Case Studies in Classroom Management

Chapter 5 Case 1: Kristina Will Not Work

Kristina, a student in Mr. Jake’s class, is quite docile. She socializes little with other students and never disrupts lessons. However, despite Mr. Jake’s best efforts, Kristina will not do her work. She rarely completes an assignment. She is simply there, putting forth no effort at all. What would Ronald Morrish suggest to help Kristina and Mr. Jake?

Morrish would have Mr. Jake remind Kristina of the class rule about everyone doing their best to learn. He would insist that Kristina begin her work and follow through. Mr. Jake might need to stand beside her to help her get started. He would not punish her, but would continue to press her to comply with the assignment. He might ask questions such as, “Do you know what you are supposed to do in this activity?” “Do you understand why it needs to be done?” “Can I count on you to do your part?” As Kristina improves, Mr. Jake might make comments to her such as, “You made a good effort today. I can see you are trying. Thank you for that.” If more intervention was required, Morrish would consider assigning Kristina to the school’s study hall or keeping her in the classroom for additional time (a productive extension of her day, rather than a punitive detention). He might also have her create a daily plan for accomplishing her schoolwork, involve her parents in the process, or assign an older student to mentor her.

Chapter 6

Case 1: Kristina Will Not Work

Kristina, a student in Mr. Jake’s class, is quite docile. She socializes little with other students and never disrupts lessons. However, despite Mr. Jake’s best efforts, Kristina will not do her work. She rarely completes an assignment. She is simply there, putting forth no effort at all. What would Harry and Rosemary Wong suggest to help Kristina and Mr. Jake?

The Wongs would advise Mr. Jake to carefully teach Kristina the procedures associated with completing assignments and other work activities. He should ask her to show him that she understands the procedures. He might consider having Kristina work with a support buddy with whom she feels comfortable. He would supply positive consequences for all improvements Kristina shows. If Kristina does not improve, Mr. Jake should talk further with her privately, and in a positive, supportive tone reiterate that he cares about her, wants her to succeed, will let nothing interfere with her progress if he can help it, and will help correct anything that might be standing in the way of her completing her work. If Kristina still doesn’t improve, Mr. Jake should seek help from school personnel who are trained to assess Kristina and help provide conditions that improve her likelihood of success.

Chapter 7 Case 1: Kristina Will Not Work

Kristina, a student in Mr. Jake’s class, is quite docile. She socializes little with other students and never disrupts lessons. However, despite Mr. Jake’s best efforts, Kristina will not do her work. She rarely completes an assignment. She is simply there, putting forth no effort at all. What would Fred Jones suggest to help Kristina and Mr Jake?

Jones would probably suggest that Mr. Jake take the following steps to improve Kristina’s behavior.

  1. Make frequent eye contact with her. Even when she looks down, Mr. Jake should make sure to look directly at her. She will be aware of it, and it may be enough to encourage her to begin work.
  2. Move close to Kristina. Stand beside her while presenting the lesson.
  3. Give Kristina frequent help during seat work. Check on her progress several times during the lesson. Give specific suggestions and then move quickly on.
  4. Increase the amount of Say, See, Do teaching with Kristina so she has less information to deal with and is called on to respond frequently.
  5. Set up a personal incentive system with Kristina, such as doing a certain amount of work to earn an activity she especially enjoys.
  6. Set up a system in which Kristina can earn rewards for the entire class. This brings attention and support from her peers.

Chapter 8 Case 1: Kristina Will Not Work

Kristina, a student in Mr. Jake’s class, is quite docile. She socializes little with other students and never disrupts lessons. However, despite Mr. Jake’s best efforts, Kristina will not do her work. She rarely completes an assignment. She is simply there, putting forth no effort at all. What would William Glasser suggest to help Kristina and Mr. Jake?

Glasser would first suggest that Mr. Jake think carefully about the classroom and the program to try to determine whether they contain obstacles to Kristina’s meeting her basic needs. He would then have Mr. Jake discuss the matter with Kristina, not blaming her but noting the problem of nonproductivity and asking what the problem is and what he might be able to do to help. In that discussion, Mr. Jake might ask Kristina questions such as the following:

  • You have a problem with this work, don’t you? I believe it is important and will help you in the future. But only you can decide whether or not to do it. Is there anything I can do to help you get started?
  • Is there anything I could do to make the work more interesting for you?
  • Is there anything in this class that you especially enjoy doing? Do you think that, for a while, you might like to do only those things?
  • Is there anything we have discussed in class that you would like to learn very, very well? How could I help you do that?
  • What could I do differently that would help you want to learn?

Glasser would not want Mr. Jake to use a disapproving tone of voice with Kristina, but every day make a point of talking with her in a friendly and courteous way about nonschool matters such as trips, pets, and movies. He would do this casually, showing he is interested in her and willing to be her friend. Glasser would remind Mr. Jake that there is no magic formula for success with all students. Mr. Jake can only encourage and support Kristina. Scolding and coercion are likely to make matters worse, but as Mr. Jake befriends Kristina she is likely to begin to do more work of better quality.

Chapter 9 Case 1: Kristina Will Not Work

Kristina, a student in Mr. Jake’s class, is quite docile. She socializes little with other students and never disrupts lessons. However, despite Mr. Jake’s best efforts, Kristina will not do her work. She rarely completes an assignment. She is simply there, putting forth no effort at all. What would Spencer Kagan suggest to help Kristina and Mr. Jake?

Kagan would advise Mr. Jake to do the following: Mr. Jake would identify Kristina’s problematic behavior and ask behavior-specific questions. He also would identify and help Kristina acknowledge her position. Mr. Jake might ask Kristina how she feels about the work, determining if it is too difficult for her (leading to avoidance of failure), or not interesting (leading to boredom). If the work is too difficult for Kristina, and her position is avoiding, or if she doesn’t know how to do the work, he might say quietly, “I really want to help you be successful, Kristina. I see this work is not getting finished. None of us wants to tackle something we know will be too hard for us. The best thing to do if something is too hard is to break it into smaller pieces, mastering a part at a time. Another good strategy is to work on the difficult pieces with someone else. What suggestions do you have that will help you be successful?” Together they come up with possible solutions and then, if they agree that Kristina could benefit by working with a partner on smaller pieces, Mr. Jake may ask, “Would you like to work on this section with Danielle before moving on?” Throughout the interaction, Mr. Jake is attempting to help Kristina find a nondisruptive way to meet her needs. But more importantly, Mr. Jake is helping Kristina internalize a process of validating her own needs and seeking responsible rather than disruptive ways to fulfill them. As follow-up, Mr. Jake might focus on her success by saying something like “Kristina, I knew you could do this if we tried making the pieces smaller.” His long-term solutions will include further encouragement and individual attention to Kristina’s strengths.

Chapter 10 Case 1: Kristina Will Not Work

Kristina, a student in Mr. Jake’s class, is quite docile. She socializes little with other students and never disrupts lessons. However, despite Mr. Jake’s best efforts, Kristina will not do her work. She rarely completes an assignment. She is simply there, putting forth no effort at all. What would Marvin Marshall suggest to help Kristina and Mr. Jake?

Marshall would classify this as a learning challenge, not as a behavior problem. He would tell Mr. Jake not to attempt to force Kristina to learn. Mr. Jake could not force her even if he wanted to: To learn or not to learn is Kristina’s choice. Mr. Jake has seen that Kristina is capable of learning and would reassure her of this fact. If she chooses to put forward the effort to learn, she will feel more competent, enjoy herself more, and be happier. But this is her choice. Accordingly, Mr. Jake would attempt to establish a positive relationship by sharing with her his belief in her competency. He would then find out what Kristina likes to do and weave into the assignments some activities that would capitalize on her interests. He would continually check with her to see how she is doing and, thereby, communicate his interest in her. He would suggest that what she chooses to do or not do affects her more than anyone else and that she will not gain any satisfaction if no effort is put forth.

Marshall also would encourage Mr. Jake to employ the hierarchy of social development as follows:

  1. Ask Kristina to identify the level of her behavior.
  2. Ask her how a responsible person would behave in this circumstance.
  3. Positively reiterate the belief that Kristina is capable.
  4. Provide Kristina with a few guided choices.
  5. Ask her to self-reflect on her subsequent behavior and future decisions.

Chapter 11 Case 1: Kristina Will Not Work

Kristina, a student in Mr. Jake’s class, is quite docile. She socializes little with other students and never disrupts lessons. However, despite Mr. Jake’s best efforts, Kristina will not do her work. She rarely completes an assignment. She is simply there, putting forth no effort at all. How would Craig Seganti deal with Kristina?

Mr. Seganti provided the following commentary: Kristina is required by the rules to be on task at all times. Therefore she will be assigned a 15-minute detention if she does not stay on task. At the detention I will try to determine the root of the problem: It is almost always that the work is too challenging, so in this case I might help her with the work after school a bit and/or contact her parents to see if they can help her at home.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s