Teachers

Understanding the Mistaken Goal of Revenge

If you feel hurt or find yourself saying, “I can’t believe he/she just did that,” this is your clue that the student's mistaken goal of the misbehavior is revenge. When people feel hurt, they hurt back (often without even realizing what they are doing). For the mistaken goal of Revenge, the student’s belief is “I don’t belong, and that hurts, so I’ll get even by hurting others.” The coded message that provides clues for encouragement is “I’m hurting. Validate my feelings.”

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Avoiding Power Struggles in the Classroom

One of the most difficult classroom management challenges is avoiding power struggles. Remember, it takes two to engage in a power struggle. The Mistaken Goal Chart shows us that your feelings are the best clue to students’ mistaken goal. If you feel challenged or find yourself thinking something like “he/she is not going to win this”, we encourage you to stop, take a deep breath, and consider the student’s coded message.

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Understanding the Mistaken Goal of Undue Attention

Everyone wants attention. It’s part of human nature. Adler and Dreikurs long ago pointed out the fundamental human need to feel belonging and connection. The problem arises in classrooms when students seek attention in negative ways because of their mistaken beliefs about how to gain a sense of belonging.

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Become a Mistaken Goal Detective

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.

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Validate Feelings Teacher Tool

As a classroom teacher and school counselor I found that listening and validating feelings helped me learn all kinds of really helpful information that proved crucial in supporting students. Students open up and share when they know you care. By listening and validating feelings I learned what my students were thinking and feeling, and this helped me understand better how to help.

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Involve Students in Creating Class Guidelines

Imagine you are a student on the first day of school, and the teacher presents some pre-established rules for classroom behavior. Does this excite you, or do you listen with boredom?

Now imagine you are a student on the first day of school, and the teacher says, "I need the help of everyone to create guidelines for behavior in our classroom that are respectful and encouraging for everyone. Let's brainstorm for ideas?"

What are you thinking and feeling now?

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What Does a Positive Discipline Class Meeting Look Like?

Many teachers use circle time, morning meetings, or what they may call class meetings. Most of these meetings are “teacher generated.” In other words, the teacher decides what should be discussed or follows a program with suggested topics designed to teach children about these topics. Positive Discipline class meetings are designed to be “student generated,” and to “focus on solutions,” meaning that it is the students who put their concerns on an agenda (although teachers can too) and then everyone brainstorms for solutions. Through this format, students learn from the inside out by being involved, instead of from the outside in—lectures or lessons taught by others. The root of education is educaré, which means “to draw forth.” When adults “teach” by “drawing forth,” students feel capable, belonging and significance, and more motivated to follow the solutions they help create.

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Teach Students to Give and Receive Compliments

Nothing can change your mood from sad to glad more quickly than gratitude. Negativity changes to positive feelings the instant you focus on what you appreciate. Since this is such a profound truth, doesn't it make sense to teach this valuable skill to students—and to provide time and space for them to practice on a daily basis.

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Connection Before Correction for Teachers

Research has shown that a connection at school is the primary factor for academic achievement.

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