By Dr. Will Henson
In this post I want to talk about two very common staff behaviors – prompting and confronting – and how you can use them.
Prompting is probably the most commonly used intervention. We do it all the time and it is simply reminding someone to engage in a desired behavior. To make it most effective, prompt what you want (“I’d really like to see you arrive by 8:00am.”) not what you don’t want (“Don’t be late to class!”). You can also prompt an alternative behavior (“Instead of ripping up our assignment when you are angry, maybe you could ask for a break.”) You can make your prompts even more effective by predicting a positive outcome (“I’ll bet if you were on time to class, you would notice it was easier to get started on your assignment.”).
Confronting is when you point out to a student they are engaging in an undesirable behavior. It is not intended to be criticism or a challenge (those are not very effective and tend to make students defensive). You can confront with a question (“I wonder if you could show me the right way to line up.”) or an “I statement” (“When I get screamed at, it’s hard for me to really understand what you want.”) or directly (“We don’t use that type of language in this classroom.”).
Go try it and let us know how it goes!