What if everything you knew about disciplining children - a lie?

Negative effects, temporary suspension from studies and punishment only aggravate the bad behavior. But there is a new approach that actually works.

In the spring of 2013 at one of the busiest days of Lee Robinson (Leigh Robinson) I went to dinner, when it caused the school administration. Will third-grader, who was known for bad behavior, made a stir in the playground. He took off his belt, swinging it around and shouted. School staff worried that the boy could hurt someone. Robinson, Will helped in training and education, rushed to the school yard.

Will was "thus the child." In each school of a few. They always get in trouble if they do not create. These are children who can not sit still in place, subject to outbursts of anger, and teachers can turn life into hell. Other children accuse them of fights that happen at recess. I will knew that he was of those guys. Since the first class, he came to school a wake, took a defensive position and preparing for another confrontation with a classmate or teacher.

The term "conveyor-school prison» (school-to-prison pipeline) have come up with to describe the fact that US public schools are failing with such children, as Will. First-grader whose misconduct is not corrected, could become a fifth-grader with a plurality of removals from the study, eighth graders who will begin to take damaging drugs, throw the high school and will be a 17-year-old convicted. Despite the fact that today's teachers are trained to be sensitive to the "social and emotional development" and schools seek to include children with cognitive problems and developmental delay in regular classes, achievement in psychology often fly into the pipe, but one problem child begins to speak. Teachers and administrators still rely on an outdated system of carrots and sticks, using everything from red-yellow-green cards, charts, behavior and prizes to the deferrals and deductions
Our way of dealing with the most difficult children are still rooted in the philosophy of BF Skinner, who in the mid-20th century, insisted that human behavior is determined by the consequences, and bad behavior must be punished. (Pavlov found it to dogs.) For the 2011-12 school year, the US Department of Education has counted 130 000 charges and approximately 7 million removals among the 49 million students in K12 program. Recent estimates suggest that in American schools every year takes place a quarter of a million cases of corporal punishment.

But modern psychological research shows that the standard disciplinary methods are far from solving the problems with the children's behavior and more often only exacerbate them. They sacrifice long-term goals (improving student behavior for the benefit) for short-term benefits - instant peace in the classroom
Teachers who seek to control the behavior of the students - rather than help them self-control - are undermining the very elements that are essential for motivation: autonomy, a sense of competence and ability to get along with other people
For example, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, Edward Deci (Edward Deci) found that teachers who are trying to control the behavior of students, rather than to help them develop self-control, destroying the elements necessary for motivation: independence, consciousness competence and the ability to get along with other people . This means that it is more difficult to learn self-control, an essential skill for success in the long term. Social psychologist Carol Dweck, Stanford University has shown that even rewards - gold stars, and the like - can reduce motivation and productivity, as attention shifted to the opinion of the teacher, not the internal promotion of learning
In 2011 we released a study in which for over six years was observed in approximately 1 million. Students. Scientists from the University of Texas found that children who are suspended from studies or deducted for minor offenses - minor fights, telephone, exterior - three times more often than their peers came under control of the justice system for Minors in the year after the sentence. (Black children were punished for similar offenses by 31% more likely than white or Hispanic children.) Children who have been diagnosed with behavioral problems such as oppositional defiant disorder (IAD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), reactive attachment disorder , occurs frequently as a result of injury at an early age, and prevented properly communicate with others, disciplined more likely.

This begs the question: is there a sense of the introduction of the most severe measures against the most difficult children? We think that chronically naughty children do not want to behave normally, but if in many cases they simply can not?

Several remarkable studies begin a radical change in the view of the discipline from prisons for minors to primary school. Psychologist Ross Greene, who has taught at Harvard and the University of Virginia, found devoted followers among parents and teachers, dealing with difficult children. As Richard Ferber sleep method designed for parents, desperate to teach your baby to fall asleep independent, so Green's disciplinary method is addressed to parents whose children exhibit behavioral abnormalities. His book "The Explosive Child. A new approach to education and understanding easy irritability, chronic intractable children "and" Lost in School "to be given away as scripture.

His model, he honed in the children's psychiatric hospitals and correctional facilities for juveniles. And in 2006, officially made it into public and private schools. "We know that if we continue to do something that does not work with these children, we lose them. Who works with children who have complex behavior, he knows, which is typical for these guys: they are accustomed to punishment ", - said Green
According to Green's philosophy, you will no longer need to punish the child for what he calls the class or repeatedly leaving his place than tears spelling test. You should talk to him to find out the cause of the outbreak, then discuss alternative strategies for the next time he feels the same. The goal is to get to the root of the problem, not to discipline the child for what gives his brain.

"This approach covers several key topics that appear in the literature are increasingly" - said Russell Skiba, a professor of psychology and director of the Equity Project at Indiana University. He explains that the focus on solving the problem rather than on punishment is now seen as the key to successful disciplining.

If Green's approach is correct, the teachers, who continue to argue about the proper balance of rewards and punishments, may be discussed not at all. After all, what's the point to punish the child who has not yet developed the brain functions necessary to control their behavior?
Will, still held in his hands the belt when Lee Robinson arrived, waving them on the playground Central School. High thin woman with warped into a ponytail long brown hair seemed unhurried and calm. This educational institution that accepts children up to third grade, one of hundreds of schools across the country, which began testing methodology Green. In this case, with 10 000 dollars of the state grant to combat crime.

Will come to the first class in the year that launched the Green program "Joint and proactive solutions» (Collaborative and Proactive Solutions / CPS). He was active and bright child, he loved to play outside. But he was also much more complex than the typical first grader to stay in place, or in the classroom. When he could not find words for what was bothering him, he could wipe the classmates and started grumbling and whining, rolling on the floor. The psychologist diagnosed him with nonverbal learning disorder. It is difficult to adapt to new situations, the transition to the new environment, interpreting social cues and the ability to navigate in space and time. At the beginning of the second class Robinson was appointed his assistant.

On the playground she approached the boy and comforting, as an expert to negotiate with hostage takers, he said softly: "Do with a belt that you need. Just keep him away from people. " Slowly, the child began to calm down. They came to a grove near the school, and she allowed him to throw stones into the stream and scream, shout, until, finally, he did not burst into tears in her hands. Then they talked and came up with a plan. The next time he feels upset or depressed, tell someone from the staff that he needed his assistant. If Robinson would be outside the academic building, it will be contacted by phone and summoned him.

Several years ago, the school staff would answer differently. In a typical child's school, which seems a threat to others, can stop by applying physical force, isolated in a special room or send home. Children with learning difficulties and behavioral disorders excluded from study about two times more likely than their peers and they are nearly three times more likely to fall into the prison of the total number of young people, according to government figures. Will White, as well as most of the local students. For black people children with difficulties in behavior figure is 25 percent. That is 1 of 4 African American boys and 1 in 5 African American girls with behavioral problems will be suspended in the current school year.

Prior to the introduction of the Green program, "Joint and proactive solutions» (CPS) in the school were the norm usual disciplinary action. During the 2009-10 school year, 146 children once sent to the principal's office for misconduct and two were excluded from study. Two years later, the number of destinations has dropped to 45, a single suspension. Nina Aran told that all this is due to the greater focus on the "satisfaction of the child's needs and solving problems rather than to control behavior." "This is a big shift».

CPS method depends on the training of school personnel (or prison or psychiatric hospital) for the development of strong relationships - especially with the "explosive" children - and a willingness to give children a central role in solving their own problems. For example, the teacher can see what a difficult child is idling in front of the working page and suggest that this insolence, when in fact the student just hungry. It solves the problem undershot. Aran says: "Before the CPS, we spent a lot of time trying to understand children, we communicated with each other. Now we're talking with children and believe when they say that there is a problem. »

The next step - determining each student's problems. At half-time to talk with each child individually, holding hands. For example, he may behave impulsively, because he feels that too many people "look at it from all sides." Decision? "It can be transplanted into the depth of the class" - says Aran. Teachers and students to come up with a plan to gradually involve him.

All of this requires fundamental changes in thinking and in the working process. The Central School of allocated funds for the improvement of the building, the class was divided into two spaces. One side called "training center." It is a quiet place for children, where you can take a break, have a snack, and solve problems before returning to their studies. On the other side - the resource room. The school tries to provide a 20-week training for teachers and weekly hour coaching over Skype with the Green coach.

Breakthrough Will have occurred in the first class, after several unsuccessful attempts, when it sat down to talk with Aran, then a Methodist and his teacher. He refused to take part in the writing lessons with classmates. They tried to persuade Will more than 45 minutes. After initial groans and "I do not know," Finally, it's a solution: he asked if he could use lined paper, which would be the place to draw a picture, it's easier to start writing. Soon he decided to no problems writing assignments.

At 57-year-old Green curly brown hair, glasses and a habit of speaking as if he were giving a lecture on psychology. At the annual conference of the non-profit organization Lives in the Balance, which he founded to promote his method, and for the protection of children with difficulties in behavior, Green addressed the crowd of about 500 teachers, psychologists and other specialists. All kind and tweed blazer he looked like a high school teacher, but with great vehemence Green spoke of the millions of children who are prescribed medication and punished for bad behavior.

Greene said that to be in the "conveyor-school prison" run the risk of not only the children who are 5, 2 million with ADHD, to 5 million with impaired ability to learn and to 2, 2 million with an anxiety disorder. But it is also 16 million who have experienced repeated trauma or violence, 1, 4 million with depression, 1, 2 million with ASD, and 1, 2 million that were left homeless. "Children with challenging behavior is still poorly understood and still treat them in ways that are hostile, return, punitive, unilateral, ineffective in nature and are counterproductive," - he told the audience. "We not only do not help, we will do what worsens the situation. And then we get much more alienated, hopeless, sometimes aggressive, sometimes violent children. »

Greene studied the behavior modification method - the method B.Skinnera. But early in the clinical practice as a graduate student at the University of Virginia, he began appearing questions. He urged parents to use positive reinforcement for the main lessons from the dressing to work at home and going to bed. But Greene thought he treats the symptoms while ignoring the disease.

Around the same time he learned that neuroscientists have conducted new research studying brain function using fMRI. They found that the prefrontal cortex of our brain plays a key role in the management of so-called "executive function" - our ability to control impulses, set targets for priorities, plan, think critically. Other studies suggest that the prefrontal cortex of aggressive children do not actually developed or is developing slowly. So that their brain simply is not able to help them regulate behavior.

But the brain is changeable. Education and repeated experiences can alter the physical structure of the brain, creating new neural pathways. Nobel laureate Eric Kandel found that memory is stored in the synapses of the nervous system. He received the Nobel Prize in 2000 for the study of the nervous system of Aplysia sea slug. Kandel found that when Slug "learned" something akin to terror, it has created a new neurons.

This new wave of research has a great sense for teachers: children can really reshape your brain, where they develop the practical skills. Moreover, Dweck and other researchers have shown that when students talk about it, their motivation and performance jump. Green began to instruct parents to those focused on strengthening in their children problem-solving skills. It turned out that it works.

By the early 1990s, Greene earned his doctorate in clinical psychology. He moved to Massachusetts, where he began teaching at the Harvard Medical School, and to manage the program of cognitive behavioral psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He also became a test a new approach to children's psychiatric clinic, where the previously used method of Skinner. In 2001, the Cambridge Health Alliance (Cambridge Health Alliance) has implemented CPS in a group of hospitals in the Boston area, and said that within a year of its use physical and chemical constraints (eg, clonidine, a powerful sedative) in young patients dropped from 20 cases per month to zero. As a result, the next five-year clinical trial in Virginia Tech with the participation of 134 children aged 7 to 14 years estimated the CPS method as an effective way to treat children with oppositional defiant disorder.

By 2001, when the paperback book out of the Green "explosive child", it has become a sought-after lecturer, even appearing on Oprah. His first peer-reviewed material substantiating the effectiveness of the model was published in the scientific journal Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Then invitations to perform in hospitals and other places has become even greater.


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