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Taylor Cape is a sixth grade student who is disrupting not only her learning, but the learning of her classmates. Her teacher, Mrs. Casemore has asked the Behavior Support Team to help her determine the function of Taylor's disruptions so she can develop an intervention before Taylor's behavior are out of control. Taylor verbally disrupts, shows physical aggression, and throws items from time to time. Taylor has a mid learning disability. What steps would you take to curb Taylor's behavior problems?
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The first appropriate step has already been taken. The school needs to respond to this student on an additional level to meet her needs. Their job will be to determine if the issue Taylor struggles with is behavioral or academic. Many students who feel inadequate to meet a specific academic challenge will act out with poor behavior to receive some attention for something other than the fact that they cannot do the task at hand. Once the team isolates the problem, they can determine (if the issue is academic) what strategies of modifcation or accomodation the teacher should employ, or (if behavioral) what incentives and consequences should be put in place to motivate the student to remain on task during class.
If this will take some time before the BST will get to Taylor, a classroom teacher will need to think on her feet. This might mean pulling Taylor out into the hall and speaking frankly with her. A few conversations starters that have worked for me have included:
- Hey, it seems like something is bugging you today, but I have a class to run and your behavior is making it tough on me. Is there something I can help you with right now so we can fix this?
- Taylor, I can see you need my attention, so here I am. What can I do for you?
- Taylor, I really need your help. It seems the kids really listen to you, and today they are focused on you. Could you help me get them to listen to me?
- My last and final idea is to give Taylor an important task to do that makes Taylor feel important. This might be running a note to the office to just get Taylor out of the way for a few minutes. You can finish your lesson and then spend a few minutes with Taylor when Taylor returns to go over it in terms Taylor understands.
It's great that you have taken an approprate step! I hope that you have contacted the girl's parents and had a personal conference with her as well. Saying this, I would monitor Taylor before she does these things and see what might be causing the behavior. After doing this, I would talk to her and see if she was trying to get attention or getting frustrated. It seems that these may be the most likely causes for the behavior. When you have determined the cause of her behavior, then you can set up a system for giving her positive attention for good behavior or a secret signal that tells you she needs extra help. If something else is causing the behavior, you can then determine an appropriate way to deal with it.
Sometimes children get overly excited with too much externally stimulation. The teacher and Behavioral team should assess under what circumstances this child acts out. It also is important for children like this to be able to express themselves creatively. Making them feel important is another option. Giving them a speific task to do for the classroom help them keep their focus and helps with self esteem and gives them positive reenforcment instead of the negative attention this child receives when she acts out.
you can help her by involving her in some extracurricular activities that she might be interested in. this could help her rediscover her abilities and restore self confidence. something else should be done at your side as a teacher. you should try to make her feel that she is doing something important inside the class, such as giving her some tasks that push her to interact and communicate with her classmates. this would help her feel important and friendly at the same time.
Getting the BST team on board is the right first step. I would then work on positive reward system in the class room, as well as finding ways to keep Taylor involved as much as possible so that she doesn't have "free" time for disruptions. Encourage Taylor to be a helper in the classroom which may dissuade her from acting out. For a reward system, depending on the frequency of the outbursts, she may benefit from an hourly or split-day reward. Engage her in getting the reward system set up and allow her to choose the rewards for work that is well-done. Allow the rewards to be easy to earn in the beginning and then gradually increase your expectations as she earns additional successes.
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