While I love coming up with creative, fun, educational things for kids to do, sometimes the behavioral side of things can be a challenge. A nicely planned lesson can be thrown off course by some distractions that were not envisioned in the plan.
Scanning the research for assistance and tips on how to deal with challenging behaviors, I am reminded of some basics in working with children, and the importance of prevention. An article on the Teaching Pyramid Model (Fox, Dunlap, Hemmeter, Joseph & Strain, 2003) popped out at me.
The Pyramid Model stresses that prevention is important; the best way to deal with challenging behaviors is to avoid them as much as possible in the first place. What are some things that help prevent issues? The article points out that our relationships are critical and we can focus on building a warm rapport with the kids and really show interest in each individual. Also, how we arrange the program is crucial as well; the flow of the schedule, how the environment is arranged, and how we teach them our routines and expectations are effective tools. If we spend time on these things, we are building a stable structure. Another basic they mention, which interests me, is the notion of teaching youth “emotional literacy”.
“Many children need explicit instruction to ensure they develop competence in emotional literacy, anger and impulse control, interpersonal problem solving, and friendship skills”. Wow. I could use some explicit instruction myself! I imagine, what it would have been like in previous scenarios of my life if I or someone else had an instructor who was coaching us on how to identify what we were feeling and constructive ways to interact with others......