Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Nanny 911

Flipping through the channels last night I stumbled on a show called Nanny 911. I'd never seen it before but I was amazed at three things in this week's episode:

1) That the mother didn't slap the hell out of her son.

2) That Nanny didn't slap the hell of the son.

3) How much of what Nanny does is directly related to classroom management. I wished I had taped it because his week's episode had everything to do with classroom management.

A quick overview: this week's family consisted of two married parents, two boys, and a daughter. The oldest boy, Brandon, is about five. As the show started he was kicking, punching, and screaming at his mother as she tried to get him ready for school. Apparently this is routine behavior.

Anyway, here comes Nanny. She institutes a consequence (the ever-loved "time-out") and immediately imposes it on any of the children who misbehave. They resist and it looks like the "time-out" is never going to work. Pretty soon Brandon has a tantrum with Nanny, and now he's kicking and punching her. I was waiting for Nanny to lose it and slap him but, to her credit, she never did. She does, however, not let him get out of the time-out, no matter how much further the situation escalates (at a certain point it seems like it would just be easier to let him stalk off).

After the time-out is finally instituted Nanny explains to Brandon that she cares about him, but that certain behaviors carry certain consequences and it is Brandon's choice as to what behavior he wants to exhibit. She also institutes a system of rewards for good or helpful behavior. By the end of the hour (and what must have been 20 minutes of commercials) both the systems of consequence and reward have taken effect and the entire dynamic of the family has changed.

How is it applicable to classroom management? Let me count the ways:

1) You must address bad behavior. Ignoring it will not solve it.
2) You must address bad behavior every time. Addressing it intermittently will not solve it.
3) You must remain calm. As Nanny says, "The behavior is bad, the child is not."
4) Ms. Monroe, this is just for you: Rewards are as effective as consequences.
5) Kids have to know you care.
6) It is the child's choice. Everything is framed by this notion.

Nanny 911. Who knew?

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