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Thursday, August 30, 2007

THE CAUSE OF AUTISM

Just watching one of the videos that had come through You Tube. The doctor in the video asserts that immunizations cause Autism. I think this is a very bold statement as the wider medical community does not seem to share this belief. If immunizations were the cause of autism would all the kids who had immunizations be affected by autism? Is there a resilience to immunizations for some kids so they do not acquire this particular disorder? This link may be helpful in researching the statement:
http://www.quackwatch.org/03HealthPromotion/immu/thimerosal.html

Saturday, August 25, 2007

THE RULES OF LIFE ACCORDING TO BILL GATES

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!
Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Friday, August 24, 2007

THE POWER OF A TEACHER

“I have come to a frightening conclusion. I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather.

As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal.

In all situations it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escaped or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.”

Dr. Haim Ginott

WORKING WITH CHALLENGING INDIVIDUALS

One of the greatest skills that teachers of today require is the ability to de-escalate a situation that may become volatile and out of control. Teachers are increasingly aware that students are coming to their classrooms with difficulty in social skills, anger problems, neurobehavioral disorders and learning disabilities. Teachers face an increase in school violence and oppositional students as well as parents. The skills and confidence a teacher has in dealing with challenging situations may be the key to preventing a power struggle with a student or parent.

How do teachers prevent or de-escalate a potentially challenging situation? This is a difficult question as each challenging individual is unique and the teacher may not be aware of the full history of the individual they are presented with. Here are some strategies teachers can try to keep situations under control.

TRY THE FOLLOWING:

1. Recognize the individual’s triggers. What occurs before a behaviour occurs? Can the trigger be recognized and can strategies be implemented before the behaviour escalates?
2. Read the individual’s “state of behaviour”, body language or emotional state in order to determine whether instructions will be followed or opposed. Example: Head on table, slammed books on desk – May not be ready or willing to follow your instruction. Try to change the state by approaching the student quietly after you have started the class and try to determine if the student is willing to begin or has something happened that makes it difficult for the student to attend.
3. If instructions are opposed give the individual time to process what the instruction is actually asking them to do. Make sure instructions are clear and precise. Visual instructions or visual indicators for starting a task may also be required. Try to give instruction and withdraw attention in order to prevent a power struggle.
4. Secondary behaviour may need to be ignored during the immediate situation but should be revisited when there is time and everyone is calm.
5. If instruction is still not being followed, make sure the next instruction is not stated as a threat. Example. “If you do not follow my instruction you will have to go to the office”. This may come across to the student as a challenge. “Make me!”
6. Repeat the initial instruction and withdraw. Pay attention to those that are following instructions.
7. If the behaviour escalates as it might, depending on the individual, make sure you have a specific “discipline plan” that involves other supports if possible. If the student is violent make sure a plan is devised and everyone who works with the child is aware of the requirements of the plan.
8. If the office needs to be called – Have the person who comes from the office take the class and if the teacher feels confident enough have the teacher work with the student.
9. If the child is older and walks out swearing, cursing, slamming doors etc… Make sure the office is informed but do not follow the student out of the classroom. Allow them to leave but before they re-enter a meeting must occur between the student and the teacher to try and repair the relationship. A trip to the office may be required but the teacher still needs to determine whether the student understands that they must work together in the classroom without conflict. This is why a meeting with the teacher should happen to re-establish routines and rules.
10. Humor may help. Sarcasm may escalate.
11. Using a calm voice, non-threatening body language and repetitive instructions may help in de-escalating a potentially volatile situation.
12. Walk away from a power struggle that is escalating. It is not about winning the fight. Sometimes teachers need time to regain their emotional state and may need time to re-group. IT IS OK… “I need time away from you right now but we will discuss this when we are both calmer and willing to work together.”
13. IS IT EASY?? NO NOT AT ALL. Some situations may escalate even though you have done everything you could to keep it under control. Feedback with a peer, discuss the situation, brainstorm strategies and remember you can only do the best you can with the knowledge and skills that you have at the time.
14. ASK for HELP if you need it. Asking for help does not determine your success or failure as a teacher. Some children may come from extremely dysfunctional environments and may not be capable of interacting in a “traditional” setting.
15. TEAMWORK is very important when working with challenging children. We can’t do it all by ourselves.
16. ORGANIZATION is the key for teachers and for students. Unstructured time may lead to potentially challenging situations.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Inspiration

Some people wanted the quotes from the beginning of the seminars. Here they are:

Children are our most valuable resource: Herbert Hoover

When I approach a child, he inspires me in two sentiments,: tenderness for what he is and respect for what he might become: Louis Pasteur

If we don't stand up for children we don't stand for much: Marion Wright Edelman

To value his own good opinion a child has to feel he is a worthwhile person . He has to have confidence in himself as an individual: Sidonie Gruenberg

While we teach our children all about life, our children are teaching us what life is all about: Angela Schwindt

We worry about what a chld will become yet we forget that he is someone today: Stacia Tauscher

One good teacher in a lifetime may change a delinquent into a solid citizen: Philip Wylie

It is not giving children more that spoils them, it is giving them more to avoid confrontation: John Gray

Level with your child by being honest. Nobody spots a phony quicker than a child: Mary MacCracken

If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of a least one adult who can share it, rediscoverning with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in: Rachel Carson

A teacher affects eternity: He can never tell where is influence stops: Henry Adams

What nobler profession or more valuable to the state than that of the man who instructs the rising generation: Marcus Tullius Cicero

The important thing is not that every child should be taught as that every child should be given the wish to learn: John Lubbock

Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions: Author unknown

Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three fourths theater: Gail Goodwin

The teacher who is attempting to teach a without inspring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron: Horace Mann

SAVE YOUR SANITY - Seminars in New Zealand

Hello all:

Arrived back in Australia on Thursday night after an excellent trip through New Zealand. We started our journey in Auckland and presented a seminar to 35 participants which was very successful. A question that arose out of this seminar was intringuing and worth evaluating. Do cultural differences affect the approach to behaviour and curriculum development? In this case the discussion centered around the Maori people and the dilemma that occurs within the community in relation to the importance of education and expected behaviours. How to get the families involved with the school if their children are experiencing problems academically or socially? The discussion also touched on the prevalence of child abuse within the community as a young 3 year old Maori girl was killed the week we were in Auckland. Her 17 year old step father as well as other members of the family have been charged.

The next seminar was in Wellington with 34 participants. Again I was overwhelmed by the welcome I received. I have never experienced hugs and kisses at the end of a seminar but this seemed to be the norm as I received more as the trip went on.

In Dunedin, 43 participants attended the seminar and 64 attended the seminar in Christchurch. A question that came out of the seminar in Christchurch centered around the feeling teachers have when they are discussing the medical aspects of a particular disorder and how they approach parents with this kind of information as they are not doctors and feel they cannot cross over the line to recommend or discourage certain types of therapy or approaches. Any thoughts??

Bullying: Making School a Safe Place to Learn

                                                         FREE RESOURCES A number of children and families are being affected by bullying...