do try this at home

One of the only worthwhile nuggets of info I got out of my Saturday training (and from the looks of things in the comments, I should count myself lucky for even getting a nugget!), was something called Practice Academy.

You may have heard of Practice Academies before. Ray L. Levy is the guy that came up with this super simple concept. He wrote a book about it and I bet he's rich now. [Note to self: come up with super simple concept and write a book. Retire ahead of schedule.] I happen to like this idea for a number of reasons:

It offers an unemotional way to deal with misbehavior.
It can work in the classroom or at home.
It can work with Kindergartners up to 12th graders.

So if you're interested, read on. Disclaimer: this lengthy explanation may bore you who do not have to deal with children on a day-to-day basis.

Step 1: Name that Practice Academy
When a child misbehaves, calmly say what the behavior is telling him he needs. Figure out what behavior you'd like to see instead and start your sentence with "Your behavior is telling me you need a ____ Practice Academy." Ex: "Uh-oh! Your behavior is telling me that you need a 'coming in the room and starting your class work' Practice Academy."
Be careful in how you say it: unemotionally, or with a tinge of sadness. Never as a threat!

Step 2: Pick a time
Pick a time that's convenient for you but NOT for the child. He needs to practice until he's mastered the skill AND is bored! The best time to get his attention is when he'd rather be doing something else (like during recess, art, gym, after school, during passing period, or during a working lunch)

Step 3: Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice repeatedly (5 to 8 times or more) until he has mastered the skill AND is bored.

Step 4: Be patient
Don't expect the child to have mastered the desired behavior or skill after one Practice Academy . The Academy  may need to be repeated several times. Note: Only have them practice when they show the problem behavior.

Here is how a Practice Academy might go:

Problem behavior: your student continually blurts out in class.

1. You respond: "Uh-oh! What your behavior is telling me is that you need a "keeping your thoughts to yourself" Practice Academy. Don't worry, I have time to let you practice it this afternoon during recess."

2. At recess, let him know that it's time for his Academy (the more favored the activity, the greater impact it will have)

3. With your student at his desk (and no one else in the room) you pretend you are teaching.

4. Every 20 seconds or so, he is to say out loud at first "Boy, I have something really funny to say. Hold it! This isn't a good time. I'll save it for recess."

5. As the practice continues, he says this comment quieter and quieter until he is whispering it to himself. Basically, he's teaching himself self-control.

6. After a few "self-comments" you can tell him he is doing a good job.

7. When the Academy is over, you can say "Nice job, and if there is a problem tomorrow your behavior will be telling me that you need another Practice Academy."

If the student starts whining about how boring and awful this is, agree with him and say something about how you wish he could already do the desired behavior so you didn't have to practice together!

What do you think? Would this work in your classroom (or in your home)?


Mrs. Wilson said...

I may try something like this for a student of mine who is the first one in the classroom but the last one to start her morning seatwork! Thanks for sharing this idea!

Sherri said...

Interesting idea! But as I was reading it, I have to admit that I was thinking about how many Practice Academies I myself might need in a day......

Elissa said...

I may have to do the keeping your thoughts to yourself for myself. But I will try this with my monster. Thank You!

Anonymous said...

I can already hear myself saying that to my high schoolers, especially with the "uh-oh" peppy, elementary tone of voice. And I can DEFINATELY already imagine their faces. Hahah! --Rebekah

Anonymous said...

I read Elissa's comment so quickly I thought she said, "with my mother!" hmmm Hope no Practice Academies are planned during your visit!! Love you, Mom

Shell said...

I think that could actually work!

malia said...

this is genius! it makes so much more sense then "STOP THAT NOW!" thanks for sharing the idea...

Ellen Marie "Mama" Pike said...

This is a great idea. I am not a school teacher but I plan to share
this with my daughter who has four children ages eleven, ten, six and three.

Mellisa Rock said...

I think I may try this with my kids at home!! :) Love it!

Charlotte said...

I'll have to think about this. I have a gut reaction to the repetitive practicing to discipline/teach after a terrible experience potty training. Their technique was just like this and resulted in a disastrous experience for her and me. Since then I've been reluctant to do the technique again, but the way you described it for behavior modification may work really well. If I can get over my visceral response to it, I will give it a try.

Wahzat Gayle said...

I don't know if it would work in my home... but I think I am going to try.

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