Behavior & consequences
March 21, 2014 § 1 Comment
One of my days this week focused around the words behavior and consequences. At work and a discussion at the gym.
I got my roots in behavior management. I used to think it was the be all end all until I realized, it is only sometimes necessary in a direct way. What really needs to be addressed is the lagging skill and children need to be taught directly about what piece it is that is lagging. I am a fan of the work of Michelle Garcia Winner and her Social Thinking Curriculum. I firmly believe behavior is communication. I also believe unless we teach kids to self monitor and become self aware that none of it is any good.
I do believe having consequences to your behavior are not the worse thing. I think that pointing out the natural consequences of a behavior are beneficial as we do with social behavior mapping.
The phrase I have not spoken aloud today but keeps pinging back and forth in my brain is “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” I am thinking it because I also believe self awareness techniques and self monitoring is something that should be part of a general education classroom in the younger grades, for ALL kids. Too often we have a special plan just for the child with needs – this only serves to single them out more, draw more attention to their behavior and often creates a spiral of failure. When we address the entire class the same way with the same expectations, making mistakes behaviorally or socially and learning from those mistakes becomes a shared norm and an opportunity to practice what is expected by a group. If we make this teaching a part of classroom culture it can become a conduit for community building, empathy, support, and compassion.
Teachers – is there a way you can address the class as a whole in terms of self-monitoring and self awareness? Can you use it to build unmeasurable skills like empathy and compassion? I have helped devise these programs in classrooms it IS possible but the general education teacher has to be open it to it. It is NOT easy but in the end, your classroom culture will be amazing and your students will feel part of something special.
Ps – yes, yes positive reinforcement – I didn’t forget but that is just a piece of the puzzle.