TEACHING TOUGH KIDS
'Only some make a difference'
Based on TEACHING TOUGH KIDS, winner of the UK's international NASEN awards in the category - 'Best Book to Promote Professional Development' (2011). It was judged as humane, innovative, practical and inspiring.
A half-day presentation - can be adapted
To have Mark present to your school or organisation email or phone
A download link to a PowerPoint file is coming.
"This workshop is presented to enrich the ways we think about and work with kids I affectionately call the 'Tough Kids'. They are complex kids who find life tougher than most. Indeed, managing the emotion and behaviour of these students presents educators with a spectacular challenge in schools today."
The term TOUGH KIDS relate to students whose lives are much tougher than most, and in the process, make life tougher for those who care for them and educate them. These kids encompass a group who are often challenged by 'poor executive functioning'.
Executive functioning difficulties are frequently overlooked and misunderstood. Executive functioning supervises various complex higher level mental processes. As educators, we are acutely aware how students struggle when they lack the faculty to listen and filter out distractions, process new information, get started, persist, adapt to changes in routine, keep track of time and multi-task. With a scarcity of this valuable personal resource it is difficult to delay gratification, strategically plan, self-regulate emotion and behaviour and retrieve information stored within memory that would be helpful at the moment it's required. Poor executive function is associated with a number of developmental problems, psychological disorders and disabilities; AD(H)D, Asperger syndrome, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, etc.
In recent times another group of children with executive functioning difficulties have begun to emerge. These are the kids who have endured the disadvantages of neglect, stress and uncertainty display the classically related symptoms of hyperactivity, hyper vigilance and impulsive behaviours.
This half-day session will be very practical and interactive. It will look at student clumsiness / mistakes / misbehaviours and our responses to them through the lens of 3 paradigms:
The 4 Goals of Misbehaviour
Dealing with misbehaviour, and the emotion that accompanies it, is often stressful. Educators who do best learn to live by Adler's and Dreikurs' 4 Goals of Misbehaviour. They say children misbehave for one of four reasons; a struggle for attention, power, revenge or a display of inadequacy. Effectively applying the learning from the Four Goals of Misbehaviour requires educators to review, and progressively reconstruct their thinking. Why? Because for a long time we've been caught up in a format of 'behaviour management' where school rules seemed to work even though they were less important about how we related to students. Suddenly, the world changed!
Positive Behaviour Support Principles (PBS)
Developed by Dr George Sugai, Dr Rob Horner and Dr Tim Lewis in the 1970's;
PBSP is a proactive, systemic and individualised continuum of support designed to provide opportunities to all students for achieving social and learning success, while preventing problem behaviors - "the best behaviour management happens when the behaviour isn't happening." At the 'pointy end', it centres about understanding what might be driving a student's challenging behaviour. It is an intervention strategy to change the motivation a student feels they are getting in class or from the school environment. The goal is to improve their understanding about what is happening, what is required and how to do it - explicitly up-skilling their awareness and self-management skills.
The problematic or awkward behaviours of students are often tough to change because their very behaviours may have become functional for them. That is, the student believes they work for them. It is not uncommon to see these thorny behaviours being reinforced by how we react and what we do - our unchecked emotions play right into their hands. This is such an illuminating realisation!
The Social Control Window
The Social Control Window challenges us to think about our management; how we work with students, how we control, how we use our authority and what we really look like. Without this pivotal understanding it is too easy to instinctively react to poor student behaviours in ways that are unhelpful. It really is possible for teachers to manage tricky student behaviour differently and more successfully, but we also need to look at our own attitude and behaviours. Without doing so we're only half way there!
I argue that by recognising the 'Tough Kids' and finding ways to work more successfully with them we will reach many more kids, and schools will become better places for everyone.