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Chapter 5 from TEACHING TOUGH KIDS
Mark Le Messurier
The control of student behaviour has always been a major component of an educatorís skill repertoire.
Today, as teachers face increasing numbers of students with challenging emotions and behaviour, there is a clear
expectation on them to expand the quality of how they go about man aging students (Applebaum 2008).
Every so often a teacher will find themself having to deal with the behaviours of one or two students
who battle for attention and power. When challenged theyíll become defiant or loud, and occasionally
vindictive and intimidating. Oppositional styled behaviours, from even just one student, can be a perilous
time. Such encounters place a teacherís reactions under the closest scrutiny of the class, and depending
on their responses, either an atmosphere of care, strength and fairness is stirred, or the class can
suddenly set itself against a teacher it perceives as mean and unjust. The tone of the classroom can
quickly unravel and the confidence of students to learn and participate in a warm interactive
class environment falls apart.
Dyslexia, reading failure, behavioural problems and more
Dyslexia falls under the broad umbrella of 'Specific Learning Disorders' (affecting 15 - 20%
of the population). It is referred to as a learning disability because it can impede life
socially, emotion lly and academically. Dyslexia affects about 10% of the population, although
it is being under diagnosed. That's two or three children in every Australian classroom and its
severity is on a sliding scale. It attempts to explain why a person can do relatively well
(even really well because some dyslexics are gifted) in some areas of learning, but encounter
unexpected problems in reading, writing and spelling.
The exact causes are not clear, but researchers agree there are structural brain differences
in dyslexics that are likely to account for the way the brain develops and functions (Shaywitz,
2005). Dyslexic genes have been identified and the data suggests that if a dad or a mum is
dyslexic their sons have about a 75% chance of being dyslexic too, whilst girls will have a 25%
chance. However, current information suggests too many girls are slipping under the radar not
LIFE-SUCCESS lessons and conversations
Chapter 1: Building relationship with young people - March, 2017
One of the most satisfying experiences for relational educators is the opportunity to
deliberately build humane connections with young people, and between them. We've learnt
that there's so much more to teaching than simply imparting quality curriculum. Professor
Maurice Galton in his book, 'Learning and Teaching in the Primary Classroom' alerts us
that schools can very easily become lonely and isolating places for both children and
adolescents (Galton, 2007)
Parenting & Stress: Developing Your Own Coping Strategies
Fawne Hansen is a wellness coach. Email -
She writes, "Raising a child can be one of the most stressful things we do, but there are several strategies
that can help you to cope. Building support systems, establishing routines, and making use of professional
counselling can all help."
This article is useful for first-time parents, or anyone for whom the stress of parenting is feeling
overwhelming or too difficult to manage.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
Nicole Eglinton, Director and Principal Audiologist, Little Ears
The most common reported difficulty experienced by children with an Auditory
Processing Disorder (APD) is understanding their teacher in background noise (i.e. the
Auditory processing refers to how well we detect, discriminate and process auditory
(verbal) information. It is often thought of as the brainwork of hearing, or in other
terms "what we do with what we hear".
An Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) (also referred to as a Central Auditory Processing
Disorder) refers to an inability to make optimal use of what we hear. Children diagnosed
with an APD typically have normal hearing and normal intelligence however have difficulties
listening, particularly in the presence of background noise (e.g. the classroom).
Teaching tough kids
Posted on September 5th, 2013
SA Kids PARENTING MAGAZINE
Not too long ago, there was a perception that 'tough kids' were the kids who were a bit like the character
Fonzie on the TV series Happy Days. The series ran between 1974 and 1984 and celebrated the relationship
between teenager Richie and his family: his father Howard, a hardware store owner; Richie's mother Marion, a
homemaker; Joanie, his younger sister; and tough man Arthur Fonzarelli - The Fonz, the Cunningham's tenant,
high school dropout, biker and suave ladies' man.
I prefer to see 'tough kids' slightly differently. I think 'tough kids' form part of a challenging and
growing group of children who find life tougher than most. They may have been diagnosed as being gifted or
battling with specific learning difficulties, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Language Disorder,
Auditory Processing Disorder and/or Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Simmer down the anger
Excerpt from Australian Family Magazine, September 2012
Writer and Editor; Emma Reeves
When 13 year old Anton gets angry, he wants to punch holes in the walls. When two year old Jackson is angry he wants to smack or hit. Seven year old Jessica and her mum shout at each other when they lose control.
We can all get angry at times. It's just part of living alongside each other. But there are ways to manage anger
so that it does not become an ongoing problem.
Both children and adults can feel anger sparked by irritation or frustration. The anger becomes a problem if it is happening continuously or if it sparks irrational behaviour or inappropriate actions.
Homework; does it matter?
A down-to-earth approach for teachers and parents
Well, does it?
This article is written with educators and parents in mind.
It gathers an assortment of practical ideas to ease typical difficulties surrounding homework. What is presented is realistic advice, mindful of the kids who struggle with concentration, learning issues, or feel so fatigued by the time they arrive home from school that an emotional blow out over homework is just a heartbeat away. Students with learning or emotional difficulties do it so much tougher than those without. As a result, so do their mothers, fathers and teachers. Successful homework approaches depend on of educators and parents synchronising their communication and attitudes, and recognising that homework is a highly complex undertaking. Without us, the adults, pooling our efforts and understandings we shouldnít be shocked when our kids become expert at avoiding and sabotaging it.
Whatís happening in your childís bedroom?
Parental expectations that are consistently higher than their child can achieve simply create antagonism.
Ironically, bedroom tidiness is often the trigger for broader based friction. Decide how tidy the bedroom
really needs to be. When you ask your child to clean up, think about whether the task is too big for them.
If the mess is big enough for you to roll your eyes and think, "What a mess, where would I start?" then it's
too big for your child to tackle alone, whether they are 6 or 16 years of age. In addition, it becomes more
daunting if your child battles with spatial, organisational, distractibility and persistence difficulties.
Helping your anxious child: information for parents
Anxiety is a normal part of children's behavioural and emotional development, and as children get older,
their concerns grow broader. A younger child may be worried about a spelling test, a soccer match, or
catching the school bus for the first time. An older child may worry about a school camp, failing in a test,
impressing peers or starting a new sport. These anxieties are common, even signs that your child's
development is on track.
Asperger Syndrome: building social stories with students
The aim of Social Stories is to develop social understanding by helping children to 'read'
understand social situations. Social stories provide information about social situations that the
child may find confusing or difficult to understand. The situation is described simply, with a focus
on just a few key points. The goal of the story is to explain confusing situations, make the child feel
more comfortable and confident, and suggest some appropriate responses to the situations. It is
important when introducing a Social Story that is introduced in a relaxed, positive environment
where the student can "learn" the social situation before
experiencing it: they are not
designed to process situations after
the child has made poor choices of behaviour.
Situations from which the child withdraws, or attempts to escape from may be appropriate targets
for a social story.
Social skills: developing your child's conversation skills
Most children develop age appropriate social skills by observing, asking questions, and interacting
with a wide range of people who allow them to build a conversational repertoire to draw upon. For a
variety of reasons, some children lag behind in this process. It may be due to temperamental factors
such as shyness or behavioural reasons such as decreased self-control. Problems may be displayed
with greeting, conversation building, lack of self-correction, timing, boundary violation, context, or
some other social error. Having conversations with your child is the best way to model appropriate
skills. In addition, you can coach your child to develop better skills. This handout provides some
Listening skills: "Hey, are you listening"
Some children seem to be chronically bad listeners. It is crucial for a child to develop good listening
skills in order to cope with the demands of school and as a basis for strong literacy skills. Good
listeners are more likely to follow instructions, and to be able to express their ideas well in words.
Listening is related to memory, too: it is very hard to remember something that you have not heard
well in the first place. In fact sometimes poor listening is wrongly described as poor memory, particularly
Tips to manage the emotion and behaviour of students
Tips to manage the emotion and behaviour of students identified with:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Asperger Syndrome
Due to their tireless work at the coal face teachers know what many medical professionals and parents
are now discovering. That is, the face of each of these conditions constantly shifts, and what's more,
it is not unusual to work with a student who battles with two or three of these conditions.
Download PDF file.
STOP THINK DO traffic lights in the classroom save lives!
A positive social climate in the classroom saves lives!
This sounds like an exaggerated claim, but long-term research and experience with children supports it. It shows that children who relate well together and make friends are less likely to have serious problems that ruin their lives; these include delinquency, criminality, drug dependence, school drop-out, low self-esteem and motivation, loneliness, depression and psychopathology of various types which may last into adolescence and adulthood.
Parenting Ideas for Today
It All Starts with Listening
I know that our children have many choices about whom they share their thoughts and feelings with. When they were in primary school, their parents most often heard about the events and concerns that were nearest their heart. But as they got older, parental ears were more and more often replaced by their friends and classmates, teachers and coaches and parents are increasingly left out of the loop. It's not easy, but it's natural.
Helping to Build Your Child's Self Esteem
Self esteem develops from children's experiences and how others react to them. If children have successful experiences and they get messages from others that say 'you are great' then their self esteem increases. If they experiences failures and negative reactions from others, their self esteem decreases.
BLITZ your Times Tables
This program is based on three very important findings from the research:
Notes for parents and teachers
- NO ONE actually enjoys learning times tables - it's something like cleaning teeth or using sun lotion, your child JUST HAS TO.
- Bribery works. Students learn faster if there is something they value at the end of it. Money preferably.
- The best learning builds on success - that's why we teach Times Tables in such a funny order, not 2,3,4,5,6,7 and so on to 12.
The Explosive Child in Preschool
When a child's skills in a particular area lag behind, we know the benefits of providing extra support. In his book, Dr Ross Greene explains that "The Explosive Child" is not choosing to behave in this way, but rather has not yet developed the skills of flexibility and tolerating frustration. Thus our role, as with any developmental delay, is to help the child develop these skills to an age appropriate level.
Helping Brothers and Sisters Get Along
Actually, there is a great deal parents can do, since sibling relationships are shaped in large part by parents' attitudes and actions. Without intending to, many parents reinforce conflict. They may fail to set adequate limits on fighting, allowing one child to dominate. They may appear, from their children's point of view, to favour one child, place unfair demands on an older sibling or simply not listen.
Helping Your Child With Comprehension
Here are some ways that you can help your child develop the skills to understand, process and recall information when they are reading. Some ideas work best with readers and novels, and some work best with "information" texts. Some will even work with taped TV programs... maybe not with The Simpsons, though.
Helping Your Child With Homework
Homework is set for all sorts of reasons, not just because "that's what teachers do". It should be a chance for students to consolidate or revise work they have covered in class, and it provides opportunities for students to extend their skills in different areas of interest. Sometimes it will be interesting and engaging, and other times it will be just tedious and hard work. Homework demands self organisation and time management: these skills take time to develop, and your child may need support when they first start to do set homework.
10 "Hot Tips" for Managing Your Child's Behaviour
You've read the books, talked to other parents, and generally tried most things. Have a close look this week at how many of these strategies you use. Remember: the best way to change your child's behaviour is to change your own behaviour. All the best strategies involve setting routines, rewarding the behaviour you want to encourage, avoiding confrontations and modelling the behaviour you want to see in your child.
101 Cool Ways to Learn Spelling Words
- Put your words in sentences.
- Underline all the vowels. Make a graph showing how many times each vowel is used (that's a,e,i,o,u)
- Same thing - only this time underline consonants (that's all the rest)
Angry Children, Worried Parents:
Helping Families Manage Anger
Parents worry when their children struggle with anger. Angry feelings and behaviour can be especially challenging for children who have learning and attention problems. To help parents address this problem, Dr. Sam Goldstein, Dr. Robert Brooks, and Sharon Weiss, have teamed up to co-author a new book, Angry Children, Worried Parents: Seven Steps to Help Families Manage Anger (Specialty Press, 2004).
Auditory Processing Disorder
Children and adults with auditory processing disorder (APD) have problems comprehending speech. The concept of APD is often difficult for parents, educators and other professionals to understand. A child with an auditory processing disorder has normal hearing and intelligence, but impaired ability to attend to, recognise, analyse and interpret information that they hear. This is probably because of the way the child's central nervous system is "wired". No one really knows why this deficit in sensory processing in the brain occurs. Previously, APD was often called Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAP-D).
Tips on Exam Preparation
The following are some useful pointers for preparing of the coming exams.
- Allow enough time to revise - start early enough that you don't run out of time to cover all the material before the exam.
- Clarify exam format and requirements - make sure you know how long the exam is, where it will be held and at what time, what resources you are allowed to take in with you, and what areas of course content will be assessed.
- Plan revision - structure your revision using your diary or a calendar so that all topics are covered.
Thatís what I call my brotherís Asperger Syndrome
It was a dark and stormy night, and I lay with my eyes squeezed tightly shut. The lightning flashed so brightly I could see it through my eyelids. I burrowed deeper into my blankets. A deafening peel of thunder rolled across the sky, and I let out a small whimper. My imagination got the better of me, and I began to hear things outside the window. The howling wind became a werewolf, searching for its next victim, the tree scraping on the window was some dark stranger trying to get inside.
What sort of friend are you?
Most students think thereís little they can do to stop the bully, or a group of students demonstrating mean behaviours, without risking becoming a target or losing their own status in the group.
But really, thereís a lot YOU can do to become a better friend to everyone.
The first step is to understand what roles you may be playing in your group of friends. Take the following quiz and find out!
Dysgraphia: Compensating Strategies for Students
Most commonly, the term Specific Learning Difficulty incorporates the conditions described as Dyslexia (specific reading disorder), Dyscalculia (specific calculation disorder) Dyspraxia (speech) and Dysgraphia (specific writing disorder). This group of disorders affect language and learning and is thought to affect between 3 per cent and 10 per cent of the population. Such a diagnosis is sought when a noticeable discrepancy becomes apparent between an individual's intelligence and their acquisition of reading, writing, spelling and maths skills despite support by sound teaching practice.
20 SPARKLING IDEAS to inspire self-motivation in students
Research has also shown that the level of motivation a student walks into the classroom with can be changed, for the better or worse, depending on what occurs in that classroom. More than anything else, a quality relationship is what enables cooperative behaviours and motivation to be stretched and reshaped. Healthy connections bubble to the surface as a smile, a wink, a silly face, a nudge, a dare, a joke, a thumbs up, a kind or reassuring comment. The benefits arising from a quality relationship are remarkable, and are far more potent than special efforts to attack motivation directly.
REPEATING A SCHOOL YEAR: a difficult decision
When a student is struggling with their school work the possibility of
repeating a year level is sometimes suggested by parents and/or teachers.
The decision is seldom an easy one as in most situations there are things to
be said in favour of keeping the student with their age peers, and advantages
in arranging for them to repeat a year level. Often the decision is hard
because the arguments for either course of action are quite evenly balanced.