What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong? #BCSLearns

The article What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong? by Katherine Reynolds Lewis references the work of Dr. Greene. Psychologist Ross Greene offers a “radically” different approach to “fixing kids’ behavior”. In the following video, Greene brilliantly teases apart the nuanced difference between the notions “kids do well if they can” or “kids do well if they wanna”. View the video below and think about the best practice notion that we know.  In other words, we best be careful with the reward and punishment approach to discipline. What are your thoughts?

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11 thoughts on “What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong? #BCSLearns

  1. Kathleen Grewe

    Dr. Ross Greene has been a go too of mine for years. Thank you for reminding me of how powerful he is as a speaker and what wonderful resources he has. Great clip to share with staff and families on the difference between between philosophies and approaches. At times, there can be a clash in approach with support staff and teaching staff- after all they have the student for hours a day whereas we are seen just “breezing in” or just for support. So it is understandable that the frustration runs deep. Student difficulties can endure across days, weeks, months and sometimes years, whereby a student is not experiencing much success behaviorally or socially. For a teacher who is all in with heart, persistence, and passion for the craft of teaching this approach can be frustrating because it may involve weeks, months, years of teaching social-emotional skills and/or strategies before a teacher may see any progress in a classroom. This teaching may need to be in collaboration with support services (i.e. counselor, LRC teacher, administration, support staff, etc…) outside the general education classroom, which can also lead to frustration. We all want students to be the best they can be academically, behaviorally, and socially- for some this may take years in doing the best they can in that moment.

    Reply
  2. Caroline Spencer

    I truly believe that the essence of his philosophy is a philosophy myself and my colleagues try to live by. The nature of our job is always to find out ‘why’ or ‘why not.” We work hard and collaborate to help our students believe in that philosophy. When they believe in themselves, then they believe they can. No child wakes up and says “I’m going to be difficult in school today.” I agree it’s our job to figure out how they can, but often we are limited with our resources in creating that path.

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  3. Bill Bodle

    I agree with Dr. Greene that there are many obstacles that students face daily that hinder their ability to gain confidence and ultimately reach their potentials. I find myself constantly questioning and assessing why students in my class are struggling-lack of prior knowledge, hungry, socially isolated, tired, lack of confidence, learning styles, etc. Working with students with individual needs is challenging and “detecting” these issues is something I contemplate daily, weekly, and throughout the entire school-year.

    I am a true believer that all kids have the ability to learn and succeed. Their paths to reach their individual destination can be far different from one another. But, as educators, it is our job to help kids find their own routes to success. I do not think any kid wakes up in the morning “wanting” to have bad day. There can be many issues that go into a student’s perceived lack of effort and behavior difficulties. At the face of it, these behaviors can seem to be “attention-seeking” or “testing limits.” I find myself thinking this often and catch myself. However, at the heart, of it a student may seek your attention to try to bring to your attention a bigger, more complex issue they are struggling with. Sometimes, simply the opportunity to vent can be enough to get them through a tough day.

    Getting to know our students, developing trust and positive relationships, in my opinion, is the most important step in breaking down obstacles and helping kids find their way. I agree 100%–Kids do well if they can.

    Reply
    1. Lesie

      Billy, you have shared that idea that kids don’t wake up and “plan on” having a bad day with me before and it really helps when I’m dealing with a student and it really seems like that is the case. I need to be able to re-think that premise and realize that they are reacting to a situation because of a multitude of reasons.

      Reply
  4. Billy Bodle

    I agree with Dr. Greene that there are many obstacles that students face daily that hinder their ability to gain confidence and ultimately reach their potentials. I find myself constantly questioning and assessing why students in my class are struggling-lack of prior knowledge, hungry, socially isolated, tired, lack of confidence, learning styles, etc. Working with students with individual needs is challenging and “detecting” these issues is something I contemplate daily, weekly, and throughout the entire school-year.

    I am a true believer that all kids have the ability to learn and succeed. Their paths to reach their individual destination can be far different from one another. But, as educators, it is our job to help kids find their own routes to success. I do not think any kid wakes up in the morning “wanting” to have bad day. There can be many issues that go into a student’s perceived lack of effort and behavior difficulties. At the face of it, these behaviors can seem to be “attention-seeking” or “testing limits.” I find myself thinking this often and catch myself. However, at the heart, of it a student may seek your attention to try to bring to your attention a bigger, more complex issue they are struggling with. Sometimes, simply the opportunity to vent can be enough to get them through a tough day.

    Getting to know our students, developing trust and positive relationships, in my opinion, is the most important step in breaking down obstacles and helping kids find their way. I agree 100%–Kids do well if they can.

    Reply
  5. Mandy Pantuso

    Dr. Greene hits the nail on the head with this idea that “kids do well if they can”. This is one of the utmost ideas that I base my teaching philosophy on. Students with challenging behaviors have been one of the areas over my career that I have been striving to better understand. In the beginning of my career, I was a teacher that thought that a student didn’t behave because they didn’t want to or weren’t capable of it. Once I changed my mindset and really started looking for what was getting in the way, everything changed. I’ve come to realize that building relationships, getting to know students, and gaining their trust is the single most positive thing in breaking down barriers and truly helping students better understand themselves and how to manage their own challenges, which in turn helps me to be more effective, compassionate, and understanding of the challenges they may be facing. At the heart of things, kids really do want to do well…we just have to continue believing in this as educators, even during the difficult times.

    Reply
  6. Vicki

    I was happy to read this article and listen to Dr. Greene’s ideas and philosophy. I agree with his approach to helping students to get to the reasons they are behaving in ways that cause them to misbehave, act out or not be productive. Finding the time to help discover this is often the issue, but well worth it in the long run. I think that once students feel we care about them and know their story, the more likely it is they will trust us, believe in themselves, and try things in the classroom that are challenging for them. Just imagine how good a child can feel about him/herself each and everyday by using this approach. What a positive place school can be for everyone!

    Reply
  7. Leslie

    I really agree with Dr. Green’s analysis that your philosophy about what’s going on with a kid will determine your approach to helping them. It was really clarifying to hear him tease apart the difference between having a philosophy that a kid wouldn’t want to do well and thinking instead that they will do well – if they can. I agree with Billy, no kid wakes up and plans on having a bad day – they are dealing with something. Kids want to be successful – I try to give them the tools and understanding to help them do well. Any time a kid isn’t successful, they feel terrible and disappointed – it isn’t a choice the student made. What’s hard for me is trying to figure out why they are struggling sometimes so I can find ways to help them.

    Reply
  8. Joe Leibson

    I hate to be a contrarian, but I’m not sure I buy Dr. Green’s philosophy 100%. For example, I have had students who have the ability to succeed in my class, but they lack motivation. Now, there are likely reasons behind their lack of motivation beyond just “they don’t wanna do it,” but sometimes finding a way to motivate a student is the key to helping them succeed. If he’s saying that motivation is not always the reason that a student is having trouble, I agree with that, and with the idea that it is the teacher’s job to find out what the obstacles are that are preventing the student from learning, but often motivation is that obstacle.

    Reply
  9. amy burns

    I am grateful for the reminder that ” kids can do well if they can, you have to figure out what is getting in their way.” That is so true with many kids especially the “challenging” ones. Often, what is getting in their way may take a while to figure out or may not be “fixable” (I,e parents, health issues). It is hard to not get frustrated with them. But if you can make a connection, maybe you can help get something out of their “way”

    Reply
  10. Pingback: BCS Students – They Are Ours, All of Them #BCSLearns | Learn-Lead-Love

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