Child with severe behavioral issues- help!

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Re: Child with severe behavioral issues- help!

Postby 914 » 01 May 2012, 22:42

I feel for you, op. a few thoughts:
Diet affects children's behavior
Autism, ADHD, other disorders are very common among children in the west nowadays
Home life causing child to lash out to assert control over situations he is unable to control at home

How do you deal with it against unwilling management is the big question. If he is on medication are you able to find out what kind so you can better understand what issue he is dealing with? Maybe then you can read up on them and deal with him in a specific way. Would you be willing to speak with his caregiver about his behavior? Thing is, I don't think Taiwan has specialists for every behavioral issue like in the US. He sounds like he needs help, not punishment and being ostracized.

If his parents/caregivers know about his behavior, it's their responsibility to seekhelpfor him, not throw him in school and after school classes for others to deal with.

Good luck, you're a good person for caring.
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Re: Child with severe behavioral issues- help!

Postby Homey » 01 May 2012, 22:58

PigBloodCake wrote:Frankly, the entire educational system, from the West to the 'wan, has been "pussified".

Who the hell knows autism, Asperger, ADHD and what not last century? Compassion? More like corporal punishment back in the ol' days.

You disrupt the class, you're getting the whip. You didn't do well, you're getting the whip. Hell, I got 98 back in 2nd or 3rd grade and I still got 2 lashes (every lash for each missed point). There was absolutely no excuse back then NOT to have perfection.

Nowadays......totally pussified.


IMO that is silly, especially given how stupid some of the tests are here. Even when a student or teacher for that matter, knows the subject matter inside out there are often a few retarded questions just thrown in for no real reason. I've seen some tests where they have questions on things the students haven't even studied yet. The test will be for Chapters 1-10 but there will be a few questions from chapter 13. Often tests will themselves have errors or omissions.

98% is just fine anyway. Nothing wrong with that score. Celebrate the kids' success and build their confidence, don't knock them down for no reason.
Why not???

If you are what you eat, then I guess that makes me "fast, cheap, and easy"!
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Re: Child with severe behavioral issues- help!

Postby Achtung Baby » 01 May 2012, 23:27

Hello, OP here, been out all day and just checked in now.

Thank you for your variety of responses. A few answers to repeated questions:

-His medication: I'm not certain. I was told it may have been for ADHD but that doesn't cover his violent behavior.
-Home life: I know that he has a sister in the same buxiban/anquinban and they have never encountered any problems with her. I suspect, quite frankly, that he is spending far too much time under the care of people who aren't his parents- he's at our school well into the evening, every evening. However, this is the case with plenty of other Taiwanese kids too and most of them don't have this level of behavioral issues. I don't know anything about his parental or guardian situation. According to my TA, however, this child went to his parents actually asking to see a doctor about his inability to behave because he wanted to fit in. I don't know if this is true or not- not that I believe that my TA is lying, of course (because I don't) but because of possible language barrier as well as a whole other slew of cultural factors distorting the facts.
-Compassion: I'm a believer in tempering justice with mercy. However, as many others have stated, I believe that by being a source of firm authority, discipline, and patient education with this child I am helping him. I have tried to take the "boost his ego" approach and it is not working.
-Discipline: Whiteys can't get away with physically punishing or emotionally shaming students here the way Chinese teachers can. Also, I'm a 5'3" woman and this boy is one of the bigger ones in class. I'm not sure physical intimidation is the best card for me to play, anyway (although I am something of a believer in old school discipline). Sending him out of the classroom is tricky, too. It's against school policy to send a child out of the classroom cold. I can, however, take him out of the classroom myself and call down to the office for help. This involves interrupting my class, however.
-I've been teaching the class for two months. I replaced a teacher who was finishing up his contract- he had them for several months, I believe, but this child was new at the beginning of February. I witnessed while observing his class this child repeatedly being a pain in the ass and dropping the f-bomb. Prior teacher was a bit hippy-dippy and didn't do much.

I have zero personal ethical qualms about enforcing strict but humane discipline on this child who keeps behaving like a turd burglar. However, I am mindful of the fact that the buxiban is a business and that some types of disciplinary measures (especially coming from a foreigner) are a big no-no and I definitely don't need to land myself in hot water legally or with my employer. I also believe that this child needs qualified psychiatric help. Whatever happens, I am taking real steps soon to remedy this- and additional advice is much appreciated.
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Re: Child with severe behavioral issues- help!

Postby PigBloodCake » 02 May 2012, 10:10

Achtung Baby wrote:Hello, OP here, been out all day and just checked in now.

Thank you for your variety of responses. A few answers to repeated questions:

-His medication: I'm not certain. I was told it may have been for ADHD but that doesn't cover his violent behavior.
-Home life: I know that he has a sister in the same buxiban/anquinban and they have never encountered any problems with her. I suspect, quite frankly, that he is spending far too much time under the care of people who aren't his parents- he's at our school well into the evening, every evening. However, this is the case with plenty of other Taiwanese kids too and most of them don't have this level of behavioral issues. I don't know anything about his parental or guardian situation. According to my TA, however, this child went to his parents actually asking to see a doctor about his inability to behave because he wanted to fit in. I don't know if this is true or not- not that I believe that my TA is lying, of course (because I don't) but because of possible language barrier as well as a whole other slew of cultural factors distorting the facts.
-Compassion: I'm a believer in tempering justice with mercy. However, as many others have stated, I believe that by being a source of firm authority, discipline, and patient education with this child I am helping him. I have tried to take the "boost his ego" approach and it is not working.
-Discipline: Whiteys can't get away with physically punishing or emotionally shaming students here the way Chinese teachers can. Also, I'm a 5'3" woman and this boy is one of the bigger ones in class. I'm not sure physical intimidation is the best card for me to play, anyway (although I am something of a believer in old school discipline). Sending him out of the classroom is tricky, too. It's against school policy to send a child out of the classroom cold. I can, however, take him out of the classroom myself and call down to the office for help. This involves interrupting my class, however.
-I've been teaching the class for two months. I replaced a teacher who was finishing up his contract- he had them for several months, I believe, but this child was new at the beginning of February. I witnessed while observing his class this child repeatedly being a pain in the ass and dropping the f-bomb. Prior teacher was a bit hippy-dippy and didn't do much.

I have zero personal ethical qualms about enforcing strict but humane discipline on this child who keeps behaving like a turd burglar. However, I am mindful of the fact that the buxiban is a business and that some types of disciplinary measures (especially coming from a foreigner) are a big no-no and I definitely don't need to land myself in hot water legally or with my employer. I also believe that this child needs qualified psychiatric help. Whatever happens, I am taking real steps soon to remedy this- and additional advice is much appreciated.


Here's an advice: if you cannot be in control of your job, it's time to consider walking.

Can you get out of this situation by switching this class with another teacher?

Can you be in control of this child with whatever methods you deem fit for him? I believe you have answered this question (and the legal ramification that comes along with it).

Good luck. I know I wouldn't wanna be in your shoes.
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Re: Child with severe behavioral issues- help!

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 02 May 2012, 11:08

PigBloodCake: To be honest, getting control of your job is extremely rare here. In the private sector, there are a lot of guys who will do anything for a buck. In the public sector, there are too many people with an iron rice bowl. At no point is the foreigner ever going to really have any authority. It's designed into the system, and bringing logic and rationality into it is irrelevant.

One of my "activity" clubs at school is a guitar club. Last semester, I began with 21 students, but only nine guitars. By the end of the semester, after some had been broken, we ended up with six guitars. I tried to get the students to learn a couple of really basic chord progressions. They mostly screwed around every lesson and very few learnt anything. I told people about this several times, and that the students wouldn't be able to perform at the end of the semester. They just brushed it off. My solution with the worst behaving kids was to just get them to do their homework from other classes during the guitar club. Then, at the end of the semester, the administration were disappointed that the kids couldn't perform.

This semester, my guitar club has about twelve students (mostly different students to last semester). We have three or four guitars now (one always goes missing). Again, I tried to teach them something really simple. They have spent twelve or thirteen weeks so far screwing around. Early on in the semester, I asked one of the directors to address this. He concluded that the reason they also didn't do any practice outside of class was because the guitars were in another classroom (though logically, they could have still gone and got them). So, he moved the guitars to my classroom. Unsurprisingly, the kids have done bugger all since, both in and out of class. I have told the administration several times that the kids won't be able to perform this semester. Yet I'd put good money down that within the next month or so, someone will come to me and ask about kids performing at the end of semester show. These days, I don't even care about the guitar club now. It' a complete joke. I can't succeed. I won't succeed. I'm not allowed to succeed. This is standard operating procedure here.

It's the same with classroom discipline in my normal classes. The kids know I'm largely a tootheless tiger, so they do whatever the hell they want.
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Re: Child with severe behavioral issues- help!

Postby chris1234 » 02 May 2012, 12:33

Okay, so there are a lot of replies in this thread that aren't really based in current research in the fields of education, psychology, or special education. I don't want to call anyone out in specific, and it's not really possible to diagnose what's going on in this classroom, with this kid online. Likewise, a blurb in a forum isn't really enough to solve all your problems. However, I can give you a push in the right direction so you can find more information on your own.

There is a lot of research about effective/ ineffective praise. A lot of the websites with praise language post ineffective language/ conditions. Carol Dweck is a good person to start with on the subject, but there are other sources you will find/ should consider after reading some of her work.

Look up ways to systematically increase the student's frustration tolerance and ability to delay gratification. Those are the terms you should use in your search. Those concepts are a more sophisticated approach than was found in the old intrinsic/ extrinsic motivation debate.

Adults, kids, rats, and bacteria are sensitive to reinforcement systems. The people who argued against reinforcement systems did so in books that they got paid to sell and in professorships where they were paid to work. In cases where people think they don't work, the people involved are implementing them wrong, don't understand the process, and/ or aren't collecting/ looking at the data right.

Reinforcement systems are more than just providing candy. In many cases where teachers are seeing behavior problems, there may be multiple reinforcement systems that reinforce competing behaviors. For example, they may offer a candy to people who raise their hand consistently, but acknowledge the calling out of answers. In the case where kids call out in that sytem, attention> candy, but the teacher may be completely confused about why the kids are calling out.

Consistency and format in providing directions and in providing reinforcement is key. In the teachers I've trained, these are usually the biggest issues for improving students behavior. When students are misbehaving, I can always find issues in these areas and help improve practice that produces measureable changes in students' behaviors. It's hard to see on your own, but you could role play from the kids' perspectives. In the order that you are saying/ doing things, could you complete the intended directions? Or put another way, how well do the intended/ actual directions match up? What are all the ways kids are getting reinforced? Are there kids who are not getting reinforced? Are kids getting reinforced for misbehaving?

Look up the words antecedent- behavior- consequence, and see what you can figure out about each specific behavior. Don't lump 3 behaviors together. Also, only think of consequences as what happens immediately after the behavior. If a student acts up and immediately gets put out in the hallway, the student is acting up in order to get put out in the hallway. In that case, the rules around putting the kid out in the hallway is encouraging the student to misbehave.

If this is an issue, somebody should hire me to train up teachers on classroom management/ discipline. I've done it in the States with classes full of students who are violent (e.g. arsonists, rapists) and have histories of abuse. I'm looking for my ticket to Taiwan, and training people/ solving problems in classes with kids like this is something I've done a lot of over the years.

Anyway, I hope this post helps some.
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Re: Child with severe behavioral issues- help!

Postby Chris » 02 May 2012, 12:57

finley wrote:The first second he starts acting up, sling him out the door. Ignore everything he does out there; he's not in your classroom, ergo not your problem.

Depending on the management philosophy of the school, you could get in trouble for doing that.

Years ago, when I taught kindy, I had a similarly disruptive kid in my class. His behavioral problems were based on the fact that he was so much more intelligent and advanced in English than the other kids, so he was bored silly and acted out. (He really should have been in the advanced class, but his parents, and thus the management, insisted that he be in this class which was doing him no good.)

There was one time he became so disruptive that I threatened to throw him out. He kept up with his behavior so I had no choice but to toss him into the corridor. I got in trouble because of my "unprofessionalism". Fortunately the co-teacher (who was otherwise useless, as it was really her job to keep discipline, but she spent most of the class sessions asleep) came to my defense in this. Nevertheless, no remedies were made; the kids' parents were never informed of his behavior, he was never transferred to a more suitable class. I ended up doing things like giving him more advanced reading assignments, which made him feel superior to the other kids but kept him busy.
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Re: Child with severe behavioral issues- help!

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 02 May 2012, 13:02

That's the bottom line.

Actually, the bottom line is that you're often damned if you do, damned if you don't. If you discipline a kid, you get in trouble. If you don't discipline a kid, you get in trouble. It's very stressful. Working at Hess was like that for me.
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Re: Child with severe behavioral issues- help!

Postby finley » 02 May 2012, 13:05

Chris: fair enough ... and chris1234 makes a good point about kids who actually WANT to spend the entire lesson in the corridor. You should also make sure that he is not using his behaviour to condition YOU - that is, acting up in certain ways to trigger responses from the teacher, just for the fun of it. In those cases, you just need to find some alternative that he finds distasteful and would want to avoid. If no such thing is available to you due to school policies, then shaping his behaviour is essentially impossible. There's nothing you can do except (as you suggest) just keep him busy, or leave the school.

As a last resort I suppose you could also try calling child welfare services, but bear in mind that this could cause some ... blowback.
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Re: Child with severe behavioral issues- help!

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 02 May 2012, 13:18

There was one punishment that they used to do at a school I worked at that I thought was really good (and it was probably the only good thing they did at that school). In Australia, schools generally aren't split into senior and junior high schools. So, if a kid was being a problem, the next lesson, his teacher would find someone who had a class at the same time. Ideally, he'd find a class with the greatest age difference to his own. He would then ask if his student could join that class (and do some work provided for him). If it were an older kid being sent to a younger class, the embarrassment would be horrendous and he wouldn't act up in that class because he wouldn't want to be reprimanded by that teacher in front of the little kids. If it were a younger kid being sent to an older class (particularly those in their final year of school), the little kid wouldn't dare step out of line because the older students would eat him alive for disrupting their class. The teacher wouldn't even have to say anything. Generally speaking, the kid who had been sent to another class was extremely eager to rejoin his own class that he'd pull his head in.
And you coming in to scold us all like some kind of sour-puss kindie assistant who favors olive cardigans and lemon drinks without sugar. -- Muzha Man

One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words "Socialism" and "Communism" draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, "Nature Cure" quack, pacifist, and feminist in England. -- George Orwell

This post was recommended by finley (02 May 2012, 13:24)
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