, verbiage, discussion skills– and almost any other chronic problem you face this school year.

 

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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 Five Fastest & “Funnest” Student Behavior Management Strategies

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

The Five Fastest & “Funnest”

Classroom Management Ideas & Strategies

 


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classroom management help

classroom management help

 

expert classroom management toolsNext Live Workshops:

 

30% OFF!

Seattle

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Now $119 for 2 Days, $90 for 1 Day
Coupon Code: 30% OFF Seattle 2019 | Valid through 04-17-19
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Working with difficult students doesn’t have to be so difficult

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The Five Fastest & “Funnest”

Classroom Management Ideas & Strategies

classroom management ideas

Behavior management and classroom management strategies that utilize humor or fun, get the job done faster as students don’t normally become as reactive or oppositional to lighter, fun approaches. So, please forgive the bad grammar, but below you will find five of our fastest and “funnest” student behavior and classroom management ideas. Hello from Youth Change Workshops’ Director, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I hope you will come to Seattle in two weeks to get 200 additional innovative, more effective classroom management ideas and strategies when we host a general session of our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop. Information on this information-packed classroom management strategies workshop is here. Register here and get a 30% discount when you use this coupon code: 30% OFF Seattle 2019.

 

classroom management strategies and ideas

#1. Silly Classroom Management Idea
       for Sensitive Topics

fast classroom management strategiesIf you know a topic is loaded with tension and emotion, that’s the perfect time to employ humor. The human brain has trouble holding two conflicting emotions at once so what typically happens is that the student will grin or laugh before the negativity kicks in. That brief moment of understanding the silly sign or poster, puts you one small step closer to perhaps ultimately changing attitudes for the better. Racism is one of the toughest issues to tackle because students may already have entrenched built-in bias from home or their community. That makes a silly approach much smarter than a more straight-forward one. You don’t have to buy Poster #668. Instead of buying it, wait for a time when you need a creative consequence for a creative student. Instead of giving a traditional consequence, have the student make a silly poster similar to Poster #668 that is pictured at right.  If you wish, you can print or display the picture of that poster for use as inspiration for your student.

 

classroom management strategies and ideas

#2. Silly Classroom Management Idea
       Help Students Follow the Rules

fast classroom management helpYou don’t have to spend your entire school year reminding students to follow your classroom and school rules. Here is a very fun and silly classroom management idea that tends to reduce the amount of reminders and sanctions you have to give because your students “didn’t know the rules” or “forgot.” Students will normally learn infinitely faster from an enjoyable game than from another lecture or stern reminder. This game is fun and even better, it provides a fast and effective way to help students remember and follow classroom and schools rules and policies. It’s called Classroom Excuses Bingo. To use this intervention, simply create a bingo card (or cards), and replace the letters and numbers typically found on a Bingo card with the excuses you hear from your students. You may want to have a few fun prizes to the winner of Classroom Excuses Bingo to ramp up involvement and interest to the maximum possible. Alternatively, ask students to design the Classroom Excuses Bingo cards. That task would make a wonderful alternative consequence for any student who has broken a rule or policy. If you want to see an enlarged version of this example Bingo card, click here to view our Poster #543

 

 

classroom management strategies and ideas

#3. Silly Classroom Management Idea
       Build Motivation for School and Education

classroom management ideaIn our workshop that is coming to Seattle in a couple weeks, we will spend hours giving creative, surprising and fun motivational methods for the most unmotivated students. One of our favorites is pictured at right. It looks like a lottery ticket but the text has been redone to make a complete eduction the ultimate prize. You can see this example enlarged; it’s our Poster #496. You can use a picture of Poster #496 as an example for students to make their own lottery tickets that promote education, or, you can discuss the poster as shown. Either way, you are going to be practically “sneaking” your motivational message into your students’ brains. Information presented in silly ways is just so much faster and easier to send and receive. You will see that for yourself once you try some of our silly classroom management ideas with your students. Plus, a side benefit is that it isn’t just more fun for students. Most teachers would much rather teach a silly lesson than have to give another lecture or consequence for some classroom issue.

Article Continues Below

 


 

30% OFF!

Seattle Breakthrough Strategies Workshop

Behavior and Budget Problems Stop Here!

 

Now $119 for 2 Days, $90 for 1 Day

Coupon Code: 30% OFF Seattle 2019

Valid through 04-17-19

Register   Workshop Information

 


 

 

 

classroom management workshops

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Your On-Site
Inservice Workshop Now

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

1.800.545.5736 or Email

One Click Can Solve It All

 

 

Article Continues Here

classroom management strategies and ideas

#4. Silly Classroom Management Idea
       Address Cultural and Gender Norms

K-12 classroom ideasCultural norms and gender expectations are not normally very easy to rapidly change or improve. Many girls see STEM courses as “too hard” or “not for girls,” but STEM skills are likely to be the most in demand in the future. Lacking those skills will likely be a serious deficit. Possessing those skills will likely be a major asset as STEM careers typically pay more than many of the occupations viewed as “for girls.” This idea is perfect to chip away at the restrictiveness of gender and cultural norms that many girls may follow– probably without even realizing. The image at right is Poster #413. There are at least two ways to use this silly poster to start to change female students’ resistance to STEM classes. First, you can print a picture of the poster and use it as a discussion-starter. A second idea is to ask your students to make their own version of Clamor Magazine. This task can work really well to effect change because to make their creations, girls must be able to identify the restrictiveness of cultural and gender norms and their impact on assumptions and thinking. Having to create something similar to the example poster forces students to think differently than normal. That’s a great first step to help female students move away from some of the cultural or gender norms that may be holding them back from giving STEM classes more of a chance, and a bigger effort.

 

classroom management strategies and ideas

#5. Silly Classroom Management Idea
       Reduce Chronic Peer Problems

classroom management ideaIt’s spring. You know what that means: hormone-poisoned students who are more touchy-feely than you or your school wish. Instead of having to issue frequent reminders about your standards for contact, consider turning your classroom or school into a “No Cuddle Zone” and post appropriate signage. Now you have wall signs doing the heavy lifting 24/7, perhaps freeing you up to do more teaching and less reminding. An example wall sign is shown at right. It is our Poster #121. There is no need to buy the poster, just have one of your creative students whip up a few versions of their own. Creating No Cuddle Zone wall signs will also make a creative consequence for students who use problem contact in your No Cuddle Zone. The signs and the name make it difficult for students to say that they didn’t know that they were not supposed to engage in this type of behavior in school or class. The signs and the name tend to annihilate many of the excuses you hear all the time– and that’s a great result. So, stop battling students’ hormones this spring by employing some fun ideas to help them remember your class and school’s expectations. By incorporating some of these unusual, fun ideas into your classroom, maybe this spring, your students will be better prepared to focus more on the three Rs and less on PDA.

 

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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.


Free Worksheets with Student Behavior Strategies

 

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4 Free Worksheets with

Student Behavior Strategies 
 

 


classroom management help

classroom management help

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4 Free Worksheets with
Student Behavior Strategies

behavior strategies workshopYou’re going to love the four free student behavior strategies worksheets included in this edition of the Problem Student Problem-Solver Magazine. Hello from Youth Change Professional Development Workshops Director, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. We’ve loaded this issue with some of our very best behavior strategies for student problems like poor motivation and aggressiveness, and there is even a worksheet for girls who are not very motivated or interested in STEM classes.

These behavior improvement worksheets give you innovative, more effective strategies, and are taken from our in-person Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop, Online Breakthrough Workshop and Breakthrough ebooks and books. Our workshop is scheduled for Seattle in just about a month from now, on April 18-19, 2019. Scholarship work-study slots are still open if you are on a budget. Grab a scholarship by calling 503.982.4220 and in 5 minutes you’ll be signed up to sign away your worst student behavior management problems. The Breakthrough Workshop is designed to give you 200 solutions to make classroom behavior management stop being a battle and start being a success.

SEL social emotional learningMotivational
 Behavior Strategies Worksheet

This motivational behavior strategies worksheet for your students is a clever way to build motivation. Fortunately, more motivated students often translates to improved classroom management. The worksheet is a simple multiple choice that you can use as part of a group discussion or it also works well for use individually with students. Click here to get this behavior strategies handout in PDF format. It’s ready to print and use right away. It’s taken from our Education: Don’t Start the Millennium Without It Book.

 

 

 

STEM motivational worksheetBuild Girls’ Interest in STEM Courses
 Behavior Strategies Worksheet

This unconventional worksheet is so silly and funny, that you will practically sneak information into your students’ brains. Designed specifically for use with girls and young women, this lively worksheet confronts some of the stereotypes that can cause young females to initially feel uninterested in STEM courses. But, STEM courses are hugely important to future career success so it’s critical to break down those barriers and successfully motivate girls to consider giving STEM courses more of a chance. If you prefer to have the poster version of this fun intervention, it’s our very popular Poster #415; click here. To pick up the free PDF behavior strategies worksheet version, click here.

 

 

Article Continues Below

 


 

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Seattle Breakthrough Strategies Workshop

Behavior and Budget Problems Stop Here!

 

Now $119 for 2 Days, $90 for 1 Day

Coupon Code: 30% OFF Seattle 2019

Valid through 04-17-19

Register   Workshop Information

 


 

 

 

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Inservice Workshop Now

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Article Continues Here

behavior strategiesReduce Aggressiveness
 Behavior Strategies Worksheet

Here are some lively, creative behavior strategies to help improve your classroom management results. You can help students improve their demeanor and conduct with specific training techniques like this sample strategy. Obviously, this one behavior strategy worksheet can’t instantly change students but using lots of interventions like this will make a big difference over time. You don’t have to just live with students’ bad behavior when you regularly use behavior strategies like this example. This worksheet is intended for use with groups so you can help students understand how others see their behavior vs. their own self-perception. Many aggressive youngsters don’t realize the serious impact of their conduct on others. Gaining this insight can help some students to become more willing to work on behavior improvement. This behavior improvement strategies worksheet is from our Temper and Tantrum Tamers lesson book that is offered in both ebook and book format. To pick up the free student aggressiveness management worksheet, click here.

 

behavior strategies for temper tantrumsReduce Temper Tantrums
 Behavior Strategies Worksheet

If you have ever tried to get a student to accept help to stop aggressiveness, violence or temper tantrums, you know that many youngsters have little interest in changing. This worksheet is designed to start the process of students reconsidering their resistance by helping them realize that their acting-out will be a lifelong impediment and a huge obstacle to many of the things they may want to do throughout life. By helping students gain motivation to change, change is more likely to occur. This single intervention lesson will not be sufficient to engender change but it makes a great first step. If you keep using intervention strategies like those in this handout, you may actually begin to see improvement in behavior over time. Changing problem behavior is always going to work better than relying on consequences alone because consequences aren’t very good at compensating for missing self-control skills. That’s why behavior worksheets like this sample can generate far superior results than sanctions alone. This worksheet is from our popular Temper and Tantrum Tamer book or ebook. Pick up this ready-to-use temper tantrum improvement worksheet here.

 

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    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.


What Works with Students Who Avoid or Refuse to Work

 

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What Works with Students

Who Avoid or Refuse to Work

 

 


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classroom management help

classroom management help

 

expert classroom management toolsNext Live Workshops:

 

30% OFF!

Seattle

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Behavior and Budget Problems Stop Here!

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Coupon Code: 30% OFF Seattle 2019 | Valid through 04-17-19
Register  |  Workshop Information

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What Works with Students

 

Who Avoid or Refuse to Work

 

work refusal articleThey are without a doubt among the hardest students to reach and teach. I’m talking about students who avoid school tasks or refuse to work entirely. Some may become almost mute, others won’t even make eye contact, but the common thread is that the student is drastically underperforming when it comes to accepting, completing and returning assignments. If you’re like most teachers, you never had a class in college called Introduction to Helping Students Who Avoid Work, but you probably wish there had been lots of courses exactly like that. You don’t have to go back to college. Help is right here in this how-to article.

If you want even more strategies and information that can produce improved results from students who avoid or refuse school work, come to our Seattle Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop on April 18-19, 2019 and get hours of detailed, step-by-step instruction on how to maximize your impact on these difficult to teach students. Hello from the course instructor, Youth Change Professional Development Workshops director, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. That’s a picture of me teaching in Seattle a couple years ago. I hope to see you back there in April when you can actually list out for me the student problems you want me to cover. You’ll leave with 200 use-now, more effective strategies.

 

Innovative Strategies for Students

 

Who Avoid or Refuse to Work

students who don't finish their work

 

Stop the Power Struggle

Most teachers know that is very easy to end up in a power struggle with students who don’t do much school work or none at all. As a mental health professional, I really need to point out that no adult ever won a power struggle and not adult ever will. So, if you have to admit that you do feel a bit like you are in a power struggle with some of your work refusing students, Step #1 has to be to acknowledge that to the youngster, declare a truce and back off for a moment.

Here’s why many or most students refuse work: Much of the time, these children and teens are terribly weighed down by some type of problem. Perhaps a parent is violent or missing. Perhaps they have an undiagnosed or diagnosed learning disorder that makes school work miserable. Maybe they are distracted or unmotivated. In this short article, we’ll focus on the first students mentioned above, the ones that are struggling with some type of emotional, social or learning problem. There are dozens of  free expert, how-to articles our site covering poor motivation that you can read. Building motivation in work refusing students can be a good help but if a student is too busy trying to stay awake after all-night domestic violence, motivation is only going to take you so far. Instead, being sensitive to what the child may be living through, may be a much more effective approach. Remember: You may be the only sane, sober adult in some students’ orbit. You definitely don’t want to add burdens. You want to be on their side as much as you can. Stopping any power struggles and explicitly talking about how to manage the work refusal is a great place to begin again.

students who don't finish their work

 

Ask the Expert

Who you think just might be the best expert to help you figure out how to best work with a student who is avoiding or refusing to work? That student. No one else may know why they are doing so little, so ask then listen carefully to the response you get when you ask for the reason for not wanting to start or complete tasks. If the student answers that they don’t know why, then ask “If you did know why, what might it be?” If that unexpected strategy fails, switch the focus to a friend or someone in popular culture and ask the student why that person might refuse to work. That switch may yield important clues and by shifting the focus to someone else, you may get more truth than the student would tell you otherwise.

Whether or not you succeed at getting more information, use the students’ expertise to improve the situation. Ask the student to help you understand what to do and what not to do to assist them. Tell the student you are on their side and don’t want to add to any problems they may already have. Tell the student that with their guidance, perhaps they could do less work on days they are struggling and more work on days they feel more able. Next, cooperatively develop a step by step plan that features tiny, tiny increases. If you aim for bigger increases, that creates the possibility of a big setback if the student fails. If the increase is tiny, and the student is saying that’s “too easy,” that’s perfect. You want the student to have some small successes but without the risk of a big fail. When this youngster fails, they often disappear from school or lose a lot of ground in other areas. This student is all about anxiety. Everything you do must decrease the anxiety because when the student experiences anxiety, that’s when they refuse work or disappear from school or class.

students who don't finish their work

 

It’s About Control

Typically, students who refuse to work are very anxious. They are struggling to cope. When they refuse to work, they are trying to take control over one of the few things in their world that they have any say over at all. You can struggle with them over the control but that is never going to go well. Instead, hand the control to them and you will see improved results. I suggest explicitly talking about control and anxiety with them, and reassuring them that you don’t want to add to their worries. Tell them you want to give them as much control over their work as possible. That can help them be a little less anxious. Their anxiety is the best guide. When it is high, reduce expectations. When it is relatively low, incrementally increase expectations for work. Let them know that you will give them slack when they are struggling, but in return, ask if they could work as hard as they can on days that they are feeling a bit better.

Be sure that these youngsters understand that they are going to need the skills taught in school, and if you two work together, they can accomplish that in a way that doesn’t put any strain on them. Once you are both on the same side, a general relaxation can occur and improvement can happen– but only to a certain extent. For example, students who are awake much of the night because their home is a battleground, will be limited in how much they will be able to do with little sleep and lots of worries.

Article Continues Below

 


 

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Behavior and Budget Problems Stop Here!

 

Now $119 for 2 Days, $90 for 1 Day

Coupon Code: 30% OFF Seattle 2019

Valid through 04-17-19

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Students Who Refuse Work, Are Violent,
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Article Continues Here

students who don't finish their work

 

To Push or Not to Push?

Do I push students who do nothing in school, or do I back off? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? You may feel that when it comes to students who refuse to work or avoid assignments, it’s lose-lose. If you push, these students tend to double down on their resistance. Many stop showing up for school or class. If you don’t push, then the fear is that you are not educating these youngsters at all. Here’s the solution to this mystery: Both pushing and not pushing result in big fails. “To push or not to push” isn’t even the right question. The better question is “What should I do to get more results from these youngsters? In our workshops, we spend hours answering this question. In this brief how-to article, I can’t fit in the wealth of techniques I’ll be giving in Seattle in April in our Breakthrough Strategies Workshop, but here’s a few key pro tips:

As a mental health professional, I can assure you that typically many students who routinely and seriously refuse or avoid work, are facing some type of emotional, social or behavioral issue that impedes their functioning. Even so, despite the significant (but often not readily apparent or visible) challenges these students may have, most of these youngsters usually have days that are better or worse. On days that this student is struggling, reduce your expectations. On days that this student appears to be doing a bit better, increase your expectations. For example, a girl’s dad is on the road driving a long haul truck 4 days a week. You may notice her functioning is markedly improved when dad is on the road. You may notice the girl’s functioning nose dives when dad returns. That’s the time to cut her slack. Make specific agreements with students that reflect this type of plan.

Students tend to be really grateful to know that you are not going to cause more burdens to be added to their shoulders at times they are already carrying a very heavy load. The upshot is that now that there is no more power struggling over classroom work, and the student realizes that you understand their situation, they tend to work as hard as they can on the days they are able. They also tend to develop a lot of loyalty for you and that helps fuel their desire to work when they aren’t weighed down by whatever they may be going through. As an aside, I have to be sure to remind you to be sure to report any concrete indications of abuse or similar, as you are required by your site.

students who don't finish their work

 

Your Goal

The goal for students who refuse to work can and should be shared with these youngsters. That means you will be sensitive to what trauma, crisis, disability, emotional problem or plight the child is dealing with, but not at the expense of education. There is a balance between being sensitive to what the child may be living through and your mission to educate. If you can find that middle ground between those two parameters, you can really maximize the results these students can achieve.

No, you don’t need to worry about these children taking advantage of you if you are using this methods with students who have a lot of anxiety. That is key. These methods will fail with other populations of students. These intervention methods are designed only for use with students who are anxious or struggling with problems like trauma, domestic violence or loss. Dealing with the anxiety and whatever is causing it, takes so most of this students’ energy and resources. They don’t have much energy or interest left to plot and scheme how to take advantage of your reasonableness and kindness so being manipulated while using these methods is not normally a concern with the target population. Yes, manipulation would occur if you employ these strategies with populations they were not intended for.

If you are using this method with truly anxious and troubled students, they are much more likely to develop enormous loyalty towards you versus expend energy to exploit the accommodations you provide. You may be the only kind, humane adult they interact with. They are unlikely to jeopardize their lifeline. That’s why the best goal is to help them learn to work as hard as they can on days that they’re able. Hearing about that goal can reduce the power struggles and bring relief to children who are awash in pain.

 

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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.


Must-Know Strategies for the 5 Most Common Student Mental Health Problems

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Must-Know Strategies

for the

5 Most Common

Student Mental Health Problems

 
 

 

student mental healthThere is no question that you are seeing many more student mental health problems than ever before. Many educators typically lack extensive or even basic training on student mental health problems and end up lacking many or all of the honed, more effective strategies and tools that juvenile mental health professionals have developed. This how-to article for educators and other non-mental health professionals is designed to remedy that oversight as much as possible given the limited space we have for a complex topic. This Top 5 list of student mental health problems is based on the feedback of the teachers, principals, school counselors and special educators that have attended our in-person Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshops recently. (You can attend too as our next live conference is coming up soon in Seattle on April 18-19, 2019 — and, even better, our conference scholarships are still open! Just call 800.545.5736 to grab one now.)

Hello from Youth Change Director Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I have spent my career teaching about key student mental health problems and diagnoses to educators and other non-mental health professionals. I am hoping that you will be able to immediately use the information included in this important article for teachers, principals, special educators and other non-mental health professionals who work with children and teens. Even though non-mental health professionals can’t diagnose, the how-to article below is intended to give you the language to better understand, manage and communicate about your students who are struggling with their emotions and/or thoughts.

 

Must-Know Strategies

for the

5 Most Common

Student Mental Health Problems

 

student with conduct disorder1. CONDUCT DISORDER

If you don’t know this disorder backwards and forwards and inside and out, then you are a vulnerable target for your most seriously acting-out students. In our workshops, we spend hours and hours on this disorder because the student who has this disorder is normally by far your most impossible-to-manage student– and this disorder is very common. Affecting an estimated 11-14% of your students, this disorder means that the child or teen is wired differently than other students. Lacking remorse, empathy and relationship capacity, this child’s signature is his extreme acting-out. That was not a misplaced pronoun. “He” is very often a he, not a she. Girls don’t very commonly have this disorder but they can have it, and when they do, their behavior is often beyond extreme.

Here are some passable examples of this disorder from popular culture: J.R. Ewing from the TV show Dallas, Sid the boy in the first Toy Story movie, and Eddie Haskell from Leave It to Beaver. Everyday, ordinary interventions always fail with this population and generally make the situation worse. That means that your go-to interventions that work well or okay with other students, routinely let you down with this population. That’s why working successfully with children who have or may have conduct disorder requires that you use specialized interventions that are different from what you normally use. Since this youngster lacks a heart and relationship capacity, strategies that require empathy or compassion will always fail. There is no way I can capture this problem for you in this tiny space but there are countless free articles on our site to guide you, plus online courses and books. Go to our free, introductory Conduct Disorder mental health article to learn more about this common, serious disorder and to discover the kinds of strategies that must be used– and those that must never be used– with this very difficult-to-control student.

 

student mental health problem

2. CLINICAL DEPRESSION

Sure, lots and lots of adolescents are depressed but that’s not clinical depression. Clinical depression is more serious, more prolonged and more difficult than ordinary adolescent angst. For all mental health diagnoses, a mental health or health professional is needed to diagnose, but whether or not you can diagnose, you can certainly adjust how you work with children and teens who appear to be clinically depressed. The top go-to step for seriously depressed children and teens is working with  a mental health clinician. Next, after that, there are three major strategies that have been shown to be effective. First, depressed students often can benefit from having the chance to vent their concerns. Almost any adult can do a least some listening. Second, exercise, mindfulness training and meditation offer depressed students really useful tools. Along the same line, teaching students how to better manage their upsetting thoughts, can have a lot of value. The third strategy to consider is to arrange with the family for an anti-depressant but there is a risk of self-harm for this option, and this option can be difficult to set up. Studies suggest all three methods together work better than any of the strategies separately.

Depression needs to be taken seriously and it can definitely spur students to behaviors that are very concerning. As a society we are more attuned to paying attention to acting out, not giving as much notice to the more subtle, less obvious, less overt, more quiet phenomena of depression. Don’t let that cultural norm prevent you from devoting time to students whose behavior may be acceptable but their emotional functioning may still be of great concern. Depressed students are just as worthy and needing of your attention as students who command your attention with acting-out behavior. Read more about how to help students who face clinical depression in our free how-to articles.

 

Article Continues Below

 

 

classroom management workshops

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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One Click Can Solve It All

 

 

Article Continues Here

 

bipolar disorder

3. BIPOLAR DISORDER

I am including this student mental health problem here not because it is a very common disorder; it’s actually not as common as many other childhood and teen disorders. I am including it because so many of the teachers and principals that I see in my workshops and at conferences, are confused about what this disorder is all about. This disorder used to be called Manic-Depression and I think that old title was really helpful to remind non-mental health workers what this problems is all about. This disorder means that the child or teen gets really depressed then suddenly starts being out-of-control with little in between. They go from 0 miles an hour to 150 miles an hour in a flash. It is a very unpleasant, distressing disorder that can be extremely hard to manage unless the family gets a diagnosis and follows through very carefully on medication. Medication is the first, second and third best strategy. That is my silly way of saying that medication is just incredibly important.

I’m not sure if there is anything that even comes close to being as helpful as meds, but skill training can be very useful. The skill training must focus on teaching the child to take their meds. Skill training also needs to prepare the child and family to cope effectively with any issues that they may develop about the medication or its side effects as regularly taking medicine as directed is crucial to getting and keeping this youngster stabilized. When the child is unmedicated or missing doses, their manic behavior can quickly get very extreme and inappropriate, even illegal. If you are not a mental health professional and you think you are working with a child who could have this serious disorder, you need to alert your supervisor at once and hopefully you will be able to arrange a thorough evaluation. This disorder typically is found to start when the person is a young adult or older adult but it can occur earlier.

 

 

school mental health4. OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER

This disorder looks at first to be just like conduct disorder but that is not a very accurate perception. The difference between conduct disorder (C.D.) and oppositional defiant disorder (O.D.D.) may not be readily obvious but it is incredibly important. Treatment for O.D.D. varies dramatically from that offered for conduct disorder. While students with O.D.D. and C.D. typically both misbehave and can be aggressive and non-compliant, the behavior of the student with C.D. is normally far more extreme, frequent and damaging to people, animals and property. While that difference is important, the really important difference is that the child with C.D. lacks a conscience and that is a huge problem. Lacking a conscience, relationship capacity and empathy for others, the student with C.D. can track towards crime and other behaviors that society doesn’t permit.

The student with O.D.D. is believed to have a conscience, but that conscience isn’t doing very much to help. A good conscience can provide very good brakes for bad behavior. Absent that conscience, a child will do what they want, when they want, to who they want. That is precisely what makes children with C.D. so potentially dangerous and so very hard to manage in any environment. Being diagnosed with O.D.D. is far more hopeful than being diagnosed with C.D. as the hope is that if that conscience can be better activated, the student can behave better.

While both sets of students need extensive training to manage their fist, mouth and actions, the student with O.D.D. has a far more optimistic prognosis. The student diagnosed with C.D. will never learn to care about others and is pretty much always going to be reined in using consequences and possibly rewards. The student with O.D.D. can really do very well once their conscience is more dominant and they have mastered how to be a civilized, law-abiding, compliant human. If you are not a mental health professional, be sure to try to arrange a thorough mental health evaluation so you know whether you’re working with an apple or an onion. While these two disorders can look somewhat the same, you have to be very careful to proceed differently depending on which disorder is actually occurring in a student.

 

trauma informed5. STUDENTS WITH TRAUMA

Unlike the previous items, this issue is not a mental health diagnostic category. However, “trauma-informed” practice has been a prominent concept lately so that combined with the huge frequency of trauma, led me to include this issue here. If you work with kids, you are working with some youngsters who have faced, or are facing traumatic events such as abuse, violence, abandonment or crises. Students facing trauma who are evaluated by a mental health clinician, can receive varying mental health diagnoses (like depression and PTSD, for example), but it is that common thread of trauma that I wanted to address.

Students who are traumatized often have little energy for school or whatever service your site offers. These youngsters need help from a mental health professional but they also need to not face more unnecessary stress in your environment– even when they don’t do much school work, are selectively mute and uninvolved in activities. The key here, regardless of the diagnosis, is to strike a balance between being sensitive to what this child may be living through and your mission. When the child is more functional, increase expectations a bit but if the increase sends the child into a tailspin, then return to the last level where the youngster was successful. When the child is less functional, decrease expectations a bit and work cooperatively to maximize the child’s involvement but without adding to the child’s already heavy load.

Many of your work refusing students are children who are coping with traumatic events. After enduring serious incidents of trauma, children may be diagnosed with PTSD, Post-Traumatic Syndrome Disorder, which is a very concerning diagnosis. These youngsters, in particular, need your site to be a haven, not more misery, so working with these children very carefully and delicately is strongly recommended. Children who have lived through much horror at a young age and lack resilience, are very brittle and easily broken. The bottom line is that you  may be the only sane, sober adult in the child’s universe. If instead of being helpful, you are yet another harmful adult, you can help track the child in the wrong direction. Conversely, if you offer help, empathy, guidance and a moderate, unstressful intervention plan, you can often engineer some progress, albeit slow.

 

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    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
     


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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.


Motivate Student Athletes to Work in School

 

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Motivate Student Athletes
to Work in School

Includes 2 Free Printable Motivational Posters

 


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classroom management help

 

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Motivate Student Athletes
to Work in School

Includes 2 Free Printable Motivational Posters

 

student motivational techniquesHere are some of the best motivational techniques for student athlete who see school and education as unnecessary. Believing they are going to be rich, successful professional sports stars, these youngsters are often the most unmotivated students in your classroom. Your wannabe pro football, basketball, soccer or tennis star often sees education as a complete waste, something they will never need as a pampered, wealthy, well-known athlete who has it all. Hello from Youth Change Director Ruth Herman Wells. This issue of the Problem Student Problem-Solver has some of my very best student motivational techniques to motivate all your wannabe Shaquille O’Neils and Serena Williams.

 

motivational techniques for atheletesShow What It Really Takes to Play Pro Sports

Includes Free Printable Motivational Poster

The good news about wannabe sports stars is that once you educate them on how dependent they will be on education as an aspiring sports star, you can watch them become more interested, more involved, more successful students. This first motivational technique is pretty simple, and involves just making sure that every unmotivated wannabe sports star realizes that a high school diploma will be necessary to reach their goal and keep their success if they actually achieve it. Poster #170, pictured at right, teaches students that every NBA, NFL and MLB player needs a high school diploma. You may find that this key requirement is not known to most or many of your wannabe sports giants. Get this poster free to print in 11″ x 17″ size. If you prefer to buy a pre-printed copy of the poster, click here.

 

motivational student athelete posterShow Students That No Education is a Losing Game

Includes Free Printable Motivational Poster

This motivational technique is a discussion activity designed to help student wannabe sports stars– and other students hoping to become rich and famous– discover that they will lose, lose, lose if they reach stardom without first completing their education. You can use Poster #6 to kick off the discussion, or you can use it just for yourself so you have some concrete ideas of how to guide your students to come up with similar information to that pictured on the poster. To enlarge the poster for better viewing, click here or on the poster image. Here is the motivational technique: Ask your students to determine possible negative outcomes that could occur if a youngster becomes a sports star who is uneducated. To help, we’re giving you a full-size 11″ by 17″ printable copy of Poster #6 to use as a poster, worksheet or discussion starter. If you prefer to buy a pre-printed copy of the poster, click here.

 

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motivational classroom posterShow Them the Real Score

While you don’t necessarily want to discourage students from high level goals, they need to know the odds on achieving those goals, and maintaining their success. To teach them about the real odds of making it as a pro sports star, have them research the numbers. For example, only 1 in 150,000 guys will make it into the NBA. To teach them about the real odds of maintaining their success as a pro sports star, help them discover the real tasks that professional players actually do– and the real skills they need to do those tasks. Our brand new Poster #716 provides an example of how you could structure this motivational technique for use with your students. Similar to the poster, create two columns on your board then have students research sport stars for “What They Really Do” and the “Skills Needed.” Write students’ answers in the columns and discuss. Students will discover that becoming and staying a pro sports star takes a lot of education and skills. A good follow-up motivational technique: Have students research and discuss the average career length of sports stars in different fields. They may be surprised to discover that some pro athletes have very brief career due to concerns like age, injury, performance and behavior.

 

Show Education as Key to Winning

Make the realities of professional sports come alive by involving students in this motivational intervention technique. Assemble the types of documents and other items that pro sports stars may encounter. The items can include things like: the pro sport team’s contract to sign up their players, a sports agent contract, a lawyer contract, a sports publicist contract, an accountant contract, an assistants’ job application, tax forms, press releases, interview questions, and so on. You can use documents found on the internet, or, you can create mock-ups. Be sure the documents are complex, hard-to-read, have very small type, and a hard-to-read font. To ensure that your message hits a home run, select at least some items that would likely be difficult for even a well-educated adult to understand. Ask students to read and interpret the documents. When they struggle, you can help them discover that school can help.

 

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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.


Secrets of the Best Classrooom Managers– The Experts’ Most Effective Classroom Management Tools

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Secrets of the Best Classroom Managers

The Experts’ Most Effective Classroom Management Tools

Includes Free Lesson Plan and Worksheet
 


classroom management help

classroom management help

classroom management help

 

expert classroom management toolsNext Live Workshops:

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Breakthrough Strategies Workshop

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Secrets of the Best Classroom Managers

The Experts’ Most Effective Classroom Management Tools

classroom management help

There always seems to be that handful of teachers who can manage even the most unmanageable students while their colleagues struggle to make any progress at all. The truth is that there are some basic classroom management tools that can help any teacher succeed managing even the most unmanageable youngsters. Hello from Youth Change Director Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I’ve just finished 6 weeks of touring the country training schools from Boston, Mass. to Yakima, Washington to Los Angeles, California. This article has gathered some of what I learned from teachers and counselors on my summer training tour. These new classroom management tools can help you build a better school year with fewer behavioral, social, academic and emotional problems.

teacher class managementTeach Missing Behavior Skills *

*Includes FREE lesson plan and student worksheet

If you are still expecting students to arrive with the skills they need to be successful, properly behaved students, you may have fallen behind the times. Yes, moms and dads used to reliably teach their offspring manners, civilized behavior, compliance skills, respect and so forth. These days, however, we can’t always count on parents to have taught their children to have the minimum behavior needed in your classroom and throughout the school. If you have tried to improve student conduct by setting rules and consequences, you probably have already discovered that quite often, rules and consequences don’t get the job done. While rules and consequences are essential, they are not nearly enough. If rules and consequences could get the job done, then I could require you to speak Swedish or face grave sanctions, and you would still be utterly unable to speak Swedish. Most of us have difficulty when expected to perform behaviors that no one has taught us. So, if you are serious about not wanting any more behavior management problems, then take the time to teach your students the exact skills they are not performing satisfactorily. Typically, those skills will include punctuality, hand raising, talking one at a time, compliance, chair sitting, managing school supplies and property, what to wear to school, what to bring to school, and so on. Are you wondering how you teach students what we call School Skills? Here is the answer. Check out this free, reproducible student worksheet and lesson plan that teaches students to more readily accept responsibility for their conduct rather than blame others.

 

classroom posterMotivation Reduces Classroom Behavior Problems

If you still expect unmotivated students to behave acceptably, you are going to often be disappointed. When students believe that school is as enticing as a root canal, some of them are going to act accordingly. Motivation can be taught. Yes, you did not have the chance to take courses like “Motivating Wannabe Sports Stars” or “Motivational Methods for Students Who Plan to Be Famous and Never Need School.” Those courses– and their content– do exist as you will find if you sign up now take our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Students Workshop coming to Portland on October 11-12, 2018. In our workshop, you actually will learn powerhouse motivational methods for students hoping to become famous actresses, singers, sports stars, models and more. We even have strategies for students who hope to avoid needing school through reliance on their family or welfare. Check out just 1 of the 200 classroom strategies we will be giving out at our upcoming Portland, Oregon workshp. Here is an educational and compelling strategy (Poster #701, pictured at left) to convince students that regardless of their wished-for career path, they will still need school. Click on the link or the image so you can enlarge the picture enough to read the content of the poster. Once you start teaching your students to become more motivated, you are going to discover that motivation colors everything. You will find that the more you set aside time to motivate your students, the less time you will need to set aside for on-demand behavior management in your classroom and hallways. There are hundreds of motivational strategies throughout our site including here.

 

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classroom management

 

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student classroom managementSystematically Resolve Overwhelming Behavior Problems 

Your students’ classroom behavior management problems can quickly start to seem overwhelming. The volume and seriousness of the problems can seem substantial. You need an easy-to-implement game plan and here it is. First, start by writing down all the classroom management issues that you see. Second, prioritize the list. For the most part, there is no right way to prioritize beyond placing the issues that are most concerning to you at the top of the list. However, safety issues always get top rankings.  Now that you have your list sorted, you are ready to move forward. The third step is to focus on just the top three issues at a time, and forget the rest of the list for now. Teach students to have improved behavior for your top three concerns before moving onto the next three items. Note that teaching students to have improved behavior is not the same thing as setting consequences, re-stating the rules or any of the conventional classroom management strategies that you are already doing. Teaching means teaching. You will be teaching about how to walk down the aisle between the desks, or how to talk one at a time, or how to properly ask for help. You will be teaching these essential School Skills just like you teach math or handwriting: step-by-step, with lots of repetition until students have mastered and can use the concepts taught. This page on our website has hundreds of free lesson plans and worksheets so you can better grasp the details of training kids to become prepared, motivated, successful students.

 

classroom management tools for teachersLearn About Conduct Disorder

If you are still attempting to use conventional classroom behavior management methods with your most misbehaved students, you are playing a losing game. Conventional classroom management methods always fail with the most seriously unmanageable students. Until you take the time to learn about this mental health problem that affects an estimated 11-14% of your students, you will continue to find that “nothing works” to rein in the most hard-to-manage youngsters. These are the students who are small in number, but take up most of your behavior management time. There are countless articles on how to manage this student on our site. By investing a half hour now learning about what tailored techniques to use, and which common methods to avoid, you can get back in charge of your classroom. There are no shortcuts here. You either learn about this disorder and which classroom management tools to use, and which classroom management tools to avoid, or else prepare for a long, frustrating school year and an unending fight to control your classroom. Read about conduct disorders, and discover what this very common mental  health disorder is all about, and most importantly, what to start doing to successfully manage these most unmanageable students. There are no shortcuts. Either you learn these targeted, tested methods, or classroom management will remain problematic. The good news is that now you at least understand what has gone wrong– and how to fix it.

 

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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 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.

 

Article Continues Below

 

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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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    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.


Strategies to Motivate Unmotivated Students

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Strategies to Motivate Unmotivated Students

Includes Free, Printable, Motivational Classroom Poster

 
 

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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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