Questions About Behavior and Discipline

Here are a few of the most common questions I receive from teachers regarding behavior and discipline. Some of them may resonate with you. Question 1: I generally have few major behavior problems because I set high expectations and I keep students busy, but I do have problems with talking. Is talking a Level B […]

The Art of Persuasion

Benjamin Franklin understood that the art of persuasion is to induce the person to influence himself. He knew that persuading others to his point of view took patience and endurance. He assumed that people are often won over slowly, often indirectly. He believed that if you don’t win the bargain today, go after it again […]

Do Teens Need Discipline?

I often come across articles about how an incompletely developed brain accounts for the emotional problems and irresponsible behavior of teenagers. It is true that teenagers, by virtue of their hormonal changes, are prone to be emotionally volatile, unpredictable, self-absorbed, and hypersensitive. However, the IMMATURE BRAIN that supposedly causes teen problems is nothing less than […]

Are You Creating Negativity?

It’s so easy to embrace the negative. In my seminars I pose the following situation: Suppose your supervisor asks you to stop by the office before leaving for the day. I then ask people to respond by a raise of hands as to how many immediately engage in negative self-talk, e.g., “What did I do […]

Encourage a Love of Learning

Little children come to school in kindergarten filled with curiosity. They are endlessly asking “Why?” questions in an attempt to find meaning and make connections. Somewhere around grade four they stop asking, “Why?” and begin to ask, “Will we have this on the test?” These two questions indicate the change in learning more than any […]

Dealing with Negativity

What do you do when you have a negative experience? Imagine the brain as a large ship. If a leak occurs in the floating vessel, it immediately compartmentalizes the area of the leak to prevent the leak from sinking the entire ship. This is necessary because it may take some time before the ship returns […]

Emotions and Learning

Logic prompts people to think. Emotions prompt people to act. This fact applies to learning, also. If you want people to remember what you teach, touch an emotional chord by painting a picture or by telling a story. There is a greater chance of the learning staying in long-term memory using these approaches than when […]

Smiles Prompt Good Feelings

Studies suggest that smiling makes people appear more attractive, kinder, and by some accounts, easier to remember. All smiles share something in common: an emotional foundation. Depending upon what the emotion is, the brain sends different instructions to the face. The areas in instigating a polite or voluntary smile (the kind exchanged with a bank […]

Stress and Learned Helplessness

We know that when stress overcomes us, choices seem limited, thereby decreasing effectiveness. Behavioral scientists have a name for this psychological reaction: learned helplessness. This phenomenon has been studied in laboratory rodents whose nervous system bears striking similarities to that of humans. Here is how one experiment works. If you provide mice with an escape […]

Choice Redirects Behavior

Here is an example of how choice can be used to redirect an impulse toward more responsible behavior—even with a very young child. It is part of a communication from a friend. “I marvel at what my grandson understands and how he manages to communicate. The other night his parents went to dinner, and he […]

What are Your Facial Expressions Saying?

You will notice that when you smile at someone, the “imitation response” that neuroscientists have discovered prompts a natural tendency for the other person to smile back. This phenomenon indicates that the face is an enormously rich source of information about emotion. In fact, your face is not just a signal of what is going […]