What will happen if you continue?

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As the social skills teacher on our campus, I am occasionally asked for advice, regarding behavior interventions. Yesterday a 3rd grade teacher, sought advice regarding a harmful teasing incident. Among the fun activities planned for the end of the school year, a swimming party was on tap for our 3rd through 5th grade students. One student in her classroom was not going as a punishment for chronic inappropriate behavior. Two of his peers were teasing him to the point of anger on his part and frustration on the teacher's part.

She explained the circumstances. I suggested she verbalize the following.:

"The type of harmful teasing you are choosing isn't respectful of other people. What will happen if you continue doing this?"

This verbalization is based upon the following learnings.:

1) We choose our behaviors, consequences, and our feelings. If a checklist existed, would we not all choose appropriate behaviors, wanted consequences, and positive feelings? Eventually, we could use the powerful question, "What's the matter with you? Crazy? Choosing those unwanted consequences and negative feelings." or "What's the matter with me?"

2) Our behavior is appropriate when we choose behaviors which are respectful of self, others, and property. These have been identified as the guidelines for all rules--laws, ordinances, statutes, etc. And if one's behavior is inappropriate his/her behavior will probably be contrary to some rule and result in some unwanted consequence.

3) We make our lives better by choosing new effective and appropriate ways to have Fun, Power, Freedom, and Love & Belonging.

Though I didn't witness the interaction, I would guess after the teacher said, "The type of harmful teasing you are choosing isn't respectful of other people. What will happen if you continue doing this?," her students said something similar to GET IN TROUBLE, BE TIMED OUT, etc. I would think that the teacher offered,"You might have the consequence of not going to the swimming pool. Did you want that to happen? What can you do differently to allow better consequences?" These 3rd students have had Choice Theory instruction the entire school year. I "comfort" in that they will experience the same instruction for the next two school years.

Have a good summer. TD

-- Ted Donato (tdonato@toppenish.wednet.edu), June 13, 2003

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