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

 

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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.

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Learn 100s of Strategies for
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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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    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
     


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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
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    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


Motivate Student Athletes to Work in School

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Motivate Student Athletes
to Work in School

Includes 2 Free Printable Motivational Posters

 


classroom management help

classroom management help

classroom management help

 

expert classroom management toolsNext Live Workshops:

30% OFF!

Portland
Breakthrough Strategies
Workshop

Classroom Management Problems Stop Here

Now $119 for 2 Days, $90 for 1 Day
Coupon Code: 30% OFF Portland 2018 | Valid through 10-10-18
Register  |  Workshop Information

Working with difficult students doesn’t have to be so difficult

What kind of year will it be without our 200 problem-stopping strategies?

 


 

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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    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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    Contact Us*  *Not for Unsubscribing
     

    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.


Motivational Magic: Best Strategies to Motivate Students

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Motivational Magic:
The Best Strategies to Motivate Students

Includes Free Motivational Poster

 
 

 

motivate students teacher inservice workshopsIt just may be one of the biggest frustrations that teachers face. Trying to force feed education to students who aren’t interested, can feel like a losing battle.

Hello from Youth Change Director, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. That’s me in the image on the right, teaching in Seattle, Washington. In all my workshops, I always begin by asking the participants to name the top issues they face in their classrooms and throughout their school. Motivation always is on the list. Hopefully, I’ll be seeing you in Portland, Oregon next week for the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop (click) on October 12-13, 2017. Included in the 200 innovative, must-have strategies that I will give in the Portland workshop next week, I can promise dozens and dozens of strategies to motivate students of all ages. I specialize in strategies that are designed to work when conventional motivational methods have failed. So, if you work with very unmotivated students, plan to be in Portland next week. Whether or not you can attend our Portland workshop, check out the terrific strategies to motivate students that are included in this issue of our Problem Student Problem-Solver magazine. This small sampling of some of our best methods will give you the feel of the 50-70 motivational strategies I expect to teach in Portland.

 

Best Strategies to Motivate Students
 

student motivational posterGet This Motivational Poster Free!

For Use as a Poster, Worksheet or Discussion Starter

For Discouraged Students
 

Whether you use this awesome motivational poster as a wall sign, or to ignite a classroom discussion, this item is a terrific strategy to motivate students who are discouraged. It’s our Poster #328, but it also makes a good worksheet too.

Many discouraged students think that they are the only ones to struggle, fail or make mistakes. This poster can be a strong punch to the stomach, quickly convincing those youngsters that many of the world’s biggest successes floundered and got discouraged too.

To use this item as a poster, print it in color with dimensions of 11 x 17 inches. To use this item as a worksheet or discussion starter, you can print it out in any size you wish, or show the image on your projector.

 

Re-Brand and Market Education for the

Most Unmotivated Students
 

In my workshops, I often hear teachers describe teaching their students as being an awful lot like “trying to lead a horse to water and force it to drink.” After teaching a workshop in California, a teacher handed me a note. It said: “You can’t lead a horse to water and force it to drink, but you can give the horse salt and it will drink voluntarily.” That clever comment is exactly what I have been trying to teach for years about how to motivate students. You may wonder “what is the salt?” The salt is anything that lights a fire under a student. You may be thinking that many of your students claim to have no dreams, no goals, no preferences, no hope. Here’s a strategy for very negative and discouraged students for when it certainly seems that there is no human equivalent of “salt” for the unthirsty horse: Ask the student what they want to be when they grow up. If they give a useful response, then you can use that wished-for occupation as “salt” by showing how math, science, reading, writing and other educational skills will be required for that career or job.

However, for your students who profess that they have no goals and no hopes, here’s a terrific workaround. This alternative will also work well with your students who say that they want to grow up to be nothing. For students who claim that they want to “nothing,” say: “Okay, but if you did want to be something, what might it be?” For students who say that they have “no idea” what they want to be when they grow up, say” “Okay, but if you did know what you want to be when you grow up, what might it be?” This strategy allows the student to hang onto their negativity and discouragement rather than be expected to somehow jettison, overlook or override those strong, long held, negative feelings. You are in effect detouring around the negativity and discouragement instead of attempting to modify it. Attempting to modify the negativity will almost always fail but this “detour around it” tactic completely avoids the distraction of a power struggle over the student’s outlook. You have now learned that very important piece of information: what the student cares about in their future, and you can immediately use that information as “salt” as described above. You will use the students’ hopes and goals to re-brand school and education as the only path to reach their dreams.

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how to motivate students

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k12  motivational posterUnexpected Motivational Strategies

Can Produce the Best Results
 

Straight talk about motivation often produces meager results so ditch the verbiage in favor of unexpected strategies that catch students off guard and “sneak in” your motivational message about school and education. An example of these “sideways” motivational strategies is pictured at right. It’s our Poster #328. You can read its message: “Four thirds of math students don’t think they need to learn fractions.” Depending on your students’ age and skill level, they may or may not get the joke. For students who don’t understand the poster, it will be unsettling and uncomfortable and will plant the seed that “maybe, just maybe, I will need to know fractions and math.” That is the start of motivating students. You plant the seed and keep adding more and more strategies that build on that beginning. Remember: No student is going to say: “Wow! That motivational strategy really helped me to realize how much I need math!” In fact, the opposite is more likely: students will often not let on that a motivational strategy made them think, reconsider or worry about their lack of skills, or wonder if they would be unable to get by without learning fractions, and so on. Teachers plant a seed that they don’t always get to see flower and bloom. However, when you use unexpected motivational strategies, their impact is far greater than conventional interventions like just talking to the student.

 

Let Unmotivated Students Experience

Life Without Education
 

Teachers often wish they could somehow convince students that they will be incredibly vulnerable and terribly handicapped as adults if they lack education and skills. Here’s a dynamic way to let students experience the downsides of a poor education and missing skills. This activity requires a few props. You will need a large amount of small candies like M&MS or similar; a clean, 3′ by 5′ large table cloth or similar; and masking tape. Place the cloth on a table and scatter the candy all over it. Next, tape all of each student’s fingers together in random combinations using enough tape to seriously restrict each child’s use of their fingers for fine motor activities. Next, let one student at a time, or small groups of students, attempt to pick up and eat as much candy as they can in 10 seconds. Students will struggle mightily to pick up much candy and will be frustrated and impatient with their results. After each student has had a turn, discuss with the students their reactions, allowing them to emphasize how frustrating it was to try to pick up candy without full use of the fingers and hands. After students have finished venting their frustration, quietly say “Going through life without all the education you need is like trying to pick up M&Ms without use of all the fingers you need. This is what life can be like for you if you don’t get a full education.” This unexpected turn to the activity will cut through a lot of the oppositional reaction that students would have to a more straightforward, conventional approach. Students may remember this unusual activity and it can begin to chip away at the belief that “I can get by without education.”

 

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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.


 

Help SED Students: Troubled Minds Worsen During Troubled Times Like Hurricane Harvey

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Troubled Minds Worsen
During Troubled Times:
How to Help Emotionally Disturbed Students

 
 

 

studentIf you find the current time period to be a turbulent time, consider the impact of the commotion on students with troubled minds. The impact can be considerable. Given the monster storm, Harvey, that is currently devastating a significant section of the United States, this article is meant to be timely help for anyone who works in the affected region. The article should still be relevant for anyone who works with severely emotionally disturbed (SED) students, or youngsters who struggle with anxiety, trauma, depression and fear.

Hello from Youth Change Workshops Director, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. In this article, I’m going to cherry pick some of the very best interventions for severely emotionally disturbed  students and other populations who can be dramatically affected by turbulent times. If you want more than the handful of strategies included here, come to our Portland, Oregon Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop on October 12-13, 2017. In that professional development workshop, you will learn 200 more strategies to help troubled students, as well as those who act out, are bullies, disrespectful, truant and failing academically. Financial aid scholarships for the live workshop are available by making a quick phone call to us at 800.545.5736.

A quick shout out to Texas and Louisiana teachers, counselors and others affected by Hurricane Harvey:
We will welcome you free to our October, 2017 Portland Breakthrough Strategies Workshop, without any charge, if you are a teacher, counselor or other  youth professional from Texas or Louisiana with a work  address in the region gravely affected by the hurricane.
Email us your name and contact information to sign up for free. It is our attempt to give back to a region that has supported our workshops for decades.

Troubled and SED students often have substantial difficulty succeeding in school even during the best of times. During more difficult times, their performance and attendance can plummet. Here are some of our best methods to help emotionally disturbed, traumatized, depressed and fragile students who are struggling more as the world around them gets more turbulent.

 

help traumatized studentsStrategies to Help SED Students and Others

Affected By Turbulent Times

 

Become a Landmark

Being a troubled or severely emotionally disturbed (SED) student is kind of like riding a merry-go-round. For the child or teen, the world is kind of spinning around. To help, become a landmark so that the child doesn’t feel so adrift and disoriented. You can become the place to turn when the child’s anxiety, fear, angst or life events become overwhelming. As you become a reliable point of calm in the storm, the student may eventually learn to extrapolate that calm to other parts of their life. Be sure to specifically make these points with the student so they understand that yes, their world can seem to spin out of control, but you have to look for a place to shelter from the storm, and that place can be you and your classroom or office.

Look for the Helpers

Mr. Rogers, the TV children’s program host from years ago, always used to say in his most soothing voice: During times of chaos, tragedy and catastrophe: Look for the Helpers. It was a genius idea. By helping upset, troubled and disturbed students focus on the one part of the situation that is positive, it can reduce their fear, anxiety and trepidation. For emotionally disturbed students and other youngsters who struggle, the more their emotions are within a tolerable range, the more they can focus on school work. The reality is that all students will need the life skills taught in school, and that includes those who are living with violence, a weather-related catastrophe, family problems, mental illness and other life challenges. Assisting your SED students and others to self-soothe will reduce the amount of suffering they experience while potentially freeing up additional energy for school.

 

Find Their “Salt”

For troubled students, it can be hard to care about or work in school. The old saying that “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink” is the perfect illustration. However, what would get that horse to drink? Salt. See if you can find what is the student’s “salt.” It could be getting them excited about a career goal that requires education. It could be having them read about Maya Angelou and others who rose above tragedy and trauma to greatness. It could be helping them escape the world through music, poetry, art or literature. It can be using their exposure to fire fighters and police, to learn about becoming a public safety worker when an adult. If you can believe that all students have things they care about, your are much more likely to help students to identify those valued things, and then you can use those things to convince the child that education is a way out of the pain– and the best and fastest way forward to a better future.

 

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troubled studentTroubled Minds? Meet Mindfulness

By now, the Mindfulness “revolution” has probably reached your part of the world. Mindfulness is the ideal intervention strategy to offer students with SED, anxiety problems, depression and similar. One of the key elements of mindfulness is to help the student stay focused on the present. In this current moment, the child is safe, has been fed, and is warm and dry. Help the students to focus on what is happening right now and to avoid worrying about the past and future. That can sound like a tough sell but you can also use meditation techniques to make that goal more achievable. Meditation can consist of having the child breathe slowly, eyes closed (if willing), while focusing on nothing but the breath for just a few minutes. Countless studies document that meditation can reduce specific problem feelings like anxiety, fear and worry.

Help Others

Studies often document that when children and teens in pain turn their attention to helping others, they feel better themselves. So, this is the perfect time to have your students create and implement a project to benefit those affected by Hurricane Harvey. This effort can become the perfect way to teach your fragile and troubled students that “helping others helps you too.”

Bloom Where You’re Planted

For students whose difficulty appears to be long term, teach them to “bloom where they’re planted.” For example, if a child is likely going to remain in difficult conditions in the Hurricane Harvey flood zone for a while, teach the student that they can go through the experience the “hard way” or the “easier way.” They can be miserable the entire time or they can look for anything positive. For example, the student may miss their home that is now unlivable, but they may really like living with their cousins and having someone to play with all the time. Teach students to keep looking for that positive among the negatives and once they find it, to focus on it. This intervention strategy can help some students avoid sinking into prolonged, deep depressions. Many recent neuroplasticity studies have established that it is possible through effective thought management to reduce the amount of depression a child experiences while building up the brain pathways that focus on the positive. Physical activity combined with talking, thought management and mindfulness is a potent combination that can definitely help over time. Without  these evidence-based techniques, students are statistically quite likely to continue to struggle emotionally and to worsen over time.

 

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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.

     

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Successful School Discipline: How to Get Students to Follow the Rules

 

 

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Successful School Discipline:
How to Get Students to Follow the Rules

 

student discipline

Bullies in Class discipline

Classroom and school discipline can be the toughest part of any teacher’s or principal’s job. Even though discipline problems can dominate many school days, teacher training tends to be focused 80% on content and a mere 20% on behavior management and discipline. Many teachers and principals report receiving even less instruction on discipline, and student classroom management and behavior problems are often cited as the top reasons that teachers leave the profession entirely.

In our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth professional development workshops (coming soon to Seattle on May 4-5, 2017), we devote hours teaching you how to have excellent student behavior management. It is also most definitely one of the most requested topics that our workshop participants ask us to cover. I’m the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop instructor, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. In this article, I’ll give you a peek into some of the top strategies we offer in our professional development inservice sessions. While this is certainly not a comprehensive article, it has some of our best tips to get you started on the path to successful school discipline. If you need more than the sampling of ideas briefly covered in this short how-to article, consider signing up for our Seattle Breakthrough Strategies Workshop sessions on May 4-5, 2017, where we will provide a whopping 200 interventions, all designed to produce successful classroom and school discipline.

 

Successful School Discipline:
How to Get Students to Follow the Rules

teacher classroom managementConvince Students of the

Importance of Rules

Many of us– whether young or old– fail to reliably follows rules and policies that we find to be unreasonable. Many very reasonable classroom and school rules are viewed by students to be totally bogus, and they act accordingly, and discipline suffers. To improve compliance with school and classroom rules, convince your students of the importance of those policies. Here is a fast and memorable way to accomplish just that. Remember: students who see value in the rules are far more likely to reliably follow those rules.

This strategy is a role reversal and many students can be offered the opportunity to participate in it. Ask one of your students to become the role play teacher. You may wish to choose a student who normally resists or ignores school or classroom rules. Offer the student a great prize in lieu of the paycheck that teachers earn. The prize can be anything that is enticing, such as getting out of class a bit early, or soda pop, or stickers, or whatever fits your age group. To earn the prize, the role-play teacher merely needs to teach the class to remember a 5 digit number. Sounds so easy, doesn’t it? But, this is a classroom with no rules. Even worse for the role play teacher, you’ve distributed a lot of the things you don’t want to see in class, items like bubble gum, snacks, cell phones, etc. If necessary, you can also prime several students to engage in other problematic behaviors like talk outs, being out of their seat, and so on.

The role play teacher attempts to teach your classroom and quickly discovers that it’s impossible. With your prompting, encourage the role play teacher to set rules, and attach the role play teacher’s name to the rules. Next, have him or her write the new rules on the board. After a while, retire your first role play teacher and give other class members a chance to experience teaching in a classroom without rules. Once enough students have gotten to experience the extreme difficulty of trying to teach in a class without rules, discuss whether there just might be values in rules. Not only will students view the rules differently, they are far more likely to follow them because their names are now attached to your classroom rules, and they are the ones that created those rules. Students are unlikely to hassle rules they created and named. You will be delighted at the difference in your classroom and school.

 

Teach Skills

Because Consequences

Will Never Compensate

control temper help

 

Many educators believe that if they simply have big enough consequences for school and classroom rule violations, that those sanctions are the way to ensure successful discipline. Sadly, that assumption is often completely wrong. If I say to you that unless you start speaking Swedish right now, you are going to face terrible consequences, most people in the U.S. still can’t speak Swedish. When you say to your students that if you engage in problematic conduct, you will face big sanctions, that is really no different.

If you want to excellent student behavior management and discipline, you must teach the behaviors that you expect– and also motivate students to see the importance of complying with the expectations, as discussed above. The clearest illustration is to look at your rules regarding the use of violence. Students who grow up in a violent family, for example, may have no idea how control their fist, mouth and actions. At home and in their neighborhood, using their fists may be commonplace, and consistently using more socially acceptable behaviors may be unfamiliar and seem undoable, just like you speaking Swedish on command. To expect a consequence to compensate for that deficit is naive and unrealistic, yet that is often what happens when schools expect students to magically change their behavior just because a heavy duty consequence can result. If you truly want student conduct to be better, you are going to have to teach those specific behaviors in an organized, step-by-step manner, very similar to the way you teach specific academic subjects. Further, just as you would never expect a student to magically or instantly learn calculus or to read, students can’t suddenly master self-control behavior skills.

Pictured above is a sample student worksheet that teaches acceptable behavior instead of aggression. It is from our Temper and Tantrum Tamers lesson book. Our website has thousands of resources that teach students self-control but our books, live professional development inservice workshops and online courses are your best bet.

 

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discipline postersBut My Classroom Is Completely Unmanageable

The truth is that some of you are still reading this article because your classroom or school seems really out of control, and there doesn’t seem to be any clear path toward reversing a worsening trend. Here is your solution:

First, if the classroom has really been quite out of control, it is usually far easier to start over than to clean up the existing situation. So, you will need declare Room 630 History Class or Mt. Vernon Elementary’s 3rd Grade Room 50 done and gone. Rename the space and start over. However, you must be able to re-start incredibly strong and firm or you will quickly find yourself back where you started.

Second, to avoid ever getting into this situation at all, we always recommend you start your school year being way too firm and strong in how you manage students. If you decide later to ease up, no student will fight you. However, if you start off a bit weak, indecisive or you are easily played by students, I can guarantee that you will not be able to easily– or perhaps ever– tighten up as students will fight hard to maintain the chaos, commotion and disruption that has become the standard. When you re-start, you must acknowledge the problems that occurred, clearly state what will be different, and then make sure that the new version of your classroom is firmly managed, with strict consequences, along with regular training that shows students how to meet behavior and discipline expectations. You will also need to motivate your students to see the value in school and education because a motivated student is far less likely to fritter away their education on misbehavior. Poster #471 (shown at right) is just one of our thousands of motivation-makers that transform kids into motivated learners. Our live conferences, online professional development seminars and books all can guide you because Youth Change Professional Development Workshops is your school discipline and behavior management expert. We are your classroom management authority, and we specialize in preventing and fixing serious, persistent behavior management problems. We’re here to help. You can email us here.

 

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


Strategies to Motivate Unmotivated Students

 

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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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    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.


Giga-Smart in a Wired World Activities Plus Get a Totally Free Workshop Registration

 

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Giga-Smart in a Wired World

Classroom Activities and Strategies

 
FREE Seattle May 5-6 Workshop Registration
Learn the details below

 



Attend Our Seattle Workshop Free

affordable professional developmentWe have strong registration for our Seattle, May 5-6, 2016 Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop but we are very much in need of helpers. Normally, we charge $84 to attend the workshop as a helper but if you would like to attend FREE and help out with the event, we need you. Please call 1.800.545.5736 to sign up and learn how easy it is to be a workshop helper. You can earn optional college credit or 10 free clock hours while learning 200 awesome, new strategies to turnaround problems like defiance, work refusal, tardiness, bad attitudes, apathy and more. We have just a couple slots to give out so call now. This offer is not available to people who have already registered or have a registration in process.


Giga-Smart in a Wired World

Classroom Activities and Strategies

professional development for educatorsAs our world goes more and more high tech, your students need to be ready. There are a lot of fantastic strategies in this issue, and all of them help prepare youngsters to live in a wired, wired world. Students who face barriers, challenges, family problems, crisis, or other concerns, are especially vulnerable to online danger. Hello from Youth Change Director Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. The picture on the right shows me teaching one of our many online professional development courses— just one more part of the real world that has gone cyber. This issue of our online magazine– yet another cyber entity– is packed with strategies and activities to help keep your students safe in an increasingly wired world.

 

student activity worksheetSilly Boys, Tech is For Girls

It is easier to stay safe in cyberspace when you have learned at least the basics. Girls sometimes can feel that tech is for boys. The relatively low rates of girls getting involved in STEM classes is a clear indicator of a trend that sadly continues into the workplace where women are often woefully underrepresented. Use humor to combat the stereotypes that girls can have about tech. This activity focuses on a very funny worksheet for girls and young women. It humorously overturns many stereotypes about girls and tech. You can download the activity worksheet on our website and print it for use in a discussion with female students. The worksheet can also be printed as an 11" x 17" poster, free to you for being a subscriber of this internet magazine.

 

How to Tell a Good Guy From a Bad Guy

This activity is a clever way to help students discover that in cyberspace, it is impossible to tell a good guy from a bad one if the two people don't know each other in the real world. Create about a dozen brief conversations that appear ripped from a typical social media site that you can call "FaceSpace." These online conversations could look like this:

Stranger: So do you want to meet up later?

Student: Sure

Stranger: Do you want to come over?

Print each conversation on one side of the page. On the other side, in big letters, put either "Good Guy" or "Bad Guy." Be sure that some conversations, like the one above, are relatively clearly reflecting a Bad Guy. Have other conversations that are more neutral, and some that appear safe but all/most should ultimately show Bad Guys in a way that conveys that "strangers online mean danger online," a phrase you can ultimately write on the board and discuss with students.

 

Dude, What's Your Cyber Q?

This activity helps you discover how cyber-smart your students really are. Test students' Cyber Q– "Q" is a shortened version of "IQ"– by asking them to define high tech terms like these: captcha, phishing, ISM, MB, pixel, SSL. They will need to know these terms to survive on our high tech planet. (Answers: captcha is a challenge that shows you are human not a robot; phishing means a scammer is "fishing" for your passwords and confidential information; ISM is the high paying job of Information Systems Manager, and he or she oversees computer networks; MB is a unit of measurement that describes the size of a file or data; pixel refers to the quality things like a photograph or monitor; SSL is short for Secure Socket Layer, and indicates whether a web page has been made secure for credit card transactions and other private activity.)

 

We All Work in a Wired, Wired World

Tech-averse students may not fully understand how difficult adult life will be without cyber skills. This activity can convince them to acquire more critical, basic tech skills. Inform students that nearly all jobs have a high tech component, from clocking in on an electronic time card system, to operating a PDA, to using a barcode scanner, so they can discover that  more and more work increasingly includes technology. Put two columns on the board, then ask students to list jobs not normally associated with high tech. Put their responses in the first column. Next, ask students to name how each low tech job might still require high tech skills. Put their answers in the second column. For example, waitresses may need to use smart phones and tablets to key in orders, scan credit cards, and tabulate bills. Another example: Baggage handlers at airports have to scan luggage tags and navigate through complex computerized security systems. Assist the class to realize that almost all jobs require tech skills because we are increasingly living in a high tech world.

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 activities for k-12 students

Cyberbullying: Your Anti-Social Network

Write the word "cyberbullying" on the board, and ask students to discuss what the term means. Assist students to identify strategies to cope with, reduce, or eliminate the cyberbullying they may experience. For example, students can block bullying "friends" on Facebook. Give this guideline to help students recognize cyber bullying: "When it's no longer social networking but has become anti-social networking, that's cyberbullying, and means it's time to find a new network."

 

Grades by Facebook

This intervention activity helps students realize that problematic postings can come back to haunt them forever. Begin by asking students what kind of content is posted on Facebook and other social networking sites. Allow them to note that students sometimes post about partying, substance abuse, personal problems, and so on. Next, ask the group who views the content. Assist students to realize that content may be viewed by colleges and universities, and that some colleges, universities– and even employers– are requiring candidates to give them access to all their social networking pages prior to being accepted or hired. Help students to realize that problematic posts can negate the value of good grades when it comes time to be accepted at college, or hired for a job. Ultimately, you can help students see that hard work in school can be instantly destroyed by problem social media posts. You can call this phenomena "Grades by Facebook."

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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.


How Counselors and Teachers Can Help Troubled Students in Class

 

guide to helping troubled students in class

 

How Counselors and Teachers

Can Help Troubled Students

in Class

 
 

 

There are always words more dignified
than concealment"

–writer Anne Lamott
 

how to help troubled studentsRegardless of what type of job you do with youth and children, a part of that job should include noticing youngsters who may be suffering through unspeakable events at home. So, whatever your role with children, the information contained in this issue is critical, perhaps even life-saving for your children who are living with terrible pain and sadness.

My name is Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I've spent my whole life learning everything I can about troubled students, and I lecture and teach on the topic all over North America. I have also written books and created online courses on the topic.

When a child is 6 or 16, keeping a secret may seem like the only option when life gets scary. So, you may not be able tell from the words you hear from the youngsters in your classroom or office, but the number of children living with "bad secrets" might shock you. Although sometimes the child's behavior may give a hint of what goes unsaid, here are the best guesses as to how much pain children may actually live with. These numbers are only guesses drawn from research, but no one knows for sure, so feel free to disagree with the guesses. These numbers are offered to illustrate the high frequency of serious family problems that may exist.

Kids may not talk about it, but estimates are that about 15% of students may struggle with substances, or have a family member who struggles. In some regions, this number may seem low so adjust accordingly if alcohol and drug abuse are of particular concern in your area.

About 12% of your students are severely emotionally disturbed, or have a family member who is facing this problem.

how to help troubled studentsThe biggest problem facing your students in terms of frequency may be this next problem. A surprising 20% or more of youngsters live with sexual abuse or incest. More precisely, 1 in 3 of your girls, and 1 in 5 of your boys live with sexual abuse or incest. Of all the problem areas that students don't talk about, this problem may occur the most– but be the least likely to be disclosed.

At least 15% of your students– or others in the family system– live with verbal, physical and/or emotional abuse.

These problem areas can and do overlap. A child can be living with both beatings and incest, and also have an alcoholic parent, for example. These numbers may document what you suspect: that you are seeing more and more troubled students who cope with very serious family problems.

You already know that when a student discloses, as a youth professional, you must report the abuse to the proper authorities. More commonly, however, you have only suspicions with nothing concrete to support your fears. Here are some strategies to use with children who may be carrying such a heavy load that it may make it difficult or even impossible to successfully teach, counsel or help them.

 

student with mental health problemsStrategies to Help Troubled Students
 

STRATEGY
Would You Tell?

It is critical to understand why children don't tell the secret of what is happening at home. Here is a way to give you that insight: Name all the things that you care about the most on earth. You probably think of family, pets, your home, and friends. That is what the child can lose by telling. That's why so many kids don't tell. This understanding may sometimes help you clarify what is going on when you are not sure what is happening with a child.

 

STRATEGY
Before Anything is Said

You may want to be sure that your youngsters know the ramifications of telling before they tell. For example, at the start of the school year, teachers can tell students that if necessary, they are able to help with serious problems from home– and specify what types of problems that means. But, consider if that statement needs to also include honestly revealing what can happen next with regards to reporting requirements, and what consequences can result. Make sure that you use this strategy in a manner that is in keeping with the policies at your site, and that implementation is done in an age-appropriate manner.

Children may need to know what could happen if they disclose so they won't be devastated to later discover that they went "from the frying pan to the fire," saying "I never would have told if I knew what would happen!" At our workshop, we hear countless tragic stories of children who are not removed from perpetrators after disclosure and are harmed or killed; and we hear about children whose most private woes become front page news, and so on. If your child protection system– like many– might struggle to offer good help, consider telling the child that. Ideally, non-mental health workers should cover this information with the help of a counselor. Your goal is to be sure that students know how to identify adults who can help during times of crisis, and to honestly convey the results that the adults would likely produce.


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student with emotional problemsSTRATEGY
These Conditions Must Apply

If you do want to be available to help children who suffer, what can you do if you are not a counselor? First, if you do get a disclosure, get a counselor to help right away. Second, you can create an environment that feels safe enough that a deeply distressed child could trust it to accept help. There are a number of conditions that can create that safety. Here are just a few of the most important: Children want confidentiality; they need to know that their problems won't be blabbed everywhere. They want to know that they will have a say in what happens next. They want the adult to know what to do to help, not become upset, overwhelmed or agitated. They want to have a chance to say what they want to say without being cut off or sent away. They want to be treated with respect no matter how "horrible" their story.
 

STRATEGY
Your Role

You may feel that you just want to teach 7th grade, or just do recreational activities with kids, because that is the type of work you signed up for. You may have never anticipated having to possibly become involved with terribly difficult problems from home. Those feelings are completely understandable, but they may not fit our contemporary times very well when so many children live their lives in fear and pain. Although it may not be written on your job description, perhaps everyone who works with youth, needs to be attentive to the needs of troubled youth. If youth workers can't see the pain, then who will?

So many students in crisis later lament that no adult ever seemed to notice or care about what they were going through. You could.


STRATEGY
Strike a Balance

You may wonder how you can do your job when working with children who are devastated from what they endure at home. Here is a simple guideline to maximize your effectiveness with your distressed children: You never abandon your mission but you don't accomplish it at all costs. That means that you provide accommodations to the student when she appears distressed, and you increase your expectations at those times when the student appears more functional. If you can strike that balance, you can best offer your service to the troubled child without adding to the woes that the child already shoulders.

 

help troubled girls bookChild's Guide Troubled Family bookLIKE THESE STRATEGIES?

We have thousands more in our books, online courses and workshops. The smattering of resources listed in this issue are just a few of the solutions we have. Find more on this topic in our Child's Guide to Surviving in a Troubled Family, and What Every Girl Needs to Know About the Real World books and ebooks. When you are struggling with your troubled, sad, withdrawn, and distressed students, think of Youth Change Workshops. We 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
     


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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.


Defiant Students: Stop Your Worst Behavior and Classroom Management Problems

 

defiant student educational article

 

Defiant Students:
Stop Your Worst
Behavior and Classroom Management Problems
 

 Includes Free Anger Management Worksheet and Lesson Plan

 

 

defiant students"Nothing seems to work

with that child!"
 

Have you ever said those words?

If you work with very out-of- control, seriously defiant students, chances are you have said those words more than once. You were right. Nothing was working to rein in that youngster. In this issue, we'll explain why nothing worked, and what you can do that will work. Hopefully, this article will help you avoid saying those words so often.

Just about everybody has one– that child who is almost gleefully defiant and out-of-control. You know the youngster. He's the one who seems to live to torment vulnerable peers. He seems to almost take delight from engaging in problem behaviors like property damage, harm to others, verbal abuse, and defiance. If you noticed the heavy use of "he" in the last few sentences, that was not by accident. This child does tend to be a "he."

Can you name the mental health label that might be used to describe this type of child? If you've come to one of our popular professional development workshops, or been a longtime subscriber to this educational blog, you should know the answer.

defiant studentsThe answer is "conduct disorder," a topic frequently covered in the articles in this blog and also in our workshop. As you hopefully remember, the term "conduct disorder" roughly means that the child has no conscience, remorse, or relationship capacity. That means that these defiant students  don't care about hurting others or damaging property, so they do what they want, when they want, to who they want.

Only a mental health professional can diagnose this disorder, so it is very important that if you are not a social worker, counselor, etc., you never say that a child is conduct disordered (C.D.). However, it is okay for you to carry that concern in your mind.

Here is the most important information: You must work with C.D.s differently than everybody else. If you attempt to use conventional approaches with C.D.s, you will find "nothing works." There is your explanation for why nothing seems to work with some defiant students.

You may be surprised to learn that conduct disorders are not a tiny fraction of your students. Estimates are that 11-15% of your youngsters are C.D.s. That means you probably have more than one defiant student with whom nothing seems to work.

In our workshop, we devote hours to teaching you about this student. Obviously, we can't fit all that information into brief article. Yet, clearly, this isn't a student you want to work with when you have just a smattering of information on how to manage them, so we'll do our best to explain:

(1) Why nothing has been working to manage your defiant students

(2) What to do instead

 

Defiant Students:
How to Stop the Behavior and Classroom Management Problems

 

 Includes Free Anger Management Worksheet and Lesson Plan


 

student defianceWhy Nothing Works with

Defiant Students
 

Children and teens with conduct disorder are "wired" differently than other students. That means that they may not be able to care. Because of that difference, the following interventions will fail: character ed, values clarification, empathy building, second chances, making amends, and more– far too many to list here. These methods fail because the child must care about others if these techniques are to work. These approaches are absolutely fine for other types of children, but will never be of value with C.D.s. In fact, these methods make the situation worse because they communicate to these children that you don't understand who they are, and don't understand how to control them. That perception generally leads these youngsters to believe that they may be able to do whatever they want without having to deal with consequences that would be of significant concern to them.


What to Do Instead
 

First, if possible, stop using any intervention that requires that the child care. For example, stop using empathy-based methods. Stop saying: "Timmy, that makes Juan feel bad when you slap him." For a C.D., with those words, you just painted a target on Juan's back. Review the list of common interventions in #1 above, and discontinue using those approaches with children who may be C.D.s.

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book on defiant studentsSecond, use approaches that are designed to work with children who appear to lack empathy and compassion. There are lots of methods to replace the conventional approaches that fail with C.D.s. We'll give you one key method here. It's a free student anger management worksheet and lesson plan. Check out this student behavior management worksheet and lesson plan from our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Free anger management worksheetbook and ebook series. The worksheet is called "Do You Want to Go Through Life Without Brakes on Your Actions?"  and can work well to show defiant students that misbehavior costs them. That worksheet and lesson plan is from our Temper and Tantrum Tamers book which is one of the volumes in the 11 book Breakthrough Strategies series. This type of worksheet begins to powerfully demonstrate to C.D.s that "when you hurt others, you can get hurt too."

Notice that we are compensating for the lack of empathy by showing the C.D. that he will often have troubling consequences to deal with when he hurts people or property. (By the way, this intervention and handout is fine to use with almost any child, but is especially useful with C.D.s.)

So, the key point to include in interventions for C.D.s is: Hurting people or property can hurt you. This approach will do no harm if you have guessed wrong about a child being conduct disordered, but can really make a difference if the child actually is.

Now, you have one key pointer to help you work with your hardest-to- manage youth: keep the costs of misbehavior high. There are so many more methods to also use, that we must emphasize that this brief educational article is absolutely inadequate for giving you all you need to effectively manage your most unmanageable, defiant students.

defiant studentsTo best ensure your safety, and that of your students, be sure to more fully update your skills as soon as possible rather than rely on the limited information we have been able to squeeze in here. Our best resource is called All the Best Answers for the Worst Kid Problems: Anti-Social Youth and Conduct Disorders. It is offered as a book or ebook. We also offer many online courses on how to work with very defiant students.

Please be sure to note that we're not identifying C.D.s as "bad" or "hopeless." Instead, we are asking you to consider that you have a diverse population of youngsters, and you need to always select the correct tools for the correct kids. For students who have conduct disorder, choosing the wrong tools can yield disastrous results. Choosing the correct tools can put you back in charge of even the most out-of-control, conduct disordered, defiant students.
 

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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.


Emotionally Disturbed Students: A How-To Guide for Teachers and Principals

 

article how to help emotionally disturbed SED students

 

Emotionally Disturbed Students:

 

A How-To Guide for Teachers and Principals

 
 

 

workshop on severely emotionally disturbed studentsTeachers, Principals and Counselors: Are you seeing more and more seriously emotionally disturbed (S.E.D.) students than ever before? The problem may not be with your perceptions. The problem may be that in fact, you are seeing more emotionally disturbed children and youth than at any time before.

Hello from Youth Change Director, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I'm a veteran counselor and trainer, so let me use this educational article to explain why there may be many more students struggling with S.E.D.

SEDFirst, many settings such as schools and Job Corps, are accepting youth with increasingly serious emotional problems. Second, mainstreaming has shifted many kids from sheltered or specialized settings, into mainstream classrooms, sports teams and scouting troops. Third, and perhaps most important, there may be, in fact, more and earlier serious emotional disturbances developing in children. Or, perhaps we are just getting better at noticing and identifying these problems. No one knows for sure the answer to that last one.

In late 2000, the U.S. Surgeon General formally reported that an amazing 1 in 10 children may have a serious mental health disorder. This report noted that the typical wait for severely emotionally disturbed children to get an appointment with a mental health professional was 3 to 4 months. Some communities lack children's mental health services entirely, the report also noted. This report quotes a study that indicated that many children with severe emotional problems don't gain access to proper school services until age 10. The report emphasizes that many of these severely emotionally disturbed children will ultimately wind up incarcerated, in part,  because their problems went unnoticed, or were addressed way too late. The report advocates for more mental health resources for emotionally disturbed children, and better training in children's mental health for everyone who works with youth. Those are interesting recommendations that might have a lot of impact. Sadly, these proposals don't seem to be gaining traction.

That's where we fit in. We're Youth Change Workshops and we've been talking about students' mental health for many years. From our viewpoint, here's the bottom line: If you are not a mental health professional, but you work with kids, you need to acquire a basic mental health background in order to fully understand your changing population, and to best meet their changing needs.

Youth Change can help you move towards that goal with our monthly Behavior and Classroom Management blog articles, but these brief educational posts will not give you all the detailed information you need on the myriad of mental health issues you now see every day. Be sure to consider acquiring our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Online Workshop, schedule us to present a live or online workshop at your site for your entire school faculty, or make plans to come to one of our live workshops. Any of these options can help make your job much easier, and could even some day help you save or salvage a young life.

troubled studentAcquiring more essential mental health basics will also help you know when to access help from mental health professionals. It will also give you the basic terms you need to convey what you see. There is no substitute for the expertise of a mental health worker, and if budget cuts have reduced this option at your site, that is serious. While a class like our Breakthrough Strategies Workshop can help non-mental health workers learn key basics, it is not a substitute for a veteran counselor or skilled social worker. With the incidence of severe childhood emotional problems apparently on the rise, it makes relying on that counselor, social worker, or psychologist more important than ever before.

If you are a mental health professional you may also want to consider doing a check-up on your skills too. We are always surprised at our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop how many mental health professionals confuse conduct disorders and thought disorders, for example. These are two basic and essential mental health concepts for anyone who helps severely emotionally disturbed children or teens. (Ironically, thought disorder is the single mental health problem that many clinicians believe may be increasing the most in frequency– especially in young children.)

We also need more organizations like the Family Resource Centers in Kentucky. Kentucky's Family Resource Centers are located in just about every school in the state. Their staff exist only to assist the student, family, teacher, counselor or anyone involved in the child's life to help that child succeed in school, community, family and life. Sadly, most of us lack a Family Resource Center worker to turn to. Your challenge becomes: how do I still provide my service to a child with serious emotional problems? Here are a few key do's and don't's as starters, but be sure to also consider developing a plan to more thoroughly upgrade your basic mental health skills if needed:

 

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severely emotionally disturbed studentHow to Help
Severely Emotionally Disturbed Students

 

Strike the Balance


Especially in this age of widespread, mandated education performance testing, teachers can feel pressured to get students to perform and produce. But tests don't "understand" that a child has a serious emotional disturbance and make allowances– but you can. Strive to balance your school or agency's mission with the severely emotionally disturbed child's special needs. Keep the goals, but don't accomplish them at any cost.
 

When I'm Not Sure What to Do


A good general guideline for anytime that you just don't know for sure how to work with a child, is to ask the child. That child is the expert on that child. If you get no useful response, a fall-back plan is to consider what would work or not work with you if you were in that situation. You can also reverse roles and have the child offer suggestions how to help you. Alternatively, ask the child for suggestions for a friend or peer. Many of the suggestions may be ones you can use with the student.
 

But I Have to Be Fair


You may worry that if you give a troubled child extra time to complete a task, for example, that the other kids will complain that it is unfair. In the work world, bosses are required to accommodate employees' special needs from providing a ramp for a wheel chair to arranging for  a sign language interpreter. The ultimate mission of most schools and youth agencies is to prepare the child for the real world. In the real world, providing some accommodation is either legally mandated, a common courtesy, or just good sense. Most schools attempt to give a bigger desk to a bigger student, and a smaller desk to a smaller youngster. Simple human courtesy and common sense should never be viewed as unfair.
 

They Can Take It
 

Some teachers or youth professionals will tell you that the child can "take it." The truth is that you have no way of looking into a child and accurately gauging their resiliency. Since kids do not generally announce that they were beaten last night, or that they haven't eaten for two days, you don't know how fragile or strong a child actually is. You don't know whether or not a child can "take it." There is a risk that a harsh, embarrassing, or aggressive act could harm or undermine a child. While it is never okay to yell, demean or humiliate any child for any reason, it is especially true with children who are severely troubled.
 

These Children Are Manipulating the Adults


While some emotionally disturbed children are very adept at manipulation, many, perhaps most emotionally disturbed children do not manipulate at all. There are many types of emotional disturbances, and each has its own completely unique dynamic. Because an adult works differently with different types of students, tailoring methods to fit each child and that child's unique circumstances, does not mean the adult has been manipulated. It means that the adult has a sophisticated understanding of different types of youth, and has chosen the correct tools for each type of child.
 

Bonus Tip

One way to tell if you need to upgrade your mental health skills is to assess how well you can distinguish different types of mental health problems and apply varied interventions for each type. While non mental health workers can't diagnose, it is still important to be able to understand and identify the difficulties you are seeing. For example, if you do not know the difference between conduct disorder and thought disorder, that means you probably can not work effectively with youngsters with those issues. The best practice would to use completely different sets of tools with each of these two types of youngsters, something you can't do without a basic mental health foundation. The upshot: you may find "nothing" seems to work, and that safety issues abound.

 

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    Reprint or Repost This Article
     

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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.