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Collaborative & Proactive Solutions #2 with Dr. Ross Greene


Collaborative & Proactive Solutions

1. Change Your Lens

The journey starts with a close look at your beliefs about why a child is exhibiting challenging behavior. If some of the common cliches — attention-seeking, manipulative, coercive, unmotivated, limit-testing — have been coloring your view, you’re going to need some different lenses. And if you’ve been thinking that passive, permissive, inconsistent, non-contingent parenting is to blame, you’ll need to do some rethinking there too. Thanks to an enormous amount of research that’s been conducted over the past 50 years, we’ve learned a lot about behaviorally challenging kids. We’ve learned that what we’ve been saying about them (and doing to them) has often been counterproductive and ineffective.  So, in this section, you’ll be asked to try on some new lenses — progressive lenses — so that you have a more accurate, compassionate understanding of challenging behavior and have a solid foundation for what comes next.

In the first video clip, you’ll learn the single most important theme of Dr. Greene’s model: Kids do well if they can. In other words, if a student could do well, he would do well…if the student had the skills to exhibit adaptive behavior, he wouldn’t be exhibiting challenging behavior. That’s because doing well is always preferable to not doing well. Watch Now

In the second video segment, you’ll learn about another very important theme:  Your explanation guides your intervention.  Restated, your explanation for a kid’s is challenging behavior has major implications for how you’ll try to help. If you believe a kid is challenging because of lagging skills and unsolved problems, then rewarding and punishing may not be the ideal approach. Solving those problems and teaching those skills would make perfect sense. Watch Now

The third video clip features yet another important theme: The definition of good parenting, good teaching, and good treatment is being responsive to the hand you’ve been dealt. Notice, the definition isn’t “treating every kid exactly the same”. Watch Now

In the fourth video segment, you’ll learn that challenging behavior occurs when the demands of the environment exceed a kid’s capacity to respond adaptively. In other words, it takes two to tango. But many popular explanations for challenging behavior place blame on the kid or his parents. Not this model. Watch Now

Want more info on the basics of Dr. Greene’s model? That won’t be a problem. There are lots of programs in the Listening Library to take you further, including the first two in this section. Need more info on how to organize the effort in your building? We tried to identify just a few programs on this topic, but it’s a big topic…so we’re linking you to an entire section in the Listening Library.

Ready to move on to the next step? OK…

2. Identify Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems

Your journey continues with the hard work of identifying the skills that a behaviorally challenging student is lacking and the specific expectations a child is having difficulty meeting (these are called unsolved problems) in association with those lagging skills. Fortunately, the new version of the Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems (ALSUP2020) will help you do it. Once you’ve identified a student’s lagging skills and unsolved problems, challenging episodes become predictable, and that sets the stage for intervention to be proactive. You’re going to learn that identifying lagging skills is the easy part…and that the wording of unsolved problems is the hard part. You’ll also need to do some prioritizing, because there are going to be a lot of unsolved problems and you can’t solve them all at once.

In this video, you can learn how to use the ALSUP2020 (see transcription here). And the new ALSUP Guide should help you out, too. Coming soon: video of an actual ALSUP meeting.

When you’re ready to move on, Step Three is next…

3. Solve Problems

If you don’t know this already, there are three ways to handle a problem with a behaviorally challenging student:  Plan A, which is where you’re solving the problem unilaterally; Plan B, which is where you’re solving the problem collaboratively and proactively; and Plan C, which is where you’re setting an unsolved problem aside for now (not because you’re giving in, but because you’re not going to be able to work on all the unsolved problems at once). You’ll also learn that, when it comes to solving problems, Plan B is definitely preferable. Plan B consists of three steps, and you’ll be learning about that in this section, too. Included in this Step are lots of demonstration videos to show you how it’s done.

In the first video clip, you’ll learn all about Plans A, B, and C. Watch Now

In this second video segment, you’ll learn about the three steps of Plan B. Watch Now

In the third clip, you’ll see Plan B in its simplest form.  If only it was always this straightforward! Watch Now

Video segment number four shows you a very important (and probably the most difficult) component of the Empathy Step: Drilling for Information. Watch Now

In this fifth video clip, you’ll see some of the common mistakes people make when they’re using Plan B. Watch Now

In this video, you can watch Dr. Greene demonstrating the use of Plan B with a 10-year old boy and his parents. No, the discussion doesn’t take place in a school, but it’s still a great example of what the process looks like.

New! If you were thinking that Plan B should be used only to solve problems with individual students, think again! Here’s an example of Plan B being used to solve a problem affecting an entire class (with thanks to the students and staff at Central Middle School in the Greater Victoria (British Columbia) School District.

Now, we’re pretty sure you’re going to want more info on this topic, and there’s lots to choose from. These first options come from the Listening Library, where there’s a program that provides an overview of the Empathy step of Plan B, another that provides a nice overview of the Invitation step, yet another to help you troubleshoot problems that can arise when you’re using Plan B, and yet another another that deals with the issue of students who don’t talk during the Empathy step. Finally, there are four great videos you can watch to hear from staff who have implemented the CPS model in their schools (as part of a project funded by the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group):

Conners-Emerson School, Bar Harbor, Maine (Watch Now)
Central School, South Berwick, Maine (Watch Now)
Durham Community School, Durham, Maine (Watch Now)
Morse Street School, Freeport, Maine (Watch Now)

Other Resources