February 13

Chapter Six- Teacher Skills

Section one- Act Without Words

Often times we find that our students simply go through the motions when we are talking to them but, in fact, they are not actually hearing a word you are saying to them. In times like these, non-verbal cues will be much more effective. A hand on the shoulder, different hand signals for cues, clapping of hands, etc will get the attention and involvement of the child more effectively. Be sure that the hand signals are agreed upon and known by the students before using them.

Section Two- Do the Unexpected

Using humour, whispering instead of yelling, are very effective ways to knock down a sticky situation. This quick distraction is often enough to set the child’s mind back into the thinking brain and allow a conversation about what was going on in that moment. Knowing what the mistaken goal might be will help adults decide whether this technique will work.

Section Three- Limited Choices

Directing children may end up with rebellion on the part of the child, so it may be necessary to offer the child  some choice. Although the task may not be negotiable, how it is done, where it is done and possibly even when it can be done may be possibilities that are given to the child. Giving these choices helps to build a child’s self-reliance, self-regulation, problem solving skills, etc. If the child does not like the options and gives an acceptable alternative, let them have it. If not, repeat their choices. It is possible that this strategy does not work in all situations with all types of students. It will be important to know and have a connection with the student before using this strategy.

Section Four- Logical Consequences

Have faith in your students- have faith that they will learn from their mistakes. In order to do this, we need to stop “I told you so” lectures, punishments and even rescuing. We also need to allow our students to make mistakes. But then we need to have faith. Validating their feelings, and asking if they need our support to determine the consequences for their mistakes are both important for the child to make thier choices. This format allows the students to learn from their mistakes, rather than the imposed punishments that make them feel shame and embarassment. Using the 3 Rs (Related, Respectful, Reasonable) and an H (Helpful) criteria, you can be assured that the consequence is appropriate and allows the student to assume responsibility for their actions.

Section Five-Have Faith

As said above, it is important to have faith in our students. We need to them to know that they can learn from their struggles, which helps them to build resillience. Do not resccue, fix or control the students, have faith and patience in their problem-solving abilities and offer the appropriate guidance, validating feelings and encouraging curiosity questions.

Section Six- Same Boat

Putting students in conflict into the same boat means not looking to blame, but looking for solutions to the problem tpgether. Some of the tools to support putting kids in the same boat include, giving choice, using the wheel of choice, positive time out, clcass meeting agenda, and problem-solving brainstorming.

Section Seven- Tone of  Voice

Tone of voice- holy moly is this a difficult area for me!! I can definitely hear in my own child’s tone of voice a mirror of my own tone- if I am sarcastic or disrespectful in my own tone, I get it dished right back. When I talk with respect and kindness, I get that back as well. I know that when I am frustrated and stressed, I will often use a very harsh tone with my kids. This does absolutely nothing for improving the behaviour of my children- it usually ends up escalating the situation. It is yet another area in which I, as a parent, really needs to focus on.

Section Eight- Humor

“Humor can help shift students out of fight, flight, or freeze thinking.” (page 247)- How powerful is this! Simply doing something that a student finds funny can shift their thinking enough to get them out of the funk and will allow for them to begin using their thinking brain and opens new pathways of learning at the same time.

Section Nine- Decide What You Will Do

Including your students into the decision making process will help to minimize behaviours in the classroom, but there are times when deciding yourself on a consequence will be necessary or appropriate. At these times, it is important that you are kind AND firm, and follow through on your decision.

Section Ten- Don’t Back-Talk Back

This is probably the most difficult one for me! I am queen of back-talking back to my kids, which only leads to further disrespectful talk back from my boys. I really like the suggestions on page 257. I might need to write them on a sticky note and tote them around with me when I am at home! Searching for the hidden message behind the back-talk will be really important for me too- how are they feeling in the moment? Is there a need to recognition for all that they do to help out in the house? Are they feeling a need for connection and belonging? Take a breath Mom! Think about what is going on for me and help me through it! This will be my goal for the rest of the month of February. Don’t Back-Talk Back!

Section 11- Control Your Own Behaviour

Forgiveness of mistakes is often given more easily by students. When we behave in a way we are not proud of, it is important to apologize to our kids. This shows that we make mistakes too and that we can improve when we put our minds to it! We are often very critical of ourselves but we need to remember to take the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and to forgive ourselves, too. Reflecting on and reviewing the four Rs of Recovery and the Mistakes as Opportunities for Learning will help us to continually improve our own behaviours when we are in the moment. Learn with your students. There is no better way for them to learn than when we learn together!

Section 12- Teachers Helping Teachers

When teachers do not feel supported or have a colleague to help figure out what is going on in different tricky situations, this fourteen-step process would be a very handy tool to support them. From the looks of it though, it might take some time to build relationships close enough that they feel safe to share their own feelings to the group. Practicing with some safe colleagues first might help this process. I am very thankful that, at my school, we are a very close-knit staff who are really supportive of each other. We have problem solving sessions in the staffroom at lunch and recess and after school in our little groups. Our school is small enough that many of us know the majority of the kids very well and can support those teachers that are new or unsure of what to do.

Section 13- Self-Care

More and more we hear about how important self-care is. As teachers, with such busy schedules, it is even more important to take some time to think about ourselves and our health. Some great ideas for self-care include going for walks, having bubble baths, time with friends, time with a partner/spouse, reading a book for pleasure, exercising, doing hobbies, are just a few options. Doing things that make you feel good will help with your overall stress levels and health. Making a plan and sharing it with a friend will help you keep on your path. Enjoy yourself! You are worth it!


Are there any areas in which you feel you might require some extra support?

Do you have an area in which you feel you are rockin’ it?

Any advice for those of us who are struggling in the different areas?



Thank you all for participating in this book study! I really appreciate all of the conversation and support! I hope you are able to join us for Crosscurrents this year! As always, if you have any suggestions for reading material that would be beneficial for other teachers, please pass along the titles for us to check out!

Happy Teaching!

Sarah Brooks

January 8

Chapter 5- Conflict Resolution

This chapter, like the others, is split up into 6 sections. Each section has given a description and an example of different conflict resolution techniques.

The first section is on Agreements and Follow-Through. Executive decisions is typically how teachers, and parents, seem to roll, but without involvement from the other party, you will often fall into a rebellious situation. With involvement comes an increase in committment and acceptance by the other party. Having a brainstorming session with the student(s) about some possible solutions to the difficult situations and then reminding students about the agreement made will support them to follow through. When this does not work, it is important to follow through with the original agreement and revisit it with the group once again to come up with an appropriate agreement once again.

Understanding the Brain is a very piece for everyone to learn. Dr. Daniel Siegel’s description of the brain helps give an excellent visual for everyone to learn. It helps us to make the connection between limbic centre and the prefrontal cortex of the brains. It gives an excellent visual of what happens when you “flip your lid”, not allowing your prefrontal cortex and limbic centre to communicate with each other anymore.  This knowledge helps to pave the way for the use of the other strategies within this chapter. Today, January 6th, 2020, my staff had training with he EASE program where this was again reinforced. I have been learning a lot more about this recently and it makes complete sense! I know that I really need to remember this when I am beginning to “flip my lid” and/or my children are struggling as well.

The third section, Wheel of Choice and Anger Wheel of Choice, really hit home with me. It is something I would like to try at home, since disciplinary actions do not seem to work all that well (losing privileges, time-outs, etc). Again, brainstorming with the kids will give them some ownership over the different strategies/solutions. The visual, again created by the kids, gives them options in a quick and easy way (words and pictures). Having a wheel for self-regulation and one for problem solving is amazing! When I first heard about the Wheel of Choice, I was sceptical as I did not fully understand how it works, but after reading the section on it, I really want to try it out.

Positive Time-Out: Cooling Off is another strategy I would like to use. There are many times when I, personally, need the cooling off time. I look forward to using it in conjunction with the Wheel of Choice. It is important to remember that the child is not sent to Positive Time-Out, it should be a choice, and a space where they learn some self-regulation and self-control. Again, giving the child a choice between using the Wheel of Choice and a Positive Time-Out gives them a feeling of being in control, which helps them to learn self-regulation and self-control strategies as well.

In the fifth section, “I” Messages, works to help students take responsibility for their feelings. The use of “I” messages often leads to cooperation rather than rebellion or a negative, thoughtless reaction. Since the use of an “I” message allows a person to name and express a feeling, it becomes a non-judgemental statement and does not imply that the other person had anything to do with how they are feeling in this moment. Taking responsibility for one’s own feelings plays a huge role in our personal self-regulation. It is a skill that all people should learn. This is yet another strategy I need to teach and practice with my children. I look forward to seeing how it playsout with my boys, whose common lines are, “he made me do……”

The Four Steps Tool for Problem Solving discussed in the final section of this chapter, include ignoring it, talking it over respectfully, agreeing on a solution together and asking for help if you can’t work it out together. I often suggest to my oldest son to ignore different things but this is very difficult for him. I wonder how long it takes for children to learn this skill or if there are strategies to teach the ignoring skill? Is the role playing practice enough? They suggest that coupling each of these problem solving strategies with the other strategies could be supportive. Ignoring it pairs well with Positive Time Out, talking it out respectfully pairs with “I” messages, agreeing on a solution and asking for help both pair well with classroom meetings and brainstorming sessions.


I, personally, am really exctied about these conflict resolution strategies. Although I have heard of or used many of these strategies before, it has been really helpful to learn about them once again. Implementing these strategies in my own home and in my classroom should make my life, and those f my children/students a lot more pleasant in the long run. I think the place for me to begin will be using the “I” messages. I have used the positive time-out in the past, and I think that I need to teach my oldest son a bit more about this, as when I try to give myself a time-out, he feels the need to continuously talk to me.


Do you currently use any of these strategies? If so, which ones and how do you feel it works for you?

Which strategies will you try out in the near future?

January 2

Chapter 4- Classroom Management

The first section in this chapter focuses on Classroom Meetings. Classroom meeting allow for students to become problem solvers. It also helps them to learn the necessary social-emotional skills needed to navigate the world in a safe and caring environment. There are 8 essentials for holding an effective classroom meeting that are listed on page 125. During the learning of these skills, students practice their brainstorming, problem solving skills. One teacher even noticed that classroom meetings helped to build some empathy between their students.

In the second section on Class

Guidelines, teachers are encouraged to make class rules and regulations with the students. This helps to build a sense of community within the classroom and gives the students some ownership. This is something I have practiced even in my small groups. Creating a visual of “their” rules, allows me to give them quick reminders of what they chose for rules and we are able to move on within their constraints. This section also invites teachers to get the whole class involved in forming some of the daily routines in the classroom as well. Having the students discuss what steps they need to take to get ready for recess or when they come in from outside would help them to feel in control and give them some ownership of these processes. Setting up these expectations could be done within the classroom meeting.

Section three is all about Compliments. Giving compliments is not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes, students give really superficial compliments, “I like your shirt,” thinking that this will make someone feel better. It is important that the art of giving, and receiving, compliments is taught. Ensuring that we are giving a compliment, rather than praise, is also very important. “I have noticed that you are working very hard at raising your hand in class,” rather than saying, “Good job! You raised your hand!” gives the child a sense of accomplishment rather than just living up to your expectation to get the praise. On page 138, there is an activity outlined in order to show how comments can make people feel. Research shows that student behaviour improves by 80% just by letting them know what they are doing correctly, imagine how getting regular compliments could change the atmosphere of the classroom!

Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences are the subect of the fourth section of Chapter 4. Three-way conferences eliminate the fear students had about what what being said about them by their teachers and parents. They allow the student to showcase their strengths and discuss or problem solve their difficulties. Students can really add to the conversations about their work while at the same time allowing encouragement from both the parents and teacher. At my school, the primary teachers use three-way conferences for each of the three reporting periods. As a parent of a child going through this process, I learned a lot more about my child’s learning. He was able to show the work that he was proud of and we were able to discuss some of the areas in which he was struggling. Together we came up with some appropriate goals he could focus on for the next term. We left the conference feeling as though we learned something about our son, while at the same time helped to support his further development. I am sad that this process is not continued in the intermediate classes at our school, but I do look forward to having my youngest son move in to the grade 1 class next year, where we will begin this once again.

The fifth section of this chapter discusses classroom jobs. I am sure that most classrooms have classroom jobs, from handing out papers to turning off the lights when they leave the classroom. The authors suggest having the class brainstorm job possibilities, allowing students to feel ownership over these jobs. Classroom jobs teach students responsibility and give them a sense of capability and belonging to a community.

Contributing is the subject of section six. Research has shown that people are born with a desire to contribute but often children are discouraged by their parents from doing so-typically because the parents believe that the child can’t do it correctly or because they are in a hurry. When children are not required to contribute, they become entitled, expecting everything to be done for them and this will often transfer into the classroom as well. It has been shown that those who contribute more also have a greater mental health.

Avoiding Rewards is the final section in Chapter 4. Although students love rewards, and they are quick and effective, they do not encourage long-term behaviour changes. Children need to feel that they are making a difference in order for their behaviours to change. Giving rewards may work in the short term, but when the reward is no longer desireable, or no longer there, they may resort back to the original behaviours. We need to encourage children to look for the inner satisfaction of their actions, this is where the real pay-off comes from and the real behaviour-changer. Not gonna lie, I have been encouraging my son’s teacher to use a sticker-type reward system to encourage him to come inside from recess. He is really struggling with his time in Kindergarten. He tells me constantly that he hates school, that it is boring and all he wants to do is play. I think the real reason he does not like school and that he is having some behaviour challenges is due to the fact that he does not have a connection with the adults in the building. Since he went to the same building for day care, where he also had some behavioural dfficulties, the staff already had preconceived notions about my son. He is living up to these notions for them. I am hoping that these external rewards will get him through his time in Kindergarten so that he can start over when he transitions to his new school for Grade 1. I know that this is not the best solution, but I am not sure that I can change the teachers at his school 🙁


How can you implement these ideas into your classroom?

Do you already use any of the strategies in your classroom? How doe they work for you? Do you have any stories that might inspire others?

October 25

Chapter 3- Forming a Bond

Chapter 3 is all about how to form positive relationships with students in order to help support them through their difficult behavioural requirements. For some of us, this all seems like common sense, but we all need reminders, especially when it comes down to dealing with the difficult behaviours of children.

Connection Before Correction- This reminds us that weneed to help our children feel that they belong before we can begin to correct their behaviours. A high five, fist bump or hug lets a student know that they are cared for. When a child knows that you actually do care about them, they will try to rise to the occasion wanting you to feel proud of them. There was a student with whom I worked quite extensively when he was in grades 1 and 2. He would regularly lose his cool and become quite aggressive towards other children and adults in the building. I was no exception. He would regularly throw shoes or hit me with his coat and backpack. Time and time again I would remind him that I was there to help him. I would give him hugs when he was down, listen when he needed to yell about how he was feeling and sit with him during his melt-downs. We would often talk to each other when he was in a good mood about his day, his plans for the weekend, a new video game he was interested in, or whatever else he wanted to talk about. Gradually, his behaviours began to change. He is now a grade 6 student. He will still come tome for the occasional hug, or walk around the school just to talk before school or at recess when I am on supervision. His behaviours are all under his control now. He has developed appropriate strategies to help him through his frustrations and every now and then, he will look back on his days as a grade 1 and 2 student and remember just how difficult life was for him at that time. But he knows that there are people who care about him, even on his worst days, and that makes me smile.


Greetings- Everyone knows how important a greeting is to making someone feel wanted and special! This is one of my favourite things to do when I am on morning supervision. I try to greet every student I see before school begins by their name. If there is time, we will also have a brief conversation about how they are doing at that time. I am fortunate to have a wonderful memory for names and know almost every student in my school’s names. It definitely makes them feel welcome! My school begins at Grade 1- the Kindergarten students transition from a different school- and this year, I knew the names of all the boys, as I have a son a year younger than them, so have gottent to know some of them as part of his peer group, but I hardly knew any of the girls names. Every  Wednesday and Friday mornings, I would focus on learning the names of the Grade 1 girls as they got off the bus. There were 2 that I just could not seem to get right the first few times I saw them. The day I got one of their names correct I got the hugest smile and a “You remembered!” from the little girl. I knew that I had made her day, just by remembering her name.


Special Time- Even just a couple of minutes talking with or touching base with a student can mean all the difference to them. Since I am not an enrolling classroom teacher, this looks a little different for me. Making special time for my students may mean a conversation in the hallway on our way to or from their regular classroom, a quick story before we begin out work together, or a conversation in the school yeard about how their team did in hocky that weekend, or how their dance competition. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it does make a huge difference.


Validate Feelings- This is an area in which I struggle huge. Children need encouragement and to feel that they are being heard. As adults, it is our job to listen to them and empathize,  not accuse them for making us feel a certain way. When dealing with my youngest son, I find myself often trying to listen and validate their feelings but instead making them feel worse by saying that his behaviours/actions make me feel frustrated-this is not what he needs to hear, nor is it helpful. At this time, he needs to know that his feelings are valid and acknowledged and he needs someone to help him move past the difficult situation.


Listen- Ok, so apparently I also struggle with listening as well! This section makes total sense- If I want someone to listen to me, I need to listen to them as well! My oldest son often says to me “No, Mom! You aren’t listening to me!” and I know that he is right, so how can I expect him to listen to me? I need to be a much better role model of listening- this will be a good goal for me- active listening to understand, not to respond or preach! I will try to remember to let you know how I do!


Curiosity Questions: Motivational- These types of questions help us to avoid power struggles. They encourage students to think about what they could be doing instead of telling them directly. When I tell my son to get ready for bed, he always says “NO!” Maybe I should be asking him what he could do to show me he is ready for stories and bed instead- he can’t respond with the word no in this situation!


Curiosity Questions: Conversational- It seems to me that using Conversational Curiosity Questions comes in handy when working through a problem and looking for a solution or end result. I would love to try this as a type of conflict resolution between my children when they get into it at home.


I have really enjoyed how this chapter has encouraged me to reflect on my own behaviours and how they impact my relationships with my own children and my students. I can see some areas in which I feel quite strong (greetings, special time, and at times, connecting before correcting) and other areas in which I definitely need to refine my skills (Listen, Validate Feelings and Curiosity Questions).

  1. I encourage you all to reflect on yourselves in these areas. Are there areas in which you may need improvement? Are there areas in which you are “rocking it!”? What are some ways in which you might improve your ability to relate to and support your students?
  2. How do you connect with your students, letting them know that you really do care about them?
October 8

Chapter 2-Foundational Principles

Chapter 2 is broken up into multiple mini sections that form the basis for the connections required for Positive Discipline.

  1. Encouragement-The biggest take-away from this section in the difference between praise and encouragement. Praise statements lead to a fixed mindset and often times leads children to not take risks or accept challenges. Encouragement supports children on their way to a growth mindset. They learn to take risks and to challenge themselves. A child’s self-esteem improves with encouragement rather than praise. Giving encouragment allows the student to discover their strengths and give them the ability to work through the difficult times in their lives. (pg. 51)
  2. Caring-Everyone needs to feel cared for, as if they belong. It is important to ensure that the students know they are cared for.
  3. Focus on Solutions-Helping students to look for solutions for the problems they encounter will support their future growth. Looking for blame, or punishing childrenfor their actions, rather than supporting them to “make it right” and find a respectful, reasonable, helpful and related solution to the problems. It is important to validate the feelings of the child, ask them curiosity questions, talk to both students, have the children make amends and support them through the problem solving process, focusing on the solutions (pg. 63-64)
  4. Kind and Firm-Being kind AND firm is very important for the success of children. When students are met with kindness, they are much more willing to accept and follow through with the expectations and any tough situations they may encounter. It is important to make sure that you are not being permissive of inappropriate behaviours or being too firm, demanding total control. Bothof these sendthe wrong message to the children, often causing rebellion inthe end.
  5. Take Time For Training- Every situation is different and every child is unique, so it is important to ensure that every child gets the training they need to be successful. Since everyone is different, the length of time it  may take to learn the steps to navigate through the problem solving solutions will also be different. It will take time, energy and patience from the adults working with the child. Continuous practice and role-modeling will, in the end, be very worth it as the child successfully navigates the world being the best they can possibly be.
  6. Mistakes As Opportunities For Learning- As Carol Dweck points out in her growth mindset research, mistakes should be seen as opportunities to learn. Teaching kids to celebrate their mistakes as part of the learning journey will also teach them to be risk-takers and confident individuals who value the road that their learning leads them through. The belief that mistakes are shameful leads to low self-esteem anda child who struggles to put themselves out there with regard to learning something new. They often do not have the courage or resilliency to try for fear of failing.


This chapter has really been a refresher for me, in that I have learned most of this information in other books I have read. I do feel, however, that I needed the refresher. I know that I am often guilty of doing the “wrong” (for lack of a better word) thing in difficult situations with my children. I am the parent who uses the “my way or the highway” approach at times, especially when I an escalated and frustrated. I do not always take the time for training. Evenwithmy ownchildren my connection is not as strong as I would like it to be, although as a teacher, I always strive to have good connections with the students on my caseload and within my school. I am working on all these areas-I am a work in progress and can acknowledge my parenting mistakes (typically on a daily basis!). I am working through this book to help support me on a personal and professional level.


  1. In what ways do you foster a connection with your students at school?
  2. Are there any areas in which you feelyou could be better?
  3. Are there any supports/strategies that you can share with the other readers to help each other grow in these foundational beliefs of Positive Discipline?
September 22

Understand the Mistaken Goal: Misguided Power

Misguided Power occurs when a child feels that they belong only when they are in control. It causes an adult to feel challenged, threatened, angry or even defeated. In these situations, there is usually a power struggle, or an attempt at a power struggle. It is up to the adult to find a way to disengage from this scenario. The authors suggest naming it as a power struggle and recommending that everyone calm down before continuing the discussion, validating the feelings of the student or even inquiring what is going on for the student at that time. In these types of situations, a child is really requesting that they help out or get some choices. Instead of sending a child in to fight, flight or freeze, these options decrease the amount of stress a child feels thus allowing them to participate in group problem solving.


In my life, misguided power seems to rule over us all-both at home and at school. As a staff, we talk about the kids who feel that they have no control over their lives, so they act out,causing power struggles all the time. I can see how giving these students some flexibility by allowing choices could be very empowering for them, allowing them to use their energy in a positive manner- following through with a given option-and allowing them to feel safe, secure and in control.


Can you think of a time that you dealt with a  child operating under the mistaken goal of misguided power? Were you able to positively influence the situation? What did you do to move past the situation?

September 22

Understand the Mistaken Goal: Revenge

According to this section, revenge can begin at any time- it can begin at home, on the playground, etc, then taken out on anyone, including you, the teacher. The belief of the child with the mistaken goal of revenge is that they don’t feel they belong, which hurts them, so they will get even by hurting others. In these situations, it is important for the adults to validate their feelings.


It is important to note that children who are bullying others fall into this category of revenge.


Once again, connections with our students are super important. When children feel connected, wanted and loved, they are less likely to retaliate and seek revenge on others for their hurt feelings. In our school, we survey the students to ensure that they feel connected to 2 adults in the school building. If they cannot name at least 2 adults, we “target” these kids to ensure that by the end of the year, they felt a sense of belonging and connectedness with at least 2 adults. I encourage everyone to look for the kids who may not have any connections to the adults around them and try to make a connection with them.

  1. What are some ways in which you might build a bond with a student in your building?
September 22

Understand the Mistaken Goal: Assumed Inadequacy

According to Rudolf Dreikurs, no child is inadequate, but the child him/herself may feel inadequate. These children feel very discouraged and often avoid trying at all. Although these students do not often cause disruptions, they make the teachers and support staff feel quite discouraged as well, often causing a viscious cycle of discouragement on both the student and the teacher.


The authors state that the belief of the child displaying assumed inadequacy is that they give up and want to be left alone, but in actual fact, they are crying out for the adults around them to not give up on them. Showing these students a small step will help them considerably in the direction of feeling adequate.

Once again, making connections with the students will help to improve this feeling of inadequacy. A feeling of connection will help improve the child’s engagement in learning thus increasing their successes.


One of my students fell into this caegory. She struggled with school and with friendships. Her attendance at school was low and she would craft more than complete any assignments. Her and I worked on both of these areas over the past school year. By part way through the school year, my girl had made a group of friends and was coming to school more often. She learned how to use Google Read and Write and YouTube to complete research projects on topics of interest. She felt successful at school due to these two small improvements and she had her most successful year at school yet.


  1. Have you ever encountered a child with the mistaken goal of assumed inadequacy? Were you able to break through with the child? If so, how?
September 22

Understand the Mistaken Goal: Undue Attention

Attention. This is a difficult thing for teachers to understand. Are the students misbehaving or are they seeking support? That is always the difficulty we face. As we learn in this chapter, the main reason for the attention seeking behaviour is that the student wants the adult to involve them and to involve them usefully.

According to the Mistaken Goal Chart, when a child displays Undue Attention, the adult may feel annoyed, irritated, worried or guilty. They may try to coax the child into compliance  just do it for them, knowing that they can do it themselves. (page 12) Instead, a better response could include setting up and following routines, engaging the student in problem solving or even involving the student in a useful task in order to gain useful attention. (page 13)

Involving the students meaningfully gives them a feeling of belonging, which in turn increases motivation and engagement.



Do you have any students displaying the mistaken goal of undue attention? How do you deal with them? Do your strategies work? How could you change your tactics to better support your student(s)?

September 15

Chapter 1- Become a Mistaken Goal Detective

I am sure that this is not new to anyone, but it is expressed in the very first paragragh- All students have a reason for their behaviours. Whether we understand these reasons or not, there is a reason none-the-less. As educators and adults, it is our responsibility to determine what that reason could be. Now if it were just me, I would have absolutely no clue what students were saying with their behaviours! Thankfully the authors Jane Nelsen and Kelly Gfroerer were kind enough to us a “Mistaken Goal Detective Clue Form” (page 11, continued on page 16) and a “Mistaken Goal Chart” on pages 12-15 to help us determine these reasons.


When I look at a repeated incident that happened with my youngest son while he was at daycare, I can see that he fit under the misguided power. He would intensify his behaviour whenever the adults in charge got angry wih him and tried to make him dowhat they wanted. He would get into the “You can’t make me” mode and intensify his behaviours even further, including throwing materials within the room, yelling, ignoring, and even running on top of the tables. In the end, I would get a phone call to come pick him up. If only they had used some of the ideas to be proactive and empowering of my child, they may have gotten different responses from him in the first place.


It is very important to ensure that issues are dealt with at an appropriate time and inan appropriate way with the child. Making sure that he/she feels safe is essential. Talking with the student privately when they are calm is needed to maintain the dignity of the child. The authors suggest asking the child, in an age appropriate way,  if their behaviours fall under the different mistaken goal-whichever ones you feel their behaviours may fall under, then responding in a way that makes the child feel heard and understood, allowing the relationship to be repaired. It is absolutely imperative that empathy for the child is genuine-they can tell when you are being insincere. This will help build and maintain connections between the adult and child, allowing the child to feel they belong.

I will go through each of the Mistaken Goals seperately before moving on to Chapter 2.

  1. Look back on an incident you have had with a student (or even your own child) andd try to place their behaviours on the Mistaken Goal Chart. What could you have done differently?