Working with Challenging Students


I believe in the Discipline Wihout Stress approach, but what should I do with the students who prompt me to yearn for that ditch digging job that I hated as a kid?


1. Revisit the impulse management link. You may even want to copy and learn the dialog. Continue to repeat the mantra, “Do you want to remain a victim?” If the procedure established was not effective, then repeat the conversation, “Let’s try another procedure so that you will not continue to be a victim of your impulses.”

2. Re-read “Solving Circles” on pages 156-157 in the book. Select that student as one of the participants and yourself as the other.

3. Ask for help. Even Machiavelli wrote in “The Prince” that receiving something from your subjects will gain as much loyalty as your giving something to them. A conversation with a student sounds like, “Lee, I have a problem and the only one who can help me is you. Are you willing?” (Of course, Lee is the problem. Share it.)

4. Empower the student. Put the student in charge of the activity. It is nearly impossible to do the opposite of that for which you are in charge.

5. Of all the reflective and self-evaluative questions suggested in the book, use the four questions for changing behavior (pp.19-20): (1) What do you want? (2) What are you choosing to do? ((3) What is your plan? (4) What is your procedure to implement the plan? Notice that self-evaluation and reflection are built into these questions because what the youngster is doing is not getting what the youngster wants.

6. Hold a classroom meeting (pp 128-140). “We are all in this together and Lee is having a problem rising to Level C or D. What do you (class) suggest we do to help Lee? (Lee must be present, and Lee will get an understanding of how his behavior affects others, and students will suggest ideas that you would never have thought of yourself.} See “Classroom Meetings” “at Sample Chapters

7. Spend some time tutoring the student (pp. 126-127). Even if it is for one minute, you will notice or create some positive comment about the student that will prompt good feelings and lead the way to bonding.

Having the student bond with you by your positive and empowering remarks will do more than anything else to promote responsible behavior and a desire for the student to do what you desire the student to do.

Notice that all of these use the three principles of positivity, choice, and reflection described in depth in Chapter I of the book and outlined in the Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model.