Teacher: Okay, today in class we are going to do three things. The first thing I want you to do, on the yellow sheet of paper, is to write a journal entry. And as we studied about the Aztec culture, I want you to think about what was of interest to you personally. And write for a few minutes on what you recall that was really interesting to you about the Aztec culture. And just as soon as you’re finished with that, move on to the worksheet about the Mayan culture, and then we’ll have a closing activity where we share some of this information at the end of the class. So go ahead and get started.
Description: As the teacher explains the assignment, Mark begins to shift in his chair. As the teacher mentions the yellow paper that the students will be writing their assignments on, Mark picks it up, looks briefly at it, then puts it down with a look of disgust. He smirks and shakes his head as she continues to explain the assignment. Throughout the teacher’s instructions, Mark seems either bored or frustrated.
Possible triggers for Mark’s behavior include boredom with the lesson or frustration with the assignment.
Fortunately, teachers can use formal problem-solving strategies and precorrection plans to help students anticipate and prevent, or effectively respond to, these triggers to prevent behavior from escalating into more serious phases of the acting-out cycle.
Listen now as Kathleen Lane explains more about how a teacher should use precorrection plans to help students manage their triggers (time: 1:27).
Kathleen Lane, PhD Professor of Special Education University of Kansas
What you develop is precorrection plans, and sometimes you work with the student to do those, and sometimes it’s just something you do as a teacher. There’s many nonschool-based things you can’t manage. I can’t fix kids that are growing up in high poverty and then don’t eat. But if I know that that child hasn’t had breakfast, I can make arrangements for the school cafeteria to have an extra breakfast available for them. So they can come in and eat first thing. Similarly, if you have a child that’s constantly truant or tardy then you can meet with that child and say, “The last three days, you’ve been late every day. What’s going on? What’s the problem?” and it can be that, “Well, I don’t have an alarm clock at my house, and nobody will wake me up, and so I get up and I still have to make my lunch and find my clothes,” that kind of thing. And so you can help them by saying, “Well, what can we handle the night before? Could you pack your lunch the night before so that’s ready to go? How would you feel about identifying your outfit the night before and laying it out everything you need, your shoes, socks, all that kind of stuff?” You can help them on the front side so they don’t have those problems. And then for kids that don’t respond well to schedule changes, there needs to be a lot of alerting before that happens. “Now remember this week we are having an assembly. That doesn’t excuse inappropriate behavior. We still have to remember to use our inside voices.” Clarify the parameters of what you expect long before that day gets there so that if you have a fieldtrip, they’re not running out of control in some apple orchard because you haven’t thought to inform them of what their behavior needs to be like on that day. So a lot of it is clarifying expectations and then helping kids meet your expectations.
If triggers are not successfully managed, it is likely that student conduct will continue to deteriorate, moving into the next phase—Agitation.