When the Chips Are Down with Rick Lavoie

–”Hey, don’t push her.” –”I can push her if I want!” –”You can’t push if you want. This is my classroom!” –”She’s looking at me.” –”She wasn’t looking at you, she was looking at me.” –”Do you ever have days when the kids seem totally out of control? [arguing continues] –”You see? I mean, is this unproductive or what? When adults argue we play by the rules.” Kids don’t. It’s like guerilla arguing. Our kids, kids don’t play by the rules.” –”Educator Rick Lavoie will help change your child’s behavior by changing your behavior at home and in school.” Parents and teachers join us for When the Chips are Down with Richard Lavoie Funding for this program is made possible by the members of WETA From the campus of Georgetown University please welcome Rick Lavoie [applause] “I was speaking in North Carolina not too long ago, and I was flying back from North Carolina heading into Boston and you know you’re sitting in the back of the plane in coach, and you’ve paid for eighteen inches of space. It’s like your little world, and you kind of sit there protecting it hovering over it. The gentleman next to you could be having a heart attack you wouldn’t even notice, because you’re just kind of sitting there doing your work so I reached into my briefcase, and opened up my briefcase and took out some educational journals I had. Dropped the tray table down, and took out some note cards and started taking some notes from these journals There was a middle-aged gentleman sitting right to my left, and he leaned over into my space and saw what I was doing and he said “Excuse me.” He said “Are you an education?” And I said “Yes I am.” And he said “Do you have any children of your own” And I said “Yes I do I have three.” And with that it was very strange. It was almost mystical. His eyes kind of glazed over, and he looked out the window of the plane, not focusing on anything, and said half out loud, and half to himself. I didn’t even know if he was talking to me. He said “God I wish I had three kids. I’d give anything to have three kids.” And I said “Don’t you have any children children sir?” He said “Yes I have six.” [Laughter] The point being it’s difficult to parent, and it’s getting more and more difficult, and it’s particularly difficult if you are a parent, or a professional dealing with children with learning disabilities. This series that we’re putting together for PBS has as its slogan “Learning Disabilities: The real challenge is Educating those who don’t have One.” Because it’s our bias that we know how to educate this child. We know how to teach the learning disabled child, now we’ve got to get to the parents, to the special ed teachers, to the regular ed teachers, to the basketball coaches, religious education teachers. Now we’ve got to get to the people that deal with those kids every day. I was speaking at a wonderful, little school called the Churchill School in Saint Louis Missouri. Independent school, small private school for kids with learning disabilities. Had a big audience coming in about folks coming to hear me speak, and a friend of mine had made, I’ve been using the slogan for a long time, and a friend of mine had made up of about a hundred buttons that had this slogan on it “Learning Disabilities: The real challenge is educating those who don’t have One.” And I was, as I was setting up to get ready to speak I noticed in the back of the auditorium there were five, or six little kids, six or seven-year-old kids, children with learning disabilities that went to that school, and they were setting up a bake sale. They were gonna be selling cookies and things to people as they came in the door, and so I figured I’d be a nice guy, and I reached into my briefcase and took out four or five of these buttons and I went to the back of the room and gave one of the buttons to each of the students. And there was this one little spark plug little kid about seven years old he was just out of his mind he was so happy that he had the button, and went up to his teacher and he said “Look you know that guy who made the video? Look at the button he gave me, learning disabilities. The real challenge is executing those who don’t have one.” BEGIN********that’s that’s a little more radical than we plan to get tonight but teaching people about learning disabilities a tremendous challenge and as I work with families with special needs kids I’m told time and time again that one of the biggest problems the families face is controlling and dealing with the behavior and that’s how we’re going to spend this evening talking about how you can control and manage the behavior of your child with a learning disability now in order to do that I have to share a bias with you I’ve met a lot of parents that are very very effective with their special needs children I’ve met a lot of teachers that are very and what I’ve done is sat down and taken all those effective parents and all those effective teachers and tried to find out what they have in common what trait to these effective people share the one thing that I found that these people have in common is this there are three things you need to have to effectively deal with special-needs children you need to have a knowledge base you need to know how these kids function and basically why they do the things they do secondly you need to have some techniques you need to have some sort of bag of tricks if you can draw from so when you get in trouble you can reach into that bag of tricks and put and pull out something from

your repertoire some technique some strategy that you can use and lastly you need a philosophy I’m talking about a philosophy system a belief system in the way that these kids should be handled and the way they should be taught I think that it teachers philosophy a parents philosophy ought to be just like just like a religious faith you don’t develop a religious faith and then throw it out the window as soon as you get in trouble in your life the reason you develop a religious faith is so you can have it close to you when you when you’re in trouble it should be the same way with a philosophy if you have a philosophy of Education you should have it right up front so when you get in trouble you can pull it closed and you can use it and you can utilize that philosophy and the first thing I would suggest to you is that you need to develop an understanding of the difference between positive and negative feedback we all know what positive and negative feedback is positive feedback is reward recognition praise negative feedback is punishment taking away a privilege doing something negative to the child positive feedback changes behavior negative reinforcement on negative feedback only stops behavior you will not change a child’s behavior by punishing him or her you can only change a child’s behavior by giving positive reinforcement example I’m sitting in my office I look out over the ball field I see Tom picking on Jim Tom always picks on Jim so I bring Tom into my office and I tell him that he can’t go to recess again until voting-age I make them right times I will not pick on Jim not a very wise thing we do in schools you’ve got half the teaching staff trying to get the kids to enjoy writing the other half using writing as a punishment you know circle a slow learner in this picture I say you know you can’t go to recess until your voting age I’m going to call your mother and tell her what an awful kid you are and I’m gonna bring you down to the vice principal and he’s gonna yell at you for a while all negative reinforcement I will guarantee you that as a result of that intervention as a result of that negative reinforcement Tom will never ever ever pick on Jim again outside my office but God saved Jim any place else on campus before school after school on the school bus or on a weekend because all negative reinforcement does it stops behavior it does nothing to change the behavior however one day I’m sitting in my office I look out over the baseball field and I see Jim carrying the bases for the baseball coach and he drops one of them and Tom the bully comes over in his direction and I think oh great he’s gonna kick the base out of his reach make his life miserable but instead much to my surprise tom bends over takes the base hands it back to Jim very nicely I say Tom come here for a second I just saw what you did that was a very kind thing you just did you know as a matter of fact I called your mother last week when you were picking on kids I’m gonna give her a call today and tell him what I just saw and I walked down the corner with him and I run into the vice principal and I say let me tell you what I just saw him do let me tell you what I just saw Tom do a very nice thing as a matter of fact I need to move some books down for my car I’m gonna bring him with me he’s gonna come with me and he’s going to help me do a little bit of work around here I could use a big guy like him to help me out all positive reinforcers I can equally guarantee you that Tom is more likely to be nice to Jim the next time he sees them whether or not I’m around because positive reinforcement is an agent of change in behavior negative feedback only only stops behavior and we’re supposed to be in the business of changing kids behavior the second thing we’ve got to understand if we’re going to try to change children’s behavior is it’s not gonna happen as quickly as we would like you have to begin to deal with what we call successive approximations you have to recognize that the behavior is no but it changed this quickly we know they don’t learn how to spell as quickly as everyone else we know that kids with learning disabilities don’t learn how to read and write as quickly as everyone else why should we assume that they’re going to learn behaviors as quickly as everyone else I would suggest that if you’re trying to change a child’s behavior you think about the way that kids learn language let’s take a walk through the way children learn language a little child X number months old sitting in a crib one day the mothers walking by the crib and the baby says mama the mother goes nuts breaks out the video camera say it again say it again you call your relatives in Virginia call a mother-in-law you got to come over in here she just said mama you call your husband at work at home right away come home for lunch she’s saying mama this is great and the baby gets all kinds of reinforcement for saying mama four or five days later the mother walks by the crib the baby says mama nothing MA nothing mama nothing the mother looks yeah I’ve heard mama what have you done for me lately you know you know Mama’s okay the baby looks at the teddy bear and says watch this Dada whoa the camera comes out again the other

relatives come down from Maryland you know you call your husband come home you got it the way that a child’s language improves and grows is that we reinforce each step toward the goal we don’t wait until the child can recite the Lord’s Prayer before we say your language is coming along quite nicely thank you very much what we do is we reinforce each step of the behavior and as we reinforce that behavior the behavior grows and improves we need to understand this concept if we’re trying to change a child’s behavior as well successive approximation reward direction not perfection what you’ve got to do is recognize reward and reinforce where appropriate the child’s steps to that terminal behavior example you’re a teacher you have a child with an attention deficit disorder in your class he’s highly impulsive one of those ready fire aim kids that we talked about very impulsive child if I can’t do it right I’ll do it fast that kind of child and whenever you say whenever you give a in your math class he always calls out the answer you say how much a three nine three the kid yells out nine and you sit down with him you say no Johnny here’s what I want you to do here’s what I want you to do John when I give a question in math class I want you to raise your hand wait till you’re called on then give the answer you think you can do that the kid says yeah I think I can do that okay next day in class you go into class how much that’s four times four kid goes sixteen okay I would submit to you that that behavior is less wrong than the previous behavior at least they remembered to raise his hand I would submit to you that that behavior was less wrong than the previous behavior so rather than saying no you did it wrong you say Johnny you did remember to raise your hand that’s good that’s good you did remember to raise your hand but remember raise your hand wait till you’re called on then give the answer kid says I got it next day in class you come in how much the five times five kid goes less wrong less wrong he raised his hand and called the answer at the same time so instead of saying no you’re wrong you say well you’re getting there you’re closing your raised hand and call the answer at the same time remember raise your hand wait here called on then give the answer got it next day you come into class how much is six times six kid goes thirty-six I mean he waited as long as he could he raised his hand he waited as long as he could he gave the answer that is less wrong that behavior is less wrong instead of punishing the child you’re reinforced two steps toward that behavior and I talked to teachers and they say I don’t have time to do that Rick that’s like the farmer who says I don’t have time to build a fence I’m too busy chasing the cows you know if you do these kinds of things you’re not gonna have to deal with so much misbehavior successive approximations the behavior will not come like this the behavior will occur slowly it will grow and develop but will only grow and develop if you reinforce those steps towards the behavior the other thing we need to recognize is that their behavior will be inconsistent the research shows very very clearly that performance inconsistency is a part of the LD profile these kids have bad days and good days which is why it’s so difficult for them to maintain their motivation if you’re a learning disabled child years old you have gone through the experience that I’m gonna outline for you right now you’ve gone through this experience times you’ve got a times tables test you’ve got a test in the times tables of five on Friday and you want to do as well as you can on that test so you study on Monday and you know it pretty well and you sit down on Monday night and you review it with your cousin you’re going through the five times tables you got them down pretty good you get up Tuesday morning you’re practicing with your brother over the cornflakes five times one is five five times two is times is you’re doing okay you practice um Wednesday morning with your father and then Thursday morning you get up you’re practicing with your mother over the French toast you’ve got them pretty well you practice them that night before you go to bed you get up early Friday morning put a little more practice time while you’re in the shower first period the teachers talking about the pilgrims but you’re just thinking times is times is give me that test and the teacher second period passes out the test and you look at it and the information is gone it’s gone you don’t have the information anymore it is absolutely gone you fail the test and that night when you’re home watching wrestling with your brother suddenly the five times tables come back when you don’t need them when you’re a learning disabled child you’ve gone through that experience thousands and thousands and thousands of times it’s called performance inconsistency and what’s so important to the ego of these kids and the self-esteem of these kids is how we and adults deal with that performance and consistency because what I find is many times when a child these kids have good days and bad days it’s part of the profile and what I find many times is when a child’s having a good day instead of celebrating that and being happy with that we almost punish them for it we say well it seems you can do it when you put your mind

to it can’t you it seems when you decide to do what you can do this whenever you want to it’s not true that performance and consistency that good day bad day thing do you think it’s distressing for you imagine how distressing it is for the child Mel Levine University of North Carolina said one time about performance and consistency it will be a great day when we recognize performance and consistency as part of the LD profile rather than as evidence for the prosecution because that’s what we do when they have a good day we say you see we knew you could do it we knew you were dogging it all along instead of taking that great day that good day and pulling it close and using it and celebrating it working with the child we’re going to spend a great deal of time talking about things that work but before we do I think it’s appropriate to talk about things that don’t work we’re going to talk about what I call behavioral questionable practices things that we do with kids every day but there’s no evidence that those things work and yet we continue to do them every day first of all corporal punishment corporal punishment well we all know corporal punishment has been banned in most states in the United States now but when I refer to corporal punishment I talk about any physical contact with a child you know suppose Joanne here I’m teaching and Joanne’s doing something Joanne is talking to a friend Jane next to her and I want to go over and I’m gonna grab Joanne by the arm just very very lightly and I’m gonna give her a little bit of a shake I know exactly what I’m gonna do I’m in complete control what’s missing from the formula I don’t know what she’s gonna do I don’t know what she’s gonna do so I grabbed her by the arm it’s titled so she swings around and hits Jane in the nose and breaks James nose with her elbow and I’m teaching I’m working at Sears the next day out of a job because I wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t to grab the child no in corporal punishment any kind of corporal punishment folks it just doesn’t work it doesn’t work all you do is teach the child please if you spank your seven-year-old constantly don’t be surprised when he starts beating on the five-year-old because he’s learned that from you he’s learned that from your corporal punishment stay away from it timeout how many of your schools use timeout on a regular basis I would be willing to bet I consult with over schools now I would be willing to bet that if you use timeout in your school you’re probably using it incorrectly I haven’t seen but two or three schools in the United States that use timeout correctly people use timeout to isolate kids most schools use timeout as a punishment do you know that timeout was never designed to be a punishment if you look back into the behaviorist literature in thes ands timeout was never meant to be a punishment timeout was meant simply to be this to take a child who’s receiving positive reinforcement for negative behavior and put him in a situation where he’s receiving no Riaan for negative behavior it’s not supposed to be a punishment the child is sitting at the reading table during reading class and he’s kicking everybody onto the table everyone’s laughing they think that’s real funny he’s receiving positive reinforcement for negative behavior you say John please leave the table and go sit over there in the corner where you were receiving no reinforcement for negative behavior that’s all it’s supposed to be but many schools use it as a punishment this is one practice I love that I see at schools go in the corner and come out when you think you’re ready folks he’s totally out of control he’s disrupting your class he’s disrupting the dinner table what makes you think he’s going to make a good judgment in terms of when he’s ready to come back if you send the child to the corner if you give you a child timeout you decide when he comes back you make that decision I mean in the NHL when there’s a penalty on the ice they don’t say now you go in the penalty box and you come out when you think you can behave bottom line is you’re there for three minutes that’s it you don’t come out for three minutes that’s the way if you’re gonna use timeout with kids and you’re gonna isolate kids you should decide and only you should decide when they come out see a lot of people using forced apologies with kids I don’t like forced apologies I want you to go tell Johnny that you’re sorry for what you did if he’s not sorry you’re asking him to lie I will remind a child who owes someone an apology that it might be a good idea to apologize but no forced apology is not a good idea sarcasm be very very careful our kids don’t understand sarcasm many times they’re extremely literal they have difficulty with what we call figurative language they’re extremely literal be very very careful with sarcasm and if you decide to be sarcastic with our kids you’d better be ready to take it back you’re better ready to take some sarcasm from them I know a lot of teachers who are very free with their sarcasm when they’re dealing with kids but they don’t like them being sarcastic with the teacher well the door swings both ways and the bottom line is what happens many times is you will say something sarcastic to a child and he can’t think of anything to say to you right away but he thinks of something great about two weeks later and he says it to you while you’re

standing in the corridor talking to the superintendent of schools so sarcasm not a good idea taking things away from kids confer skating Goods I know so many teachers that take great pride in the fact they pull open the middle draw they’ve got all these chattering teeths and teeth and squirt guns and all these things they’ve taken away from kids not a good idea not a good idea you see the research very clearly shows us research done by Kohlberg and his people that children learn their morals and values based on what they see us do not based on what we tell them to do children learn their morals and values based on what they see us do if you’re a fifth grade teacher who takes things away from kids please don’t be surprised if you find him going down to the second grade taking things away from those kids he learned that from you you always give the child an opportunity to get it back you just make it more restrictive here’s what I recommend j-jane brings in a toy and she’s playing with the toy and it’s distracting the class I say Jane give me that toy and I’ll give it back to you at the end of class the end of class I say Jane here’s your toy back don’t bring it again she brings it again a couple of days later Jane I want to take that toy away from you except this time instead of giving it back to you you have to come and get it back for me after class you have to remember to come and get it for me gonna be a little bit tougher to get it back this time she comes again it brings it in again Jane I want to take this down to the principal’s office you’ve got to go down to his office to get it back brings it in again Jane I want to take this away bring it to the principal’s office your mom or dad they’re going to have to come and get it back but you’re always giving the message it belongs to you and it would be stealing to take it away from you so you’re always going to have a chance to get it back it’s just going to be a little bit tougher each time cheap shots a real questionable practice I hate people using cheap shots with kids I remember I was consulting at a school one time and I heard this teacher saying to a child little Charlie Charlie was eight years old one of our kids difficult kid to deal with I’m sure and she said Charlie I was absent yesterday you had a substitute did you behave for the substitute Charlie said yes I did the teacher said no you didn’t I’ve got a whole list of things here that you did wrong you know you stuck the gerbil in electric pencil sharpener yeah you know you hid the chalk and you gave a different name and you stole the plan book and the kid is looking at the teacher and thinking why did you make me I to you why didn’t you tell me what you knew see that’s what I call a cheap shot I mean did that teacher actually think the conversation was going to go like this gee I was absent yesterday charlie and you had a substitute were you good for the substitute did she actually think the child was going to say well as a matter of fact I wasn’t and I’m quite surprised she didn’t report me on this I’ve got a list I’ve made a list of things I made a list of my various transgressions here and I think I should be severely punished of course he’s not going to tell you that your thing doesn’t think that you know so by setting up a cheap shot what you’re doing is you’re asking the child to lie and the last questionable practices one I feel very strongly about imposing school tasks as punishment I know I’ve heard teachers say you get you the students were so bad in class today you were so disruptive I’m gonna make you read an extra chapter in the literature book what are we saying about how we feel about literature using homework as a punishment when you’re bad you get double homework when you’re good you don’t have any homework what are we saying about homework we’re saying homework is bad homework is a bad thing that you don’t want to have to do that’s not what we want to teach our kids the reality is that by using school as a punishment using schoolwork as a punishment we’re delivering the message that school is inherently bad so those are some things that don’t work things that were referred to as questionable practices let’s talk about things that do let’s talk about ways that we can discipline our children the philosophy of the discipline model were going to present tonight is based on this simple fact we are too reactive with our children we aren’t proactive enough with our children when I was running a day school I was in downtown area and I ran into a friend of mine who had a child that went to my school and there was sort of a rocky father-son relationship that I shared and so I said to him Eddie how are things going with Ted he said I not too well we’re not speaking we haven’t spoken since Sunday I said Oh Eddie what’s going on what happened he said brick he said you know with just one of those things Sunday night we sat down where we had dinner we had a nice dinner together and at the end of the meal and Teddy said I’m gonna run upstairs and get changed for the church dance and he started heading up the stairs and he said as soon as he started going up the stairs I said said to myself I know what he’s gonna do he’s gonna put on that black leather outfit there’s no way in the world he’s gonna wear that to church so I waited down at the bottom of the stairs for him sure enough minutes later he came down with this black leather outfit on and I said you get back up those stairs and you put on something and we got in a big argument

we haven’t spoken in three days I said Eddie that was your fault because you were reactive why weren’t you proactive you knew he was gonna put on the leather outfit why weren’t you proactive about it why didn’t you say hey dad I’m gonna go get dressed for the school for the church dance okay but Teddy remembered not the leather outfit tonight Oh dad no no this is the church dance that’s okay for the school dance church dance I want a pair of jeans and a sweater or something but no leather outfit Oh dad but it’s gonna go a lot smoother than doing what he did which is waiting until a child had spent minutes getting himself all together and then reacting to the child’s behavior you’re going to be better off if you’re proactive rather than reactive the reality is that we can take preventive measures to prevent the problems from occurring in the first place the research no matter what research you read it shows fairly clearly that learning disabled kids kids with learning disabilities are environmentally dependent we used to call these kids with great respect and affection chameleon kids they take on the colour of their environment well if we know that the child responds to his environment maybe maybe the solution to dealing with their behavior is not to try to change the child but to try to change the environment in which the child exists and preventive discipline is designed to set up an environment where in the child can succeed there is very little that you can say about all learning disabled kids these kids are very different one from another not only they different from the general population the very different one from the other but if there’s one thing you can safely say about most children with learning disabilities is that they have very little internal structure we call it executive strategizing they can’t plan they can’t bring structure to their world they can’t do things in a structured and organized way because they have very little internal structure it’s our job to provide them with a very tight external structure a structure that is predictable structure has a very very has become sort of a dirty word in education now people think of structure is being militaristic all structure means is that it is predictable at home and at school your child needs to have a predictable environment they don’t deal well with surprises they don’t deal well with curveballs you should have rules in your classroom you should have rules and those rules should be posted I go into a school in February of the year sometimes in a school where I might be consulting and I’ll walk into a school and the third grade teacher will say all right everyone needs some construction paper for this project and the classroom goes absolutely chaotic students crawling over desk trying to get to the construction paper you should have a routine established for how you’re going to pass our paper in the very first hour of the very first day of class how many times in a year are you going to pass out paper hundreds of times a year are you really willing to let your class turn totally chaotic hundreds of times a year you should have structures and routines for the way the kids pass in the homework the way you collect the homework what they do when they’re tidy the first thing they do when they walk into the classroom all these things should be routinized and this consistency will allow them to behave more appropriately best way for me to tell a real effective structured teacher is a day that she’s not a day that the teachers not there you walk into the classroom and you say to the students well what do you do first well first we do spelling out of the net that notebook down there and then in the middle draw she’s got the math flashcards we do those and then down here there’s a reading group the students feel so comfortable with that structure that they’ve memorized it and that consistency they grow to depend on it and all the anxiety begins to decrease many many of our students suffer from undiagnosed anxiety disorders they need to have their world explained to them they need to have their world made consistent for them the other thing you’ve got to do if you’re going to maintain the kids behavior and attention is you’ve got to set an agenda we’ve got several hundred people here today why because WETA and PBS passed out a flier that said Rick Lavoie is going to speak at Georgetown University here’s who he is here’s what he’s going to talk about he is what he’s going to say based on that you all made the decision to give up an evening and come and hear this presentation how many of you would have come if you were gotten a flier that said some guy from Cape Cod is going to come and talk are you just like a party that’s all you come to anything yeah none of you would have come in other words as adults we insist that if I’m going to enter if you’re going to enter a learning situation you insist you insist that you be told what this is going to be the objective and that goal and the goal of that learning situation but we never do that with kids doing you will change the dynamic of your classroom you will absolutely change the dynamic of your classroom by simply setting an agenda for kids putting up in the wall what you plan to do what you plan to talk about that day by putting the agenda on the board you’ve changed the dynamic of your classroom now it’s not now it’s it’s no longer you against

the kids it’s you and the kids against the list now your allies working together together to complete the list they forget it to your list they forget you’re the one that put the list up there and you can bring a sense of urgency to it you can say come on guys let’s go we’re only on number three we’ve got five more things to do we got to get going we’ve only got minutes left kids respond well to that that kind of deadline thing I want you to clean your room I bet you can’t do it in ten minutes all of a sudden the kids off like a rocket you can you can manipulate the kids they manipulate us you can manipulate the child by but you know there’s something the children want to do they want to see the slides that you’ve got at the Washington Monument and so where do you put that on the agenda where does that go dead last grandmas rule you each of vegetables you get dessert you do what I want you’ll get what you want so starting the lesson is an important part of preventative discipline the next step using your voice effectively using your voice in a way that manages children’s behavior my bias is you never yell at a special-needs child the research shows very clearly in the field of speech and language that when you yell at a child with a learning disability they only hear the yelling they don’t hear the message at my school or River View school adolescents with learning disabilities I would bet that if I brought any one of the students into my office and said you know you’re my favorite kid you’re absolutely the best kid in the school he’d say when I do wrong mr Lavoie what I do wrong they don’t hear the message they only hear the yelling and there will come a time god forbid that will come a time as a parent or a teacher that you need to get your child’s instantaneous response in an emergency and I’m here to tell you that if you yell at children all the time they will not respond when you yell at them in emergency because they’re so accustomed to it they don’t respond to it let me demonstrate for you a technique that shows how effective we can use our voice how effectively our voice can be used now to do this we knew we need two volunteers we have two volunteers so what do you want to do this let’s see it in the that their first robot back there and and you if you would talk please let me show you how we’re going to do this what we’re gonna do is a technique called broken record technique this is to be used with children who argue now I know none of your children argue with you but in case a cousin or anyone comes to visit this is a way to deal with the child who argues there are many people in the field and I include myself as one who say that if you argue with a child you automatically have lost by virtue of the factor arguing we’re not supposed to argue with kids kids are supposed to respond to us and if you argue with a child you’ve automatically lost why the kids you with us what are some reasons the kids might argue with us give me some reasons one is power and control one is power and control the child wants power in control and he takes it from you by arguing the second reason the kids might argue is why attention you get positive attention and reinforcement from the other kids because arguing with the teacher makes you look pretty cool and the last reason the kids argue is to derail the lesson they’d rather argue than do spelling they’d rather argue than learn history what we’re going to do without two friends here is I’m going to play the role of a teacher I’m going to demonstrate a technique called broken record technique you’re going to see why it’s called that but first I’m going to be an honest eart of teacher this is a technique from Lee Cantor’s work in assertive discipline and I’m going to demonstrate this technique I’m going to get involved in an argument again you only please Sheree I’m gonna get involved in an argument with Sheree I’m gonna be up here lecturing and during my lecture she’s gonna push her friend you’re really just a prop here today that’s all you ate today and she’s gonna push her friend and when she pushes her friend I’m going to get involved in an argument what I would like you to do is to act as you think a thirteen-year-old would argue change the subject you know try to you know do the kinds of things that our kids do and you’ll see how ineffective it is to argue okay here we go I’m gonna begin lecturing during my lecture she’s gonna push her friend and I’m gonna deal with her about that today we’re gonna talk class we’re going to talk about the Statue of Liberty the Statue of Liberty was given to the people of the United States hey don’t push her you can’t push if you want this in my classroom she wasn’t looking at you she was looking at me did you get in trouble yesterday she was in trouble yesterday I was standing right here on my back did anybody else see you see I mean is this unproductive or what let’s take a look at the three reasons power and control who has the power and control she does the railing the lesson we’re not getting a whole lot of social studies done our way okay and lastly positive reinforcement yeah you folks a love of that action she’s taking me to the beach you’re loving that now we’re going to try a technique called broken record technique this is the only technique that I’ll give tonight that has a guarantee

with it if you if it doesn’t work for you it means you’re doing it wrong that’s that’s how effective this technique is this technique it will be such an effective part of your repertoire as a parent or a teacher and here’s how it goes now I’m gonna do the same thing I want you to I want you to argue with me but I want you to stop when you think a year old kid would stop okay broken record technique watch how it works okay today we’re going to talk about the Statue of Liberty the Statue of Liberty was given to the people of France hey don’t push her I saw you push it don’t point yeah in my classroom you keep your hands to yourself I did in my classroom you keep your hand in my classroom you keep your hands to yourself stops never had to do it one three times ever ever why take a look at the three reasons take a look at the three reasons one power and control who’s got the power and control here I do I do okay secondly positive reinforcement anybody laughing out there no in fact you were sitting there as here up here it’s thinking sherry what are you arguing for it takes two to tango he’s not dancing stop it he’s not agreeing with you anymore Inder ailing the lesson boom you’re in and out of that in six seconds broken record technique a very effective strategy to use because it takes away all the reasons why kids argue and again a very effective way to use your voice to have a calming effect on kids thank you very much thanks we can’t overestimate the effective use of praise with kids did some research out there now you’ve probably read it that says we praise kids too much I can’t believe that I can’t believe that you can praise a child too much friend of mine is a golfer I was giving his presentation once and he said you know I’ve played golf with the same three guys for the last years and my I’ve had the same partner playing golf two times a week – – hole games every week and for the last years and every time I hit a good shot my partner says hey good shot and it means something every time and if you stop saying it I’d wonder why you can’t reinforce too much but you want to use praise effectively and there are some things you want to learn about the use of praise there are two kinds of praise descriptive and evaluative praise sometimes we use too much of valued of praise if you’ve got a child who’s years old and has just learned the times tables and you say you’re my math wizard you’re the brightest math student I’ve ever had put the math crown on your head the kids looking at it say come on Lady come on my brothers four years younger than I am he could do the times table three years ago my dad was doing trigonometry who is my age I’m too bright don’t try to fool me don’t tell me I’m a math wizard evaluative phrase evaluates the performance try descriptive phrase that just describes a performance I gave you twenty problems to do when you got right that’s it I gave you problems to do when you got right that’s it no evaluation just descriptive if you want to use praise what you want to do is use it in a creative way I did this one time completely by accident I was sitting at home I said to my wife we work together and I said I just read John’s composition it was a terrific composition and I said remind me to see John in school tomorrow and tell him what a great composition this was and she said oh you know what you’re speaking tomorrow you have a speaking engagement you won’t be at school tomorrow said ok I’ll tell him the next day she came in a few minutes later she said I was thinking John’s got a field trip two-day field trip on Thursday so you’re not going to see him for almost a week I said ok I’ll call him at home so I pick up the phone I called him I didn’t have a great relationship with John I really didn’t and I called John I said hello John is mr Lavoie he said what’d I do wrong I said nothing I said just tell me I’m sitting in my kitchen and I just read your composition it was wonderful I just want to tell you how much I enjoyed it you did a real nice job on it my relationship with that kid changed from that day on and I ran into him years later and the first thing he said was remember the night you called me at home mr Lavoie I did a completely by accident but I do it a lot now I do it a lot now because it works because what you’re saying is I’m taking a moment of my time during my evening to call you at home and tell you I’m proud for something you did doesn’t get any better than that those are the techniques you want to use in preventive discipline preventive discipline works corrective discipline is not quite as neat and clean as preventive discipline is it’s a little bit different a little bit a little bit more complicated I guess let’s take a look at what at the basic rules of corrective discipline tenets number one is the teacher is primarily responsible for discipline in the classroom the teacher is primarily responsible for discipline in the classroom and that sounds very simple but it actually it’s that’s fairly profound the other kids are not responsible for disciplining the children and that’s what we do many times as teachers don’t we we have the other children discipline the offending child we get up in front of the class and we say well class we were going to go to the media center today but the last time we went to the media center

Tony knocked over the projector and broke the projector so we’re not going to go to the media center today that’s what I call teacher talk what you’re saying is we’re not going to go to the media center today because Tony knocked over the projector that’s what we’re saying but the message the kids are hearing is this would you kids do me a favor would you take Johnny out at recess and rub his face against the building for a while because I can’t do that so what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna punish the rest of you for something he did wrong with the understanding then that you will take care of him for me that’s basically the deal we’re gonna make here collective punishments no no no no no no I tell you you want to change the dynamics in your classroom try collective rewards try collective rewards instead of punishing the child for what the instead of punishing a group for what the child is done wrong try rewarding the group when the child does something right you see we have to understand his elementary school teachers particularly you’re only visiting with those students you know they’re a family that goes to school together for six or seven years you’re only visiting for a year by the time you get them at fourth grade they’ve been punished for what that child’s done wrong for four or five years don’t be another person that punished the whole group for what that one child does wrong but when the child does something right reward the whole group and in the name of that child and you’ll see the dynamics begin to change many many times when we decide to punish a child a consequence a child the punishment we use has got nothing to do with what the child did wrong a teacher came to my office one one day I was teaching graduate school at the time she was a teacher at the school but she was also a graduates of mine so I knew her and sorta – in two ways and she came to me and she said Oh Rick Bruce can’t go swimming this evening when the dorm students go swimming Bruce can’t go and I said oh really that’s too bad Bruce loves to swim he’s a great swimmer he’s always terrific when we go swimming is he ill does he have a cold and she said no but he was misbehaved in math class today so I told him he can’t go swimming and I said okay you told him you can’t go swimming because he misbehaved in math class what does one have to do with the other and she didn’t understand so I said okay let’s try this on for size suppose I have you for grad you in my graduate school class plus you’re also an employee here at school suppose I were to say to you suppose you passed in a term paper to me that really was not a very high quality term paper and I were to say to you you know I’ve read your term paper here and I’m very displeased with it it’s not a very good job at all so here’s what I’m gonna do you won’t be paid at work for the next two weeks give me the keys to your car can’t drive your car for a week no red meat for a month and no relations with your husband until you hear from me what that teacher would say is wait a second no you can’t do this you don’t have the right to do this I did something wrong in graduate school you’ve got no right to step into other parts of my life to punish me for what I did wrong in graduate school no I don’t but neither did she neither did she she had no right to take swimming away from Bruce for something he did wrong in math class because the two settings are totally unrelated the punishment if you’re gonna punish a child it should have something to do with what the child did wrong and what we do as parents many times is find the one thing the kid likes the best and take that away from them we know that doesn’t work in human relations we know in a marriage that if one of the partners uses money or uses sex or uses something and holds it over the other partner’s head all the time and says you can’t have this unless you do what I want you to do the relationship falls apart yet we do it with kids all the time we do that with kids all the time we say no you can’t I’m gonna take away the thing you want the most unless you do what I want you to do not a good way to deal with kids punishment should fit the crime whenever you punish a child the punishment should be immediate and/or definite both if that’s possible I catch bill writing his name and in magic marker on the on the cafeteria table I say bill I want you to clean every cafeteria table and I want you to do it right now punishment immediate and definite if it can’t be immediate it should at least be definite we haven’t got time right now but I want you to come down at the end of the day and I’m gonna have you wash every one of these tables if it can’t be immediate it should at least be definite one of the things we’ve got to be very very cautious about when we’re dealing with punishment with kids is to not use the punishment that I’m afraid we use more often than we should I feel very strongly that we use a punishment with kids that is so volatile it’s so dangerous and so hurtful to kids but we continue to use it and that is this I think that the most painful emotion that a parent can use toward a child that an adult can use toward another adult than any human being can use toward another the most painful emotion you can use is the emotion of disappointment think about it think about it I’d like everyone to do something right now everyone right now think of someone your life was very important to you who you love who you trust whose opinion means a great deal to you if they say it’s right you know what’s right if they say it’s wrong you know what’s wrong think about a person like that might be your husband wife brother sister everybody thinking of somebody in your life that plays that role and I’ll think of my wife who plays that role in my life would you rather have that person angry

at you or disappointed in you how many say angry oh yeah oh yeah angry we’ve been together years there’s there’s time she’s been angry at me but disappointed I can count on one hand and I can tell you the dates because disappointment hurts disappointment says Rick I expected this and you gave me this you let me down I was counting on you when you let me down disappointment is so hurtful and we use this point with kids all the time I knew you’d act up at Grandma’s again I know you get a I know I know you said you’d improve I knew you wouldn’t one more time you let me down one more time you embarrass me in front of my friends you can’t do that to kids you can’t continue to hit kids with disappointment without expecting to have a long-term impact on kids it hurts it hurts and don’t use it step number five using effective conferencing techniques think about it if bill were a teacher at my school and I wanted to deal with bill about something you doing incorrectly think about how our conversation would go it would go like this I’d say bill you know you’re doing a great job teaching math I was very very impressed and you did a real nice job here in that conference you had with mr. mrs Schieffelin yesterday that was a real nice conference I was very very pleased with that but we got to talk about your recess duty you know you haven’t been showing up for recess duty on time it gets the kids you know the kids are a date and you’re in danger when you’re not there it’s really important you be there on time and I know you’re going to turn this around bill because I’ve seen real good things happen from you in other words we would begin the conversation positively ended positively and got our hands dirty in the middle give that same courtesy to your kids whenever you’re having a conference with a child begin it positively and end it positively when you’re dealing with kids in conferencing with kids you not only want to think about what you want to say you want to think about when you’re going to say it and where you’re gonna say it why do we do this with kids why do we always pick the right time to talk to each other let’s say you’re a wife your husband has been like a little kid he’s been looking forward years and years now to buy a boat and he’s been putting away his nickels and dimes till he finally saved enough money to buy a boat he’s been excited about this going to work every day with the boat catalogs can’t wait to buy the boat and he’s all pumped and excited about this and the boat show is Saturday and on Thursday he goes to work with this catalog to show all his friends about the boat he’s going to get and you take your child of the orthodontist on Thursday morning and the orthodontist said your child needs $ worth of auradon tree and it’s not covered by insurance the only $ your family has is in the boat fund and you’ve got to tell him that night that he can’t get the boat assuming you’ve got to tell them in person and you can’t do it can’t do it via email or something I mean how would you tell him what do you come in the house and you’d say hi honey guess what no boat no no you’d wait put the kids to bed little music on a stereo little thing and well it’s an accuracy D in a thing a little bottle of wine and say honey we got to talk we got to talk in other words you would pick the right time to talk to him about it we never do that with kids do we if your year old is using the phone too much when do we talk to her about it when she’s on the phone we gonna grab the phone hang up the phone no I guarantee you’ll have a better exchange with your child if you wait until the moments right wait till you’re enjoying the child’s company you’re taking a walk in the beach and say honey I got to talk to you about the phone oh I’m mom come on no really you’re using the phone too much and on and on and on you’re gonna get a better response you got to pick when you’re gonna talk to the child you even need to pick where I run a residential school for learning disabled adolescents I communicate with kids all the time if I want to make a very strong stand with the child and let him know I’m in charge where do I hold that meeting where in my office with my stuff with the pictures of my kids and my posters on the wall in my office because what I’m trying to say there is I’m in charge and you’ve got to know that if I’m trying to have if I’m gonna have a conversation with a child and I want a real free-flowing of ideas I want to be able to discuss things with them where am I gonna have that meeting in my office no go to neutral turf go to the gym let’s take a walk around campus let’s go to the dining hall that’s not mine that’s not his that’s neutral turf and when you do what I do for a living you have this unfortunate duty I got a phone call not too long ago Rick Lindsey’s grandfather died would you please tell her that her grandfather died so I’ve got to tell the year old daughter a year old girl that her beloved grandfather has died where does that conversation take place in Lindsay’s room because she needs to be with her stuff she needs to be around her stuff she needs to be in her room to get that news when you talk to a kid you’re conference with a kid you don’t only have to think about about when you’re doing it how you’re doing it even we are you doing it the bottom line is that preventive discipline works we know that these children respond to the environment in which they find themselves so the key to dealing with their behavior the key to effectively dealing with the behavior is to put them in an environment that is responsive to them

and that allows them to behave what it all comes down to what the entire purpose of this series is is basically our ability to work better and work more effectively with kids and whenever anybody comes to a workshop like this it’s somewhere in the beginning middle or end of the workshop this speaker says you’ve got to work on the child’s self-esteem how do you do that how do you build the child’s self-esteem well I’ve come up with an analogy that I think works in order to build a child’s self-esteem and work in a child’s self-esteem I would ask you to think of self-esteem as being poker chips self-esteem is basically poker chips if you’ve got a good self-esteem a strong self-esteem you’ve got a lot of poker chips and if you’ve got a poor self-esteem a low self-esteem you don’t have many poker chips simple as that let’s talk about two children who go to the school that your child goes to goes to these two children go to every school in the country one child is named Joe Cool Joe Cool has tons and tons and tons of poker chips how did he get all those poker chips by good things happening to him when good things happen to you you get poker chips captain of the football team he has poker chips voted king of the homecoming dance he has poker chips get your picture in the paper for for scoring the winning touchdown he has poker chips this kid’s got millions and millions of poker chips he’s had a he’s out of charmed life god bless him he feels great about himself he should now you also lose poker chips when bad things happen to you you go to the prom with Joe Cool goes to the prom with the best-looking girl on campus poker chips prom night comes he’s got a pimple on the end of his nose he loses poker chips but he still has in that game it’s the gain of poker chips he’s still poker chips ahead and this kid goes to school every day with his baskets and bags full of poker chips and sitting next to him is Larry the learning-disabled kid Larry the learning-disabled kid has poker chips like this this is it this is all he’s ever gotten never been voted captain of anything didn’t go to the prom never been on a team never got on tests didn’t blow the top off his SATs didn’t even take his SATs he’s got a stack of poker chips like this and now with the inclusion movement we make those two kids go to school together and compete against each other in the game to school I would submit to you that that’s not fair I would submit that that’s not fair anybody play poker here to whammy poker players here sir would you Chris would you could you join me up here with mine suppose Chris I would have say ask you if you wanted to play poker and I said Chris he is basically the deal you’re gonna have this many poker chips okay I’m gonna have there you go I’m gonna have all the poker chips in the Western world I have you have basically million poker chips back here I’m gonna play poker against you what would be your first response would you want to play okay his first response would be I don’t want to play what do we think the learning disabled kid is saying to us when he says I don’t want to go to school today my don’t make me go I got one of those stomachaches again Maya don’t make me go please don’t make me go to school today what’s he saying Thea he’s saying I don’t have enough chips to get in the game I don’t have enough chips don’t make me play this game but we say to him you got to play laws the law says you’ve got to play you’ve got to go to school so I say to you Chris you’ve got to play poker with me you’re gonna have that many chips and I have bundles and bundles of chips back there how would you play Chris would you play conservatively or would you play recklessly probably recklessly he would be the one he would be one of those who would say I’ll bet the whole thing I don’t care that’s what the learning-disabled kid when he says that’s what the learning-disabled kid says when he says sure I can walk along the edge of that building sure I can’t ride don’t sure I can join it I can join a group a gang sure I can do that in other words I’m just gonna beat I’m just gonna be spontaneous and do anything I’m just gonna bet the whole thing I don’t care I don’t care I’ll just bet the whole thing any of you would any of you play um conservatively yeah some people are saying I play conservatively I just bet one chip at a time that’s what the kid with a learning disability is saying to you when he says no I don’t want to ask anybody to the dance don’t ask me to a man I don’t want to put anything in the science fair I don’t want to go to summer school I’m only good I’m doing it I’m gonna take the chips that I’ve got and I’m gonna hold on tight to those and I’m not going to let these go and in school we make these two kids play the game of school against each other and I would submit to you that that’s not fair so in class the first day is we’re in class one day and the teacher says who was the President of the United States during the Civil War and Joe cool sitting there and he’s saying I think it was Calvin Coolidge but I’m not sure well what the heck I’ve got million poker chips if I got this answer wrong it’s only gonna cost me five I was at Calvin Coolidge teacher says no Larry the learning disabled kid is sitting there and he’s looking at this little stack of poker chips he’s got poker chips to his name and he’s thinking I think the answer is Abraham Lincoln I think the answer is Abraham Lincoln

but I just don’t dare answer I don’t dare respond because I have another game I’ve got to play at lunch you see yesterday when I went to lunch I gave the lunch lady the one with the hairnet in the tattoo I gave the lunch lady I gave the lunch lady a $ bill and she only gave me change for a ten and my father said don’t you come back without that extra $ you go to that lady you tell her she gave you the wrong change and he’s thinking that’s gonna take me chips it’s gonna take chips for me to go and ask that lady for my money back so I don’t dare play in this game because if I lose the chips I won’t to have enough to play in the game I’ve got to play at lunch and the teacher says the right answer is Abraham Lincoln Larry goes oh I should have done it I should have done it the reality is that the self-esteem of our kids the problem with the self-esteem of our kids is they just don’t have enough poker chips the solution is to give them poker chips how do you give kids poker chips how do you build their self-esteem one is you find if you’re a parent or you’re a teacher you find the island what what Bob Brooks calls the island of competence you find the one thing that that child can do well and you make a big deal out of that you celebrate that you make that very important if you’re a mom and the only thing your child knows how to do was use a Phillips head screwdriver every Thursday before he gets off the bus you loosen every bloody screw in the house and when he gets off the bus you give him the screwdriver you say go to a pal cos nobody doesn’t like you you’ve got to be a talent scout you got to find things he does well you got to find because every time you praise a child every time you say that was a good job you’re giving him poker chips parenting is pretty simple being a teacher is pretty simple it all comes down to this your job is to make sure that every child you deal with has more poker chips when he goes to bed that night then he or she had when they got up in the morning that’s it it’s that simple and how do you make sure they have poker chips you give as many poker chips as possible secondly you take away only as many poker chips as necessary please listen to me dad’s because we dads are real good at this let’s say that Chris is my son and Chris is sitting in class sitting at the dinner table want to cup your hands like that for me Chris twitch is sitting at the dinner table and he’s got that many poker chips he’s got that many chips and was sitting at the dinner table and and Chris spills his milk and I say you know Chris sometimes you make me sick you know you get up at o’clock in the morning and say how can I spoil dad’s day is that what your problem is you’re the only one in the family who does this sometimes they even wonder why we have you in this family go to your room and he goes up to his room and the rest of the family sitting there oh boy oh boy can I sit there and they think oh boy that was pretty rough I was pretty rough on old Chris that’s pretty tough on Chris I wasn’t really mad at Chris I was mad at my secretary so I should go apologize to him so I go up and they sit in the edge of Chris’s bed and I stroke his hair and I say gee Chris I’m sorry pal I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way that was wrong that won’t happen again sorry dad sorry dad yelling happen in front of the family telling me you wish he wasn’t in the family Kelly ask him if he plans how to spoil your day telling him you basically sick of seeing and when you come home from work you took away fifty sixty thousand poker chips from him sit in the edge of his bed strokers here tell him you love him five thousand poker chips at the most you’re still to fifty five thousand poker chips behind the eight-ball you can’t do that with our kids you can’t take away those massive number of poker chips without realizing that you’re making your job as a parent much tougher and lastly you’ve got to give as many as you can take away only what’s necessary and lastly you’ve got to be willing to go to the mat with people who take poker chips away from your child and not give any back teachers take away chips bus drivers take away chips principals take away chips but most of us also give chips back and if you take Punk chips away from a kid but then give some back that’s okay there’s a lot of people in your child’s life who play that role but the bottom line is if there’s someone in your child’s life who is taking poker chips away and not giving any back they’re making your life much tougher when are we gonna deal with this that’s what advocacy means standing up for someone who can’t stand up for themselves if you’re a teacher or a parent you’ve got to be willing to go to the mat with people who take chips away from your kid and not give any back you’re a mom you get up in the morning you make him french toast oh man chips you lay out his favorite clothes a beavis and butthead t-shirt that he loves and you hate chips you put his books at the door ready for him to go out the door ten thousand chips you warm up the maple syrup oh my god you warm up the maple syrup another five thousand chips you have a nice breakfast with me a big give him a big kiss and you send him out the door with a great big hug and kiss and brand-new poker chips and he steps on the school bus and the school bus driver says well here’s the retard you might as well stay at home you might as well stayed in bed man you might as well as stayed in bed because that one comment took chips away from your son chips away like this

you might as well have stayed in bed because all the chips that you gave to your child were just taken away being a parent being a teacher is not all that complicated it’s all a matter of poker chips none of us want to think about what happens to a child at and years old that doesn’t have enough poker chips to play the games of life you know how many poker chips it takes to ask for your first job and honor your poker chips it takes to ask someone to marry you thousands and thousands of poker chips one of the problems that one of the reasons that many adults with learning disabilities have problems they just don’t have enough poker chips to get into the games of adult life and when you don’t have enough poker chips suddenly suicide begins to make sense drug abuse begins to make sense gangs begin to make sense our job is as simple as this to make sure that every child who crosses our paths as a parent or a teacher as a parent or a teacher every child across as our paths has more poker chips when it goes to bed that night then when he gets up in the morning it’s that simple and hopefully this has helped thank you very much [Applause] [Applause]