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Jan 192014

Welcome to the BehaviorAdvisor.com blog! Stay tuned for tips, news and great deals on materials that will take your classroom management skills to the next level.

Find more posts regarding behavio(u)r on facebook. (Search for BehaviorAdvisor.com when you’re logged in to facebook.)

Warm regards,
Dr. Mac

 Posted by at 11:03 pm
Feb 152016

MY VALENTINE: One February 12th, a local-news website asked readers to submit a brief story about how they met the love of their life. I submitted my story with photo. I thought that our pic might be printed as a little thumbnail image next to hundreds of others.

Dang!… I was shocked yesterday when I went to the news site. On the front page was a massive photo of me and my wife. It seems that I was the only person who wrote in!

How I met my wife: http://ossining.dailyvoice.com/…/ossining-resident-…/625416/

OSSINING, N.Y. — We asked for stories on how you met your Valentine and got this one from Ossining resident Thomas McIntyre:”As a professor of special education at Hunter College, I often conduct workshops regarding classroom…
 Posted by at 9:34 pm
Feb 152016

WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE…: What is we treated behavior mistakes like academic mistakes? http://www.edutopia.org/…/behavior-expectations-how-to-teac…

Instead of assigning disciplinary consequences when students don’t meet behavior expectations, why not deal them as we would deal with academic failures and missteps?
 Posted by at 9:33 pm
Feb 152016

WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS: Have you seen the secretly-filmed video of a teacher severely chastising a 1st grader’s who had difficulty in answering a question? Perhaps the educator’s underwear was on backwards and cutting off circulation to her brain.

You’ll see in the article that surrounds this video clip that 20+ former teachers have criticized the behavioral climate of the Success Charter Schools network in NYC. I have heard these same complaints from a couple of my grad students who have taught there or have a friend on the Success Schools staff/faculty.

This network of multiple schools has also been called out for trying to get rid of kids with behavior challenges (with practices that are in violation of educational law), instead of providing services to them. The “word on the street” is that in one small part of this granite planet (the part found my city’s Inwood Marble), climate change would be welcomed.

PLEASE NOTE: I do NOT intend to impugn the integrity of the vast majority of S.S. teachers who are reaching and teaching kids with the power of positive strategies. I’m referring to the “bad apples” who in the name of “not taking any nonsense from these kids” use negative and hurtful practices. Administrative tolerance of their contra-indicated ways is also abhorrent to me. (if indeed true)

In the clip, it seems that the student is asked to tell others how she solved (on paper) the math problem. She seems to fail to verbally describe what she graphically produced during the independent work time.

There is so much that is involved in this short clip, and so much we don’t know…so many questions surround it. I hope that I am not errantly jumping to conclusions based on minimal information.

I’d by very interested in discussing the different aspects of what happened in the video clip (including any defense of the teacher’s actions). What did you notice? What would you have done differently at that moment? Is it wrong to publicly shame someone who “goofs” in a moment of frustration? (although the other adult in the room claims that it was the teacher’s modus operandi) Chime in!

Here’s the link to the video clip: http://www.sfgate.com/…/Abusive-teacher-caught-on-video-682…

Here’s the link to the website of the Success Schools Network:http://www.successacademies.org

HEY! Success Schools! I’m right down the road from you. Call me!

 Posted by at 9:31 pm
Jan 232016

Overlapping, Dangling, Flipflopping, Thrust: No, we’re not talking about the Presidential debates (or that other image that might come to mind). These are terms related to how we can better manage student behavior by the manner in which we teach them. For more information on “instructional behavior management”, here’s the link:http://www.behavioradvisor.com/TeachingTips.html

 Posted by at 8:08 pm
Jan 232016

When students become disengaged during the lesson, some teachers stop their lessons and say: “I can wait until everyone is paying attention.” and then wait for the pupils to reengage. This break in lesson momentum is a mistake.

This (and other) invasive redirection strategies bring the lesson to a grinding halt and lead other students to disengage while the teacher attempts to redirect the first student. What else to do?

When a lesson is interrupted:
1. Look for kids doing the right thing and thank them for displaying appropriate behavior. (Describe those actions.)
2. Use an “I”-centered statement: “I need for everyone to have their lips sealed, ears open, and eyes on me.”
3. Use one of the attention getting strategies mentioned in a recent post.
4. Engage the attentive kids in a task, and then use a quiet question as you enter the proximity of the errant learners: “What do you need to do right now in order to keep… (“yourself out of the Dean’s office”; “your points”; “me off the phone with your parents”). Phrase your question so that a “pay off” is presented (obtaining something desirable or avoiding an awful outcome). Avoid suggesting more inappropriate action: “If you continue to talk, you’re going to the office.”

Need more information on how to phrase your utterances? Check out this video: http://behavioradvisor.com/Webinar.html

 Posted by at 8:05 pm
Jan 232016

Typically, when we address the display of an inappropriate behavior, we whine/complain about it, penalize it, tell the student to stop it, or attempt to reduce it with contracts or differential reinforcement procedures (for more on DR procedures, go to: http://www.behavioradvisor.com/…/DifferentialReinforcement.… ). We’re typically focusing on the behavior and the consequences that follow it.

But remember the A-B-C analysis in which we note the Antecedent, Behavior, and Consequence in order to determine what is sparking action and what is maintaining it? What would happen if we focused moreso on the antecedent? What might be the outcome if we address A before B and C?

With the youngster (or with the addition of other professionals when a student is a persistent offender), we identify the stimulus, both the most recent one (the antecedent) AND the ones that led up to the antecedent (the “setting events”). We then discuss what can be done to better handle those stimuli in a more productive manner.

It is essential that the student be actively involved in the session so that we adults don’t make wrong assumptions about feelings, setting events, and the antecedent. This process also helps the student to be motivated to take positive action.

Here’s an example of the process as described by one of my valued grad students who is studying with me in our behavior disorders program at Hunter College in NYC: “During the beginning of the year the more questions a teacher asks and conversations he or she has with students about the antecedent to the behavior, the better the instructor will understand them. Then, once the teacher has an understanding of when a particular student is being behaviorally challenging, the teacher can be proactive.

Being proactive can look different under varying circumstances. If the teacher doesn’t know why the student is acting in that manner, s/he only knows when, then s/he can change a lesson to target the student’s interests, trying to distract the errant learner from the antecedent. For example, if the antecedent is the anxiety-causing beginning of ELA lessons, then the start of the lessons can include a “hook” such as a video of a favorite game or character. If the teacher is fortunate enough to know why and when the behavior is occurring, s/he can devise solutions for dealing with the antecedent. Sometimes, it will be done by simply removing the antecedent or helping the student cope with it in a more socially appropriate way. An antecedent can be removed if the problem is as simple as not being able to see the board or it is too distracting in the area where they are sitting.

An antecedent needs to be addressed on a deeper level when it is a problem that will transfer to multiple parts of their day and life. If the behavior is the frequent calling out of the answers (behavior) to teacher questions (antecedent), and the motivation attached to the antecedent is that s/he knows the answer and really wants to impress others, the student can be given an index card or small erasable white board on which s/he can write this information. If not called upon by the teacher, s/he can hold up the board after another student offers an answer.”

Thanks, C.H

 Posted by at 8:05 pm
Oct 182015

Parents advocate for their children. Sometimes their ways make it difficult to communicate effectively and in the best interests of their child.
Disagreeable parental actions are most likely to crop up when the guardians have been summoned to address misbehavior on the part of their child. This article, taken verbatim from the Marshall Memo #604, September 2015. Provides some guidance.

Addressing Various Parent Concerns

In this article in Principal Leadership, New Jersey social worker/family therapist Brett Novick lists some troublesome parent behaviors and suggests ways to deal with each one:

• My child is never at fault – “Stick to the facts,” advises Novick. “Document your conversations… Documentation can help clarify facts, reduce emotional exaggeration, and avoid legal disputes.” To prevent teachers, administrators, and other adults being played off against each other, he suggests including the student in meetings.

• The teacher or administrator must be wrong about what my child did – Let the parent have his or her say first, says Novick. “Encouraging parents to share their worries first enables you to remind them in a firm-yet-understanding tone that the rules of the school apply even if they don’t necessarily agree with all of them.” It’s helpful to have another educator present at the meeting.

• He’s your problem now – “Some parents are drowning in a world of financial despair and/or emotional, physical, or family issues,” says Novick. “First, see if these survival concerns are being met.” If the parent isn’t in a position to help with a child’s issues, work with the school counselor to find rewards, motivations, and consequences within the school.

• Second-guessing teachers and administrators – Don’t always assume the worst and avoid getting defensive, says Novick. The parent may be using questions about the curriculum and other matters to understand what’s going on and feel part of a child’s education. “The more information that these parents have on the front-end, the less apt they are to question how things were handled on the back-end,” he says.

• Harassing, intimidating, or bullying behaviors – When parents are in this mode, Novick advises against using e-mail (it can come across as confrontational) or picking up the phone while angry. Timeliness is also important – getting to the parent with the school’s side of the story before the child has a chance to stoke anger at home.

• My child will attend school when he or she chooses to – Look for patterns in children’s absence, advises Novick, as well as signs of abuse or neglect, and provide missed work for chronically absent children.

• Passive-aggressive behavior – Becoming too friendly with parents – accepting a daily cup of coffee or a bagel, chatting on social media or the soccer field, accepting a compliment that includes an invidious comparison with another educator – can come back to haunt you, says Novick. Maintain appropriate boundaries at all times.

• My child is being victimized by teachers (or other students) – Steer the conversation away from blaming or victimizing, says Novick. “Remind them that it is the behavior that you are addressing. You are not condemning their child’s character or, consequently, their parenting skills.” In addition, it’s important for the school to work toward consistent discipline policies from classroom to classroom.

• Helicoptering – Be proactive in contacting these parents and affirming their deep and passionate concern for their children’s well-being. “These parents are concerned that their child will not be able to handle the proverbial ‘real world’ without their intervention,” says Novick. “When you report successes to the parents, it helps them to realize that they do not have to do everything for their child.”

• Distrustful of public schools, administrators, and teachers – “Don’t focus on being right or wrong,” says Novick. “Focus on what is right for the student.” And look for face-saving “win-win” solutions.

“The 10 Most Challenging Types of Parents – and How to Work With Them” by Brett Novick in Principal Leadership, September 2015 (Vol. 15, #1, p. 44-48), no e-link available


 Posted by at 11:40 pm
Oct 182015

Today, I hosted a group of Korean officials from their government’s ministries that are concerned with education and mental health. Given their recent passage of a special education law (not yet implemented) and a 2011 court decision that outlawed “caning” and the infliction of physical pain for misbehavior, they were looking for ways to best help their kids with mental health and behavior disorders.

They now know about PBIS and are armed with a slew of positive intervention strategies. I also took them to the Lorge School in NYC. It’s a school that does amazing things with BD kids who have been unsuccessful in NYC’s special education programs. Many of the teachers there are my former students, making for a nice homecoming of sorts.

Fine folks on our side of the world and theirs… working to help our kids with special emotional and behavioral needs. I look forward to my continued interaction with them.

 Posted by at 11:37 pm
Oct 042015


Here’s the link to the free suggestions, courtesy of Dr. Mac: http://freespiritpublishingblog.com/…/supporting-students-…/

If you’d like 161 more, they’re available.  236 total!

Join the ranks of teachers and parents who possess effective practices for reducing impulsivity, distraction, and overactive behavior in the home and school.

 Posted by at 4:13 pm