You Get More Flies With Honey:

Nice ways to gain compliance

We can use a hammer to swat a fly, and we may even accomplish the task, but it typically does lots of damage.  When it comes to convincing “resistant” kids to follow our directions, it’s all about what we say and how we say it.  Dr. Mac presents guidelines for phrasing our commentary so that we enhance the chances of compliance with our directions and classroom expectations.

This session provides extensive practice in easy-to-use positive and respectful techniques that:

  •  Solve the problem
  • Promote compliant and cooperative behavior
  • Model appropriate interaction
  • Promote self-control (in our students AND us)
  • Build positive connections with our kids (because kids have to like the messenger if they’re going to listen to the message)

Length of workshop: ½ or full day

Topics covered:

  • Avoiding terms that create and exacerbate situations
  • Withholding negative predictions:
    • “You’re going to drop it.”
    • “You’re going to fail.”
  • Using non-accusatory language: I, us, and we messages
  • Praising effectively
  • Giving effective directions (from subtle requests to strong messages)
  • Giving praise that motivates and criticism that helps, not hurts

 Figuring Out Why Kids Misbehave And Using that Information to Effectively Intervene

Effective interventions are based on knowledge of WHY the student is showing certain behavior patterns.  We know that humans show behaviors only if benefits are derived (If a behavior doesn’t serve a purpose, we stop using it).  This session provides guidelines for determining the cause (the benefits) and purpose of particular behaviors.  Suggestions for intervention follow.

Length of session: 4 hours

Topics covered:

  • ABC (Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence) model
  • Rudolf Driekurs’ “Mistaken Goals” model
  • Other Common Contributors
    • Prevention of failure
    • Emulation of anti-authority behavior pattern from the neighborhood
    • Fulfillment of an adopted psychological role
    • Reaction to pursuit of a goal being interrupted by the educator
    • Failure on the part of the educator to consider the student’s views
    • Educator misunderstanding of developmental appropriate behavior

Introduction to Defiance:

Where it comes from; why it happens; and

what does & doesn’t work with resistant kids

Student non-compliance is perhaps our greatest impediment to creating a positive and productive classroom.  Effectively dealing with resistance requires a studied and thoughtful approach.  Punishment tends to increase resistance in persistently defiant youth who are either immune to it or infuriated by it (If punishment worked, we wouldn’t have kids with long term reputations for defiance…they’ve been punished by multiple educators for multiple years and they haven’t changed).   After an overview of the condition, common ineffective strategies are discussed, and alternatives are provided.

Length of session: 6 hours

PowerPoint slides accompany Dr. Mac’s presentation.                                     

Topics covered:

  • Ways to support kids who are starting to show resistance
  • Issuing directions in ways that are more likely to gain compliance
  • Using good-natured humor
  • Offering acceptable choices (Not just the “Do it or else” kind)
  • “Taking the emotional temperature” of kids
  • Using proactive cooperation to assure later cooperation
  • Why Punishment is counter-productive with these kids
  • Alternatives to punishment
  • Administering penalties in non-damaging ways
  • Phrasing criticism so that it doesn’t spur further resistance
  • Ineffective praise
  • Novel and effective praise
    • proximity praise
    • proactive praise
    • Modifying praise for those who otherwise will refuse it
  • Weaning kids from low level rewards (edibles, tokens/points)
  • Understanding the reasons for defiance
    • Avoiding failure
    • Preoccupied with a personal goal
    • Emulation of an anti-authority attitude
    • Fulfillment of a role assigned by one’s surroundings
    • Educator misinterpretation of age appropriate behavior
  • Others
    • Identifying the reasons for defiance
    • Dreikurs Mistaken Goals Analysis
    • A-B-C system
  • Novel strategies
    • Reminiscing
    • Negotiating
    • Providing acceptable choices
    • Using the element of surprise
    • Using humor
    • Agreement with the student
    • Others


Teaching Social Skills

While many misbehaving students may be able to tell you what they OUGHT to be doing, they don’t have the training and experience to display those appropriate behaviors on a regular basis.  If we want to see those desirable behaviors, we have to teach them.  This session provides guidelines for assessing skill deficits, designing units to teach behavior, and implementing those lessons to promote everything from listening skills to well-mannered interactions with others


Length of session: 3 hours

Topics covered:

-What are social skills?

-Which social skills are important for school success?

-Assessing & teaching social skills without an expensive curriculum

-Developing lessons based on the assessment




AND other workshops, in-person or by purchasing one of his fine video series addressing the material found on the home page of

*All of Dr. Mac’s workshops and keynote speeches can be conducted via “Distance Learning”.







Dr. Mac’s personal assistant prepares him for an upcoming session
(C’mon…it’s a joke.  This young fella was the ring bearer from my wedding. Please…no nasty e-mails about child labor laws.)

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