Aaaargh.... when you have those children for whom Proximal Praise DOES NOT WORK!(6 Posts)
I'm experienced. I have lots and lots (and lots) of strategies for promoting good behaviour, rewarding it and discouraging poor behaviour.
I have particular child who is quite hard work this year. Behaviour guru in recently to talk to whole staff about behaviour/golden time etc. Proximal praise highlighted as the key to getting through to some kids.
OK, I think. I do that a fair bit now, I'll do it more.
Child A starts fiddling/making a noise.
Me: Well done, child B, you are REALLY showing me that you are listening well.
Child A: (In a mocking voice) "oh yes, Well done, child B, you are REALLY showing me that you are listening well."
Gah! Wonder how the behaviour guru would have coped with that child.
What does Child A do in response to being told their behaviour is inappropriate?
And that is why proximal praise is damaging if used badly.
You tried to do a good thing, instead Child B feels embarassed and pissed off and Child A (who knew exactly what you were doing) feels empowered in their misbehaviour.
Next time you may find Child B is pissing about with Child A so as not to be on the recieving end of 'praise' that makes him/her feel shite.
Always deal with the bad behaviour head on, with a clear non passive strategy. However untrendy that is.
Euphemia, unpredictable. For every time tackling reduces poor behaviour, on another hand it is like water off a ducks back and the behaviour escalates. Being sent to the SMT doesn't help, as they are too softly softly. The child enjoys a gentle chat and comes back no different.
How is it done differently if proximal praise is used 'well'? (And how did I do it wrong?)
I constantly use praise, so it didn't come out of the blue. Specific verbal praise, stickers, house points, table points etc. All the time. And not in a saccharine way. And that's the first time I've EVER had that type of reaction. In ALL my years!
Yes, Child B was probably annoyed with child A (and it won't be the first time that Child A has annoyed others with silly things they say). Happily child B is the last child to EVER cause a fuss as a reaction. And I obviously made sure I spoke to that child about it to make sure they were fine.
...and to be honest, my ignore... ignore... ignore.... lasted about 1 second after that comment and the Child A was quickly taken to one side and the behaviour was addressed.
I think it is done 'well' when the child who is being naughty is unaware that your praise of someone else is aimed at their misbehaviour. So you would need to praise something other than the direct opposite of what naughty child is doing. If the naughty child (for want of a better expression), thinks to themselves 'I want to get praise like that' then you have won, this just won't work with all pupils.
In reality it isn't always possible to this 'well' which is why I (as an individual) think it's a pretty crap strategy.
Not all children will shape their behaviour for approval (years of EBD experience speaking). For a variety of reasons a child just may not find another peson being pleased with them gratifying.
For those children you need a 'what's in it for me' approach where you work with whatever actually does motivate them. You can link their motivator to you (so they learn that pleasing you is the only path to what they want). This can create behaviour that looks similar to the behaviour of other children, although it is driven by different thought processes.
The really tough cases are the ones, usually with quite shallow affect, who are not rewarded by anything you have to offer. Especially if what does gratify them is being in control of the classroom. Then you have a problem!!
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