In the New York Times article, ”The Problem Child Is a Child, Not a ‘Problem’” Link to Article , Souzanne Bouffard reports nearly one in ten Preschool students is removed from school for behavior problems. I find this statistic shocking. In my 15 years of teaching, I’ve had never removed a student from school. In fact, I don’t even use time-outs in my disciple repertoire. If our aim is to teach children how to be appropriately social, how is removing them from social interaction going to teach them what they need to learn?
To begin with, teachers need to develop good relationships with their students. Young children obey their teacher because they love us. We need to see the child as competent. Is the child given enough autonomy to take responsibility for their own care, their actions, and their own education?
Of course, young children often do need guidance for their behavior. Whenever possible, I give positive redirection. Rather than telling young children what not to do, I tell them what they may do. For example if a child is running in the classroom, I might say, “ We walk in the classroom”.
All children want to be good. When educators make personal connections with each child, hold them to high and individualized expectations, and guide them with love, all children can succeed.
In the event a behavior does become an issue, consequences should be as natural and logical as possible. In the coming articles I’ll discuss some strategies for fostering student responsibility for their own behavior utilizing natural and logical consequences.
What are some behavior challenges you’ve faced or are currently facing. What strategies have you tried? What did or didn’t work?