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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Using O-LADS to Structure a Classroom Discipline Plan

Hello everyone: Hope you all had a wonderful break and are rested up for another year. I thought I would write about a framework for structuring your classroom discipline that may be beneficial at the beginning of the year.

The program developed by Jerry Olsen (1989) is called O-LADS which refers to the following areas:

O - Ownership: Ownership should give your students a sense of security through control or possession of an object or idea. For example, classroom rules can be developed by all in the group, students are responsible to explain the rules to new students or visitors to the classroom, children may be given the opportunity to work on long term projects of their own choosing, contracts or mediational essays can be used to give children ownership of the problem, children are given a role to play in meetings with parents.

L- Limits: Appropriate boundaries must be set using rules, standards, and defining of areas in which the children work. Children are more secure when they know the boundaries within their control. Examples, Rules and consequences are clearly shown to the students prior to incidences occurring, predictability, consequences may be developed on a heiracrchy (teacher does not need to say "if you misbehave you are kicked out", children will be aware of where they stand on the heirarchy of consequences, refer back to the rule rather than lecturing students on the limits they have broken, visual or non-verbal cues should also be used to help those students who may struggle with auditory processing.

A - Acceptance: Children need to feel accepted for who they are without being blamed, dis-respected or rejected because of their differences. Children know when people do not accept them including the teachers and staff at the school. Techniques that may help with acceptance - using problem solving techniques to help children "own" their problems without blame, teachers can try to use humour, fun, maintain standards so children feel accepted by someone they respect, treat students as capable individuals, teach negotiation skills so children feel they can handle difficult situations with other people.

D - Direction: Giving children a sense of growth and helping them acquire new skills, knowledge and generation of their own ideas. Setting clear goals and standards that enhance feelings of competence, success, curiousity and completion of tasks. Students can experience success and recognition by: using clear goals as targets, using a curriculum that progresses, encouragement from teachers, using good instructional materials, developing morale or group spirit. Other examples, have children write a journey of their lives so far and where they would like to go, imagery through stories and film, compile lists of acquired skills (reading rate, math accuracy), students can define dreams, hopes and aspirations for when they grow up, have students predict how much quality work they can produce over the week, month, year, use timelines to show how the child is progressing with academics and behaviour (visual indicator).

S - Systems: "a set of connected parts forming a complex whole" Relationships are interactive and work two ways. Teacher affect students and students affect teachers. Blame can infect the "whole system" and can split the system so it does not perform efficiently. Teachers should work with parents and parents should work with teachers to make sure they are teaching the child to work cooperatively with all those people around them. Working as a team is paramount. Try to "externalize" the problem, people fight the problem, not each other. See things from others point of view.

The program encompasses all five areas when establishing your discipline plan at school, home and in the community for managing potential difficult situations.

Hope everyone has a great year. I look forward to discussing strategies and ideas as the year unfolds.

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