Saturday, November 20, 2010

Positive Behavior Facilitation

I've been gone for way too long!! I honestly have not had the energy to post anything. So many amazing, insane, unbelievable things have happened since my last post. Of course, when I actually sit down to write, all of those events escape my memory!!

A while back, I posted that I was talking a course to be certified in Positive Behavior Facilitation (PBF). This 6-week course was absolutely life changing-for my life both in the classroom and outside of it. The focus of PBF is that we cannot not make anyone change their behaviors, nor can we change it for them. PBF suggests that if we focus on becoming more self-aware about our own beliefs, triggers, and ways of dealing with conflict, we will model and encourage the positive behavior and choices we so desperately want to see in our students.

By looking inward and reflecting on my beliefs, thoughts, and feelings when I interact with others, I was able to realize the contributions I make to situations of conflict. It is so easy to say "Bobby really made me mad!" or "Susie,you are so disrespectful" in the heat of conflict. However, with self-awareness comes the realization that no one can make you mad, but instead something they did triggered something on the inside and made you react that way. PBF would suggest also that in the case of 'Susie', using 'You-messages' (instead of 'I-statements')backs the students against a wall and makes her defensive and more unwilling to resolve the conflict.

The PBF training was incredibly rich and has changed the nature of many of my interactions with my students, especially with my more challenging personalities. By thinking more about what I am bringing to the situation (feelings, beliefs, baggage, etc.) I am better able to set the tone for the interaction rather than reacting to the tone set by the student.

Here is one of the pieces of 'brain food' from PBF that I believe resonates profoundly in my classroom:

-We cannot expect more of our students than we expect of ourselves. We must act the way we expect our students to behave. If we want to work effectively with difficult students, we must be willing to change ourselves. Although we rarely appreciate our most difficult students because of the time they take and the frustration they cause, their presence can lead to growth if we learn from the obstacles they throw in our way.
**Allen Mendler and Richard Curwin (1999)**