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Are You The Sun or the North Wind?

Do you behave like the North Wind?

Working with young people in education can be so rewarding.  There’s nothing better than the satisfaction of knowing that your students are engaged and learning.  But I know, only too well, the feeling when things aren’t going well and you ricochet your way to the end of the lesson.  Perhaps your emotions feel raw and you wish things were different.

I’m reminded of the story I was told as a little girl, while sitting on the carpet in the corner of the classroom at reading time.  It was all about the North Wind, how he was fierce, angry and competitive, and he showed it.  He displayed his anger particularly towards The Sun, as he was very jealous of The Sun’s popularity. 

One day the North Wind saw a man walking across the fields wearing a large coat, and he roared at The Sun “I’ll...

Ritalin and Cocaine Addiction

Seen in The Daily Mail on 28 June 2013:

Could ADHD medication Ritalin cure cocaine addiction? New research shows it might help self-control

By Emma Innes

PUBLISHED in The Daily Mail: 28 June 2013 | UPDATED: 2 July 2013

  • A single dose of Ritalin can modify the brain circuits that cause cravings
  • Decreases connectivity between areas of brain linked to formation      of habits
  • Strengthens links between brain regions involved in regulating      emotions and controlling behaviour

Ritalin, a drug commonly used to treat ADHD, could provide a novel way of treating cocaine addiction.

A single dose of the drug can modify the connectivity in certain brain circuits that underlie self-control and cravings in cocaine addicts, new research has found.

Previous research has shown that Ritalin improves brain function in cocaine users, making them better able to perform some cognitive tasks.

A single dose of Ritalin can modify the connectivity in certain brain circuits that underlie self-control...

Working with learners with ADHD?

I work extensively with teachers and support staff to bring about changes in approaches for learners with ADHD.  It's inspiring to see so much good practice, particularly when there's a willingness to share.

Here are some interesting strategies for managing behaviour issues, collated from a recent training event.  The behaviours are consistent with ADHD and some really good ideas were offered:

Behaviour: Angry with him/herself – fluctuating emotions

  • Speak to him/her and acknowledge that you can see he/she is angry
  • Focus on what he/she has done well
  • Stay calm
  • Listen (give him/her a chance to talk - social stories)
  • Time-out
  • Emotional literacy game

Behaviour: Restlessness

  • Regular breaks – go for walks/outside the classroom – 3 minutes to talk about the subject - everything you know
  • Activities in lesson (hands-on)
  • Clear tasks and roles
  • Shorter lesson structure/change of pace
  • Consider a quick change to work in groups
  • Stress ball
  • Doodle...

Immediate or Deferred Consequences?

 

I meet teachers in FE who bemoan the lack of instant ‘disciplinary’ processes such as detention or temporary exclusion.

 

In college, while it’s important that students toe the line behaviourally (after all, it’s what we expect in society is it not?) I believe it’s also essential to use all other options available before getting down and dirty with the punishment.

 

Why do I think this?  By the time a person reaches 16 and enters college, and if their conduct is not quite the ticket, they will have been punished many times already.  Did it work?  Probably not.  So the classroom-hater on your course is not going to change unless they have a different experience.

 

Sometimes if a student is hard to teach, is playing the fool, shouting out, refusing to work, the emotion which rises in me is “HOW DARE YOU”.   But should it pierce the surface and explode in front of...

What shall I do when students ……… >>>

Questions taken from a training day, these were specifically discussed during an activity and solutions from each group were offered.

Are rude?

  • Individual behavioural contract
  • Show examples: e.g. Basil Fawlty, The Office to demonstrate
  • Student input into class rules – use these as a reminder when student is rude
  • Withdraw from audience, quiet word – “it makes me feel.....” if you continue there will be a consequence
  • Check – do all teachers experience this? What are the triggers?

Are late to class with a grand entrance?

  • Ignore/give attention
  • Arrange a late table for late students with activity set up for them (avoids performance of lateness)
  • Suggest student uses phone alarm to help indicate when he should be in class
  • Prepare behavioural/attendance targets
  • Create a fun activity at start to encourage punctuality – something UNMISSABLE

Talk over each other and me

  • Make use of structured debate with modelled ground rules
  • Use of non-verbal displeasures cues and not acknowledging...
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