Friday, July 31, 2015

Don’t fight lost battles

It’s very inspiring when I see a good teacher focusing on his/her skills rather on students’ deficits. It makes a world of difference when we pay attention on what can we do, instead of what the kids do or don’t do.

Ok, let me give you a real life example.

I was supervising a school case when the class was at PE (Physical Education). An excellent and experienced teacher was conducting the class. The activity was manipulating one of those big parachutes that everybody holds by the edges and lift up. Every time the parachute was lifted the teachers named two kids to go inside. As you can imagine, seven or eight kids went inside ignoring the teacher and aides’ directions. After a couple of times, the PE teachers whispers to herself “this is a lost battle” and instructs everybody to go inside. The kids get very excited and start running in and out, or staying inside when they were supposed to go out. 

At that point the PE teacher says to herself “I lost control” and ends the activity instructing all the kids to sit down. Once everybody was calm. She moved to another activity soon regaining control.
What a great and clever teacher! She didn’t have to yell or get upset.

How many times we as parents or teachers lose control and keep fighting lost battles insisting in forcing our kids to comply instead of rethinking our strategies and switching to an effective plan?
So the advice is simple:

“Don’t fight a lost battle,” be aware when you lost control and have to change gears because what you’re doing is not working. This could mean leaving the cart full of groceries and walking out the store, or leaving a social gathering and going home. It could be that homework is not done that day, or is broken down into short segments, allowing your child for breaks instead of demanding him to work for two hours in arrow.
Another example could be letting your child eat in front of the TV instead of sitting at the dinner table.

As I always say in my blogs, you change kids’ behaviors by changing the behaviors of the adults who deal with those kids. Pure and simple.

Keep this in mind, and have a great summer.

Daniel Adatto, BCBA


No comments:

Post a Comment