California Educator

October/November 2019

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Reframe problem behavior Decode the function of a seemingly negative behavior and offer praise. For example: • Behavior: Looking for attention. • Reframe: "I'm glad that you act out for atten- tion. I'm not sure you always got enough. You're good at looking out for yourself. I apologize for anyone who has ever put you down for look- ing for attention." Use rhythmic self-talk • Let it go, Joe. • Just stay cool, no need to blow. • Don't call out, share the air. • Make a list, it will assist. • Here's some advice, talk real nice. • If you got to do it, just hop to it! Manage your behavior first! When students act out and you suffer a self-esteem injury, say to yourself: "It's an injury and it will heal. Respond instead of react." Respond means use the Golden Rule. (See sidebar below.) And... Avoid yelling, say please and thank you when making requests, and be cognizant of your body language. Author of No Such Thing as a Bad Kid, Charles D. Appelstein, MSW, focuses primarily on teaching positive, trauma- informed, strength-based theories and techniques to professionals who guide at-risk children, youth and families. He trains educators and other child welfare professionals throughout North America. For more, go to This article is part of our series "Teach- ing Through Trauma." See related stories on pages 18 and 20, and read more at teaching-through-trauma. Before You Talk B E F O R E Y O U S P E A K to an agitated student or group, consider the desired outcome and how to achieve it. No. 1 goal: Engage! • Listen, empathize, paraphrase, offer help, apologize, repeat, offer hope… hook 'em in! • Don't be defensive. Anticipate negative comments — don't take them personally. • Expect displacement (that is, anger directed at you that is meant for someone else). • Assess your relationship and feelings toward the youth. Think pie (as in, everyone deserves an equal slice). The kid who is pushing you away the most is probably the one who needs you the most. • Practice the talk in your head. Longer discussions generally have a beginning, middle and end phase. • Other considerations: Fill in the blank . "Educators can use an array of tools and strategies to confront hopelessness and, most importantly, change the self-defeating, negative mindsets many at-risk kids harbor." 41 O C T O B E R / N O V E M B E R 2 019 T

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