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ERIC Number: EJ902578
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-1053-4512
Preventing Student Meltdowns
Koch, Steven P.
Intervention in School and Clinic, v46 n2 p111-117 Nov 2010
Student meltdowns can be a frequent source of discouragement for teachers. Mild to moderate verbal outbursts, anger, defacing instructional materials, and withdrawal can cause the most seasoned teacher to wonder if there is a way to help students constructively deal with their frustrations without losing control. There can be situations in which a student seems to resist standard cognitive-behavioral intervention (CBI). It is important to consider the role of resistance in the teacher-student relationship. Maag (1999) described "resistance" as a reciprocal relationship between the student and teacher. The problem is not just that the student is being oppositional; it is also possible that the student views some typical CBIs as a mismatch between the function of his or her problem behavior (e.g., avoidance) and the teacher's instruction to confront the irrational belief that underlies the behavior. The result can be more avoidance or even aggressive behavior that protests the inappropriate directive. A more effective alternative can be a behavior that serves the same function as avoidance (e.g., temporary distraction) and simultaneously teaches a new skill. The ACCEPTS (Activities, Contributing, Comparison, Emotions, Pushing away, Thoughts, Sensations) Toolkit can help achieve this goal by teaching coping skills. The needed skill might be distress tolerance, which teaches a face-saving and productive way to calm down. Rather than choosing between confronting the issue or avoidance/aggression, distress tolerance can be an effective third alternative. This alternative gives the student and teacher a menu of behaviors that can help the student manage painful feelings constructively. This approach teaches new behaviors and can serve as a stopgap measure until the student can address the issue or return to the class activity. Dialectical behavior therapy is a therapeutic intervention that has shown promise in clinical and residential settings with adolescents. It adds an acceptance or distress tolerance component to standard CBI tools that may decrease anger and classroom avoidance behaviors. The ACCEPTS Toolkit represents a powerful addition to the teacher's resources. The teacher can introduce these tools without purchasing a curriculum or extra materials. Often, the classroom contains all the supplies needed to set up the training program. The interventions can provide coping skills to help students handle life's difficulties without meltdowns and get the student and teacher back on the same track. (Contains 1 table and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A