Blog 2-May, 2018

Blog 2 May, 2018

One of the important considerations from the video we viewed, I believe, is the positive perception of self depicted in the video by each of the students. Did you think to yourself, “ These kids are so comfortable with their 'differences' and seemed to be able to advocate for themselves in positive and constructive ways?"  Albert Bandura (1999) believed that each person's perception of himself can have an effect on how well we learn, how successful we will be in life and how we interpret life events. He called this concept Self-Efficacy.

Self-Efficacy can effect our ability to sustain effort and to achieve, our ability to confront difficult tasks and our reaction to constructive criticism as well as how we diffuse stress and interpret threats. When we are exposed to criticism and name calling on a regular basis, when we are discouraged from pursuing a challenge, and when our inquiries go unanswered, we develop a negative sense of self. We begin to see ourselves as unworthy and incapable.

How many of us can name students we have tried to support in a myriad of ways, only to find we can't get through. No matter how many times we tell the student we have faith they can do it; no matter how we explain that we would never ask them to do anything we didn't think they could handle; no matter how often we offer to meet them before school or stay after school, they don't show up or when they do, they persist in reminding us they can't do it.

I want to talk in the next blog about ways to build Self-Efficacy. But it would be great if we could spend some time sharing our different experiences, so that as we delve into this, we can relate to past attempts.

I will share first, but first listen to this amazing women.   We will talk next Blog.

Fifteen years ago, I taught in an alternative middle/high school in the center of a challenging neighborhood. One of my students was a girl who wanted very much to graduate that year, but, whose decisions academically and behaviorally, were making that an unlikely option. Every teacher tried to support her in their respective areas, to help her complete the work before graduation. She was so verbally abusive to them that one after another they said 'Forget it.”. They refused to work with her and told her not to come back.

She wasn't any different with me. She would stand and swear at me. She would throw her work into my face. She would storm out and repeat the process at the next session. I was struggling with how to help her. I was the last teacher who was trying to work with her. If I walked away, she would not graduate.

I got in touch with a more experienced therapist who worked, successfully, through the courts, with challenging students. Her advise worked and it was the motivation behind my decision to seek out Ross Greene.  He was my first attempt to look at  a different approach to working with these volatile students.  

I quote one of my favorite Ross Greene words of wisdom on the organizational and Strategic Skills page.  " The long term answer to a kid not caring about your concerns is to care more about his." When my young lady showed up next time, we did not do work.  We talked about why she was so angry.  It turned out, she was not angry, she was afraid.  She wanted to graduate so much and it seemed like an impossible task.  We made a plan; wrote it down.  Then she could see that it was possible if she focused on one subject at  time. She did graduate.  And at graduation she thanked me in her graduation speech.  I cried my eyes out and it still brings tears to my eyes. 

Next blog, we will explore this case and I hope others you choose to share. And in the next few Blogs I plan to connect my choices in working with my students to  Social Thinking and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, which I went on to study.  Each of these  perspectives of Academic, Behavior and Social remediation make, I feel, a near complete approach to addressing the issues of classroom management.    And, we will speak to some experts in the field and get their views.   The June Blog will be the last one before the summer break.  I will be lining up people over the summer to speak with us on these and many other topics.          

Thank You.


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