As special educators, we consistently work to create environments for students that are positive, consistent, and predictable. We have many prevention strategies we utilize and sometimes, despite these strategies there are some occasions when we need to support a student experiencing escalating behavior. Here are some helpful prevention strategies as well as tips to responding to escalating behavior in the classroom.
Building Relationships: The number one way to prevent behaviors of concern in the classroom is to build strong relationships with our students. Knowing our students, and understanding what works and what doesn’t, will help students access their learning opportunities in the classroom. There are many small ways we can get to know our students, including greeting, connecting, and acknowledging students first thing each day. Try the 2×10 strategy: spend two minutes talking with a student about anything other than school for 10 consecutive days. Additionally, it is critical to always connect before you correct.
As we move to providing more support for our students in the area of Social Emotional Learning, we are seeing more teachers implementing a range of supports in their classrooms. One of those supports is the creation of a space for students within the classroom, sometimes called a Think Space, Comfort Corner, or Break Space. These nooks are stocked with a variety of tools that help students take a little time to self-regulate, then get right back to learning.
It is important to teach students the purpose of the space and how to use it. The most important learning target of this teaching is for students to begin to identify what they need to support their own learning. They become adept at identifying when their brains might need a break or other supports, and that those breaks and supports actually allow them to be better learners. The outcome is better self-regulation throughout the school day.
Think Spaces or Comfort Corners require classroom procedures to support their use.Teachers typically teach their students a signal or some other system for when students are requesting a break. There is typically a time limit, though many teachers are flexible for students who may need a little more time than others. These spaces should not be used once students are already escalated; rather, they should function as a prevention tool throughout the school day. Continue reading
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