When I read this paragraph (page 15) it sounded all too true. I have often got caught up in the quest for the right diagnosis assuming that the diagnosis will help me to know what to do next. When in truth in learning that the child has been diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, FAS does nothing but confirm there is a problem. Now the question is what to do next.
"Behind every challenging behaviour is an unsolved problem and a lagging skill."
At the website lostatschool.org is a copy of the ALSUP (Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems)
Summary of three ways to solve a problem
Plan A - Adults impose their will in response to an unmet expectation. This is by far used the most by teachers, supervisors parents administration etc. I know I have used this plan and when I think about when I use this plan it is often when I am in a hurry!
"Billy go stand in the hallway"
"Stop throwing snowballs or you will get a detention"
"Do you need to go to the office?"
"If you don't get your homework done tonight I will be calling your parents"
"If you continue to be disrespectful to teachers in the school you will be suspended"
The Problem with Plan A:
-You are asking for the behaviour child to heighten his behaviour
-This does not teach the child the lagging skills they are missing
-Does not help us to understand why the behaviour is occurring
Plan C - drop the given expectation completely at least temporarily
-removing low priority expectations ie. homework completion, getting out of their seat, talking to a peer, lack of participation, limited schoolwork, accommodations and modifications due to behaviour etc.
Sometimes plan C is necessary so that the big fish can be resolved. For example if a student has difficulty completing school work in class that might be the area of focus and homework can be on the back burner until one problem is solved. I think of Plan C as putting the expectation on hold.
Plan B - Collaborative Problem Solving
Five Goals for using this Plan:
1. Look at unmet expectations
2. Solve the problem together
3. Teach lacking skills
4. Reduce the behaviour
5. Develop a relationship
Here is what Plan B is not:
-Reminder of more desirable behaviour
-Telling of the bad choice
-Imposing a solution
Plan B involves three steps:
2. Defining the Problem
3. Invitation to solve the problem
"I've noticed that ... What's up?
"Help me understand"
"I don't quite understand"
"Can you tell me more"
So in my PLT we are working on digital archive of video clips to help students with their behaviour. While I was reading "Lost at School" I was making a connection between the work in my PLT and the work collaborative problem solving method. Here is what I came up with. The movie clip can act as a starting point for conversation. The student can watch the video clip and reflect independently on the behaviour displayed. Following the independent work can be a conversation that follows Greene's three steps. For example:
Admin: I notice that the Grinch yells and is mean to Cindy Lou. What do you think is up?
Kid (My 7 year old daughter) He is grumpy
Admin (clarify) - Can you tell me more?
Kid - He doesn't like Christmas and Christmas is coming so he is grumpy
Admin (Define the problem) - So the Grinch is being mean because he is grumpy because Christmas is coming. The thing is he is being mean to Cindy Lou and that would hurt her feelings. I wonder if there is a way that the Grinch can tell Cindy Lou he is grumpy without yelling at her. Do you have any ideas?
Kid - He can tell her he doesn't like Christmas
Admin - Can you think of a time when you were yelling at your classmates?
Kid - At recess
Admin - I noticed that you get mad at the other kids on the playground?
Reflection Sheet (Independent Work)
What negative or challenging behaviour do you notice in the clip?
Why do you think the behaviour is happening?
Brainstorm 3 solutions to solve the problem
This is a work in progress ... more to come! Please let me know what you think.