While many students and their parents are eager to be successful academically, there are some students as well as some parents who will present as being more argumentative and challenging to work with than others. As a teacher, how can you help those parents and students to feel safe and cared for in such as way that you are able to build a meaningful working relationship with them in order to help the student to be successful in your class? One or two paragraph answer please.
During this school year we have had encounters with overly defiant students and these skills are something I have tried some and wish I knew more about when things happen. It is hard to immediately try to react in a calm and soft manner when a student is actively coming at you in a verbal or physical way. There is one girl in the school is has recently make it a habit to either act out and become confrontational, as well as resort to violence against the teacher if needed. When it comes to confrontation, such as yelling out during the lesson and saying things are boring and stupid, can be a cry for assistance in the subject.
This is something I took into consideration after reading the article Compassionate Discipline: Dealing with Difficult Students. It brought up many good points to help me when aiding the teacher when the students becomes out of control. I noticed when it came to doing work would trigger outburst and, on some occasions, taking her out into the quiet hall way would help her better concentrate. On other days she would try to play hide and seek by running out of the classroom. Another strategy I would try to use is talking calmly and softly to her, she tends to be very loud and over rule you with her voice, I think by talking soft would hopefully bring her down a bit and try to reason wit her.
If this works then we can move on to the choices, we have a chart where if she makes the right choice, she earns a sticker. After receiving 5 stickers in a row she is able to get a reward which is a 10 min break, iPad time, or physical prize. Trying to get her to understand what her choices are and they are set in stone is difficult as she tends to want to leave the room to bash the teacher with her words. You want to build structure and show that the choices are in place to benefit her, as well as keep the classroom and herself safe.
When it comes to dealing with the parents, it is hard to get through to someone who is in denial or doesn't want to admit there is a problem. All in all, the child is the one who will suffer if things are not done. You can try reading out to the parents and have them involved in making a plan to help them succeed, but it depends on them wanting to put the effort in as well. If parents are supportive, that makes it easier to figure out ways to help the child, if not then you can start to see why the defiant behavior is happening. You can see certain similar patterns in the way they handle confrontation between the child and the parent. This can help the teacher as well as the staff figure out ways to get through to the child an help them the way they need to.
One paragraph comment please
2) Challenging Behavior
Defiant students have always been something that I have worried about. I found the video about working with defiant students helpful because she gave explicit examples of what to do in a situation when a student isn't complying. Working with middle school students, the method that she showed in this video would not completely work for me but I could definitely modify it to my student's needs. In order to work with my students and create a meaningful working relationship with them, I need to make sure to give clear choices and consequences for those who may be defiant in the room. By showing students that there is structure in our classroom and that actions have consequences, it will allow them to feel safe. I believe at the age group I work with, having choices makes them feel empowered. It will also allow the students to see that I am not an authoritative figure, but one who is willing to work with them. By disciplining them compassionately, they are still receiving a structured reaction but one that they don't feel criticized by.
When it comes to challenging parents, I really like the idea about "turning on subtitles" that was mentioned in the article Compassionate Discipline: Dealing with Difficult Students by Grace Dearborn. In the article, she talked about using this method with students, but I also think it could be helpful with parents as well. If you have a parent who is coming across as argumentative or challenging, they may just be scared to tell you their real concerns about their child. We have to think about whether or not the parent has ever dealt with a child in special education or if they're thoroughly educated about their child's needs.
We as educators need to try and ignore the "noise" of the parents and really look into what their concerns may be and why they are frustrated. We can also give them choices just like we do students, maybe not so much with consequences involved, but choices about what direction to go with their child. They may be coming off as a challenge because they are unaware of what to do with their own child at home. Sharing strategies could be an effective way to communicate with the parents and put their minds at ease. Overall, building a trusting relationship is key to working with challenging parents.
One paragraph comment please