How can Ms. Rollison determine what behaviors she should address and when she should address them?
Page 9: Phase 7–Recovery
In this final phase, Recovery, students are generally subdued and may still prefer to avoid talking about the incident. Teachers often incorrectly think that they will re-trigger the misbehavior if they try to debrief the student. Not only is this erroneous but also not talking about the situation with the student can unintentionally reinforce the behavior. To a student, the absence of a debriefing may signify that he or she got away with the misbehavior. Because of this, Debriefing is a necessary part of Recovery.
Listen now as Kathleen Lane explains more about how a teacher might debrief the student and the class during the Recovery Phase.
Kathleen Lane, PhD Professor of Special Education University of Kansas
Well, hopefully, during this time they—in the previous stage as a child is de-escalating, they have given the child an independent activity to go do—they get the class back on task, get them focused, and then the teacher needs to go back to this child and say, “I know this is really uncomfortable, and I’m feeling uncomfortable with everything that just happened, too. But we need to talk through it.” If you don’t know what the trigger was, say, “It seemed to me I didn’t even see this coming. I just looked over and I saw you doing this. What happened before that?” And basically what you’re doing is a brief functional assessment interview to figure out: Why did this happen? What set the stage for this? And then you come up with a plan of action so that, like, if it was something as simple as, “When I gave you that answer and you said I was wrong, it totally embarrassed me in front of all my friends. And then I just didn’t feel like doing anything. And then, you know, the more I thought about it, the more mad I got at you because I felt like you embarrassed me.” And it may be that the teacher totally missed that, didn’t even realize that her saying, “No, that’s not quite right,” was offensive to the child or was humiliating in some way. So they come up with a plan, and it can be as simple as: Maybe the child needs a little more time to think about questions, so that they can come up with the right answer. So you come up with something like, “This afternoon, I’m going to ask you this question in our discussion section. I want you to think about this. And if you want to bounce your ideas off me before then, that’s fine.” Or you can even say, if you’re in the course of a normal conversation say, “Jessie, I’m going to want your opinion on this in just a second. But I’m going to go ahead over here and ask Alexis her thoughts on this.” That gives that child a couple of seconds to [prepare], Okay, she is going to ask me a question. It’s going to be okay. For some kids, it’s really, really hard for them to get any kind of negative feedback or be told that something’s wrong. It’s very personal to them, and it feels attacking rather than supportive. So for those kinds of kids, you can come over and say, “I know you’re finishing up your writing activity right now. I’m going to come back in just a couple minutes, and we’re going to edit your paper just for capitals and periods. That’s all we are going to look at, but I want you to double-check your work before I come back.” So that lets them know, I’m about to get some feedback, I’ve got a chance to double-check it myself, and I need to be ready to hear what she has to say. So it’s a way to come up with a plan during that phase to prevent going through that whole cycle again.
Transcript: Kathleen Lane, PhD
Debriefing the class
If there’s an incident where a child is removed or sent to on-campus suspension, that’s a teachable moment that shouldn’t be missed. And so we can talk about as a class, you know, what went wrong, and as a teacher you should own your part in this. “I really wish I would’ve recognized earlier that, you know, A B C or D was happening. And now when he comes back in the classroom in about hour, we’re going to need to be supportive of him because I’m sure he’s going to feel embarrassed. And, you know, remember we’ve all had moments like that where we’ve said or done things that we’re not proud of.” At some point in your K–12 experience, you are going to have a moment where you’ll lose it in class. And if that is happening repeatedly, that’s not a child problem. That’s an instructional issue, and then we need to look at the instructional environment and the classroom management plan that that teacher’s put in place, because there’s a breakdown somewhere. Maybe the teacher wasn’t well-prepped for the day. And that’s not to say the teacher’s always at fault for problems that occur, but as the instructional leader, we need to figure out ways to prevent those problems from occurring.
Completing the Recovery Phase can be difficult. The teacher must deal not only with the misbehaving student but also with the emotions and expectations of the class. In addition, the teacher must deal honestly with his or her own mistakes and feelings surrounding the incident. The goal must always be to create a healthier learning environment.