How can Ms. Rollison determine what behaviors she should address and when she should address them?
Page 7: Phase 5–Peak
During the Peak Phase, behavior is clearly out of control. At this point, prevention of the problem behavior is not possible, and the teacher is forced to deal with it. Students may physically assault others, hurt themselves, cry hysterically, or destroy property–any of which might lead to devastating outcomes. Because the behavior at this point is often loud and explosive and then abruptly ends, the Peak Phase tends to be a short one. However, the aftermath of this critical event, or “behavioral earthquake,” is often quite serious. For obvious reasons, it is best to prevent behaviors from escalating to this point.
Click here to see a short movie that portrays Mark in the Peak Phase (time: 0:11).
The overriding consideration during this Peak Phase of the acting-out cycle is to maintain safety of both the child who is acting out and the other children in the classroom, to ensure that people are not getting hurt. And in order to do that, you need to find out at the onset what is your school’s plan for responding to this type of behavior. And this is specific to every school, as to what you’re supposed to do if a student is completely out-of-control. In some schools, what they’ll do is they will have the students who are in control line up and wait outside the door. Often times they’ll call a vice-principal or some other disciplinary figure to come remove the child who is acting out. So there’s a variety of different methods that respond. And what’s important for the teacher to know ahead of time, before the very first day of school, is find out how does your school want you to respond to those types of problems. Is the goal to keep all the kids in the classroom? Is the goal to remove the child who’s acting out? A lot of schools have a removal policy at that point, where they will send the child to on-campus suspension or phone a parent. The downside of that though, I have to say, is that you are teaching that child that if you act like this, you can escape my classroom. So if the child’s whole goal is to get out of a situation where they are not comfortable—either because they can’t do or don’t want to do what’s taking place in that classroom you’re in danger of reinforcing some very inappropriate behavior. So you have to be careful. Get it over with as quickly as possible, and get out of this phase so that you can restore the environment, debrief the child, and get back on track instructionally. But you have to keep everybody safe.
When out-of-control behavior occurs:
Have a plan and know how to implement it
Keep everyone safe
After the peak incident has passed, prepare to reintegrate the student into the classroom community by taking control of the next phase—De-Escalation.