Staff needs to be aware that behavior management starts with them. It is the staff’s reactions that escalate student’s behavior into no-win power struggles in a majority of cases. Students start 90% of all conflict in the classroom, but staff escalates about 60% of that by not respond appropriately. To understand how to respond in the appropriate manner we need to understand the conflict cycle.
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- A stressful event occurs which ACTIVATES a troubled student’s irrational beliefs.
- These negative thoughts determine and TRIGGER feelings.
- Feelings, not rational forces, DRIVE inappropriate behaviors.
- Inappropriate behaviors INCITE adults.
- Adults take on the student’s feelings and may MIRROR his behaviors (or at least the student’s emotions and intensity).
- This negative adult REACTION increases the student’s stress escalating the conflict into a self-defeating power struggle.
- The student’s SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY (irrational beliefs) is REINFORCED; the student has no motivation to change thinking or behavior.
This does not mean students cannot be held responsible for their behaviors. They need to have consequences. It is all about the how and when we give them. If we give them too soon, then students gets more frustrated and it leads to greater conflict or the student feels as if they have been punished and therefore the incident is over and there is no reason to change. In these pages, you will find ways to help staff manage the conflict cycle and stay out of power struggles.