Friday, March 18, 2005

Using a Positive Preventive Briefing With Alternative School Students

I have been reading and reflecting on how we discipline or attempt to correct inappropriate behaviors. In an alternative school setting, we have to think outside the box. In searching for ways to meet the increasingly violent nature of students we are required by law (which is another RANT all together and not something I want to be publishing my opinions on) to serve. I ran across this description of a prevention or intervention strategy. An effective technique for avoiding discipline problems is the technique of “Positive Preventive Briefing.”

In such a “briefing,” a teacher offers advice and reminders to students in any situation in which judgment and experience indicate the possibility exists for problems. In reflecting on how I "react" to inappropriate behavior, I think it would help if instead of being sarcastic with students, I need to ask the student to step in the hallway with me and address the behavior immediately with that student. In my positive preventive breifing, calmly explain my expectations. Students we have are always defensive and may not even want to step outside. So, what else can I do? Maybe I could give them a colored card. Yellow means they are being warned. Three yellow cards during the period means they recieve a red card and will be referred to the principal. Hum, can I keep up with this? Probabaly not. Could I use a clipboard and a check list? Oh, better still, give them a "check on the board". Something will work. I need some "best practices". HELP! Post a comment if you have experience working with behaviorly challenged middle and high school ages students.

The objective is to teach acceptable behavior in specific situations when students might not know exactly what is expected of them. This makes sense, but when do I teach? Maybe I should not worry about teaching and go back to school to earn a degree in criminology.

I read that Positive Preventive Briefing should not not confused with the common “teacher warning.” Opps, got me. Colored Cards are classic teacher warning techniques. I have to remember when I am briefing students, a positive attitude is maintained. That is difficult at best. I have to approach the situation from the standpoint of “what students need to learn—and what the student can expect to happen.”

Then when I take positive action to emphasize what students should do rather than what they should not do. So, when I ask them to step out side the classroom, my face to face meeting might go like this: Raheem, learning is important and I expect all students to read during silent reading time. However, since you are in the 6th grade and can not read the words on a stop sign, and can not sit still for more than a nanosecond, and you do not have a techician today, it is not your fault.

I need help! Say a little prayer for me. Go HEELS!

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