Managing Difficult Students: Verbal De

Report
Paul Bordelon, School Psychologist
Intervention and Prevention Services, FCPS
Karen Glago Durocher, PhD
Office of Special Education Instruction, FCPS
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1
• Provide an overview of the nature of
acting out behavior
• Review of teacher and staff roles in the
conflict cycle
• Review Strategies to address common
problem behaviors in the classroom
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Managing difficult behavior is like a _______ because ________
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Managing behavior is all
about what we say and do!
(Colvin, 2004)
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 Manage
minor problem behaviors quickly and
efficiently
Plan, teach, and implement predetermined hierarchy
of consequences
Implement in order consistently
 For example for the first rule infraction-Reteach
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Signal occurrence
Tell the student the correct response
Ask student to restate/demonstrate
Disengage
AVOID POWER STRUGGLES
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Level 1: Class Verbal Reminder
Level 2: Nonverbal Cues
Level 3: Student Specific Reminder/Modification
Level 4: Private Conference
Level 5: Time Away ( in- or out-of-class)
Level 6: Parent Conference
Level 7: TIME OUT ROOM
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Steps 1-4: Emphasis on prevention and teaching
Steps 5-7: Emphasis on safety, crisis management,
re-entry and follow-up procedures
http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/bi1/bi1_02.html
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
Overall student behavior is
cooperative and acceptable.
◦ Respond to teacher directions
and praise
◦ Accept corrective feedback
◦ Engages in and completes
work
◦ Ignore distractions and/or
inappropriate behaviors of
others
http://www.iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/bi1/bi
1_03.html
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Analyze design of physical space of the
classroom
 Create a practical schedule
 Establish high classroom expectations for all
 Use predictable classroom routines
 Manage instruction, incorporate best
practices
 Teach behaviors while students
are in calm phase

PLAN IT OUT!
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• Triggers also referred to as setting events,
aversive stimuli, antecedents, etc.
• Overall behavior is a series of unresolved
conflicts
– School-based examples
• Repeated failures, frequent corrections,
teasing, conflicts with other students, etc…
– Nonschool-based examples
• Argument with parent, no breakfast,
substance abuse, family member illness,
Inadequate, sleep, etc…
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Identify the context
(trigger) and
predictable
behavior problem
Specify expected
behaviors
Modify the context
Conduct behavior
rehearsals

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Provide strong
reinforcement for
occurrences of
expected behaviors
Prompt expected
behaviors
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• Observe student’s body language
– Limited eye contact/veiled eyes
– Busy hands – tapping pencils, rubbing legs,
wringing hands
– Moving in and out of groups with no goal
directed purpose
– Off task/head down
– Starring into space
• Listen to student’s response
– Unwillingness to talk/disrespectful tone
– Close ended short responses
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• Occurs due to an inability to handle trigger
• Noticeable change in behavior
– Rise in level of stress
– Loss of attention and concentration
– Increase in off-task behavior
• May last a long time
• Signals the possibility that an acting-out behavior
may develop
– Prime opportunity to intervene and change
the course of the behavior (and quite possibly
your day!)
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Offer teacher empathy
Assist student with task
Provide space
Offer assurances and additional time
Permit preferred activities (within set
parameters)
Change activities (independent, passive,
movement)
Maintain teacher proximity
Use student self-management where
appropriate
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• Behavior becomes focused and directed
typically at staff
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
Questioning and arguing
Noncompliance and defiance
Disruptive behaviors
Provoking of others
Limit testing
Whining and crying
Inappropriate verbalizations (e.g., threats)
Destruction of property…
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• Consciously avoid escalating prompts
that lead to more serious behaviors:
– Shouting
– Engaging in power struggles
– Moving into the student’s space
– Touching the student
– Sudden or very quick movements
– Using “put-down” statements
– Becoming defensive and arguing
– Communicating anger and frustration
through body language
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• Remain calm, detached, and respectful
– PAUSE – The most powerful response is no
immediate response.
• Realize the student is playing a game
• Don’t take it personally!
• Use your predetermined procedures
• Utilize non-confrontational limit-setting
procedures
– Establish initial set-up
– Present the information as a decision
– Follow-through
http://www.iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/bi1/bi1_06.html
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Remember. . .
• Proxemics
• Kinesics
Sarcasm
• Verbal and Nonverbal Response
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• Use non-confrontational limit-setting
procedures.
– Step 1: Restate expectations in calm manner
– Step 2: Present the information as a choice
• Present the desired behavior and the consequence if
he/she does not comply as a decision for the student
to make
• Allow time for the student to decide
• Withdraw from the student, attend to other
students or engage in some other task
– Step 3: Follow through and ignore low level
negative statements and see them for what
they are…face-saving remarks
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Steps 1-4: Emphasis on prevention and teaching
Steps 5-7: Emphasis on safety, crisis management,
re-entry and follow-up procedures
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Conflict is unavoidable and natural
Conflict is manageable- You can do it!
Intervene early and often for best results
Pause◦ Often the most powerful response is no immediate
response.
◦ Think- What predetermined step should occur next?

Don’t take it personally
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Geoff Colvin (1989):
It is always important to remember that “if you
inadvertently assist the student to escalate, do not
be concerned; you will get another chance to do it
right the next time around.”
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