Solving the mystery of "why" your students "misbehave" can be fun and beneficial. Once you break the code, you will have more information on how to encourage behavior change.
In Positive Discipline we emphasize the importance of understanding the belief behind the behavior. You can use the Mistaken Goal Chart and the Mistaken Goal Detective Clue Form to accomplish this goal. You will be much more effective in encouraging behavior change when you deal with the belief behind the behavior instead of just the behavior.
Following is an example from Kelli Griffin, who shared how she used the Mistaken Goal Detective Clue Form:
Challenge: A 4-year-old boy crying loudly anytime he does not get his way, has to take a turn, has the soccer ball taken from him during a soccer game, etc.
Teacher Feels - Annoyed and Irritated.
In response to this challenging behavior, I have been reminding/coaxing by telling him things such as, “Everybody has to wait their turn.” or “Remember, getting the ball taken from you is part of the soccer game. It happens to every player.”
The crying escalates.
According to the Mistaken Goal Chart this information indicates that his mistaken goal is Undue Attention and his mistaken belief is: "I’m only important when I’m keeping you busy with me."
The coded message that lets me know what this child needs to feel encouraged is "Notice me. Involve me usefully."
I decided to talk with the boy when he was calm and try to engage him in problem solving. I asked him what he thought might help him when he felt left out or frustrated and wanted to cry. He just said he didn’t know. I then offered suggestions by asking him if he thought going to a special place, taking deep breaths or counting to ten might help when he felt frustrated/left out and wanted to cry. He picked taking deep breaths. We then practiced together. I then helped him through the training period by being extremely aware of when he was starting to get frustrated. I would get in his line of sight and simply say the two words, “Deep breathes” very calmly. By the second day, while he had not mastered it, he caught himself, without my signal, several times and took the breathes instead of crying.
We would love to hear your examples of how you use the Mistaken Goal Detective Clue Form and The Mistaken Goal Chart. In the next four weeks we will be sharing more information about each of the Four Mistaken Goals. Please send your stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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