Strategies for Teaching the Students Who Challenge Us Most
Jeffrey's newest book is a guide to support robust and sustained school improvement:
"TEN STEPS TO MANAGING CHANGE IN SCHOOLS"
from the introduction to "Ten Steps To Manage School Change"
In my work as a consultant and workshop presenter, I help schools and districts to improve their program initiatives. Over the years, I've helped educators find ways to hold more effective IEP meetings, help staff work better as a team, increase the use of authentic assessments, use literature for developing social skills, and any number of other objectives. Unfortunately, even when teachers and administrators give me high marks, I find that any changes I may have helped to bring about are rarely robust and lasting. Although workshops and presentations provide schools with a common language, inspiration, and skills, these are too often adopted piecemeal and at random by educators who don't have a set approach to implementing change. In the pages that follow, I offer a change model that can be successfully adapted to almost all program initiatives, so you don’t have to exert time and energy to reinvent the wheel with every new improvement campaign.
I was chairing an hour-long meeting with school administrators, teachers, therapists, and support staff. The group had convened to deal with a single issue: how Dean, a volatile 4th grader, could more successfully transition from class to class. Dean insisted on being first in line, argued over every expectation, and swore at staff as he quickly lost his temper. He was exhausting his teachers, classmates, and everyone who was called in to de-escalate him and then assess his readiness for rejoining his class. We hypothesized what triggered Dean’s reactions. We reviewed his complex family history, his ability to cognitively understand directions, and his ability to physically manage the passage from one room to another. We reviewed what staff had been saying to him, what rewards and punishments had been tried (all so far without lasting success), what the quality of his relationships was with peers and school staff, and what our over lapping goals were for Dean and the school. By the end of the hour, we had synthesized our perspectives and developed a plan. At that point, the principal turned to me and said, “That should do the trick.” I sighed and responded, “There are no tricks.”