“Kids do well if they can” Dr. Stuart Ablon

by Jo Lein, Executive Director of Teaching and Leading Initiative of Oklahoma

Years ago, I coached in a first-grade classroom with Ms. Janie Harvey. As with many first-year teachers, she struggled with classroom management. Transitions were challenging. Centers were a nightmare. She blamed much of the challenges on a single student, Deon. It was true. Deon had his struggles. He would hit other kids. He would yell and even run out of the classroom. Soon, Ms. Harvey decided that Deon needed to attend an alternative school for elementary-aged kids. The graduation rate was 0%. You read that right. 0% So, this first-year teacher made a life decision for a six-year-old.

Dr. Stuart Ablon, in his TED talk, discusses children with chronic behavioral challenges. His thesis is “kids do well if they can.” In essence, he asserts that students with behavioral challenges basically have a learning disability. But instead of things like reading and math, students with behavioral challenges have challenges with frustration tolerance and problem-solving.

Classroom Management Workshop.

Join us to learn effective strategies for managing your classroom while being relevant, having rigor, and building meaningful relationships. Learn from veteran teachers, instructional coaches, and professional development leaders that know what it’s like to teach in today’s classroom. Dig deeper during our interactive breakout sessions specifically for SPED, Elementary, Middle, and High School teachers.

So we decided to put Deon on a behavior management plan focused on helping him deal with frustrations. He was taught explicitly how to address his frustrations. Within a week, he played nicely at centers, managed transitions effectively, and used his hand signals when he was on the brink.

Fast forward… I was touring a school and walked into a fifth-grade classroom. I immediately recognized a much bigger Deon. I quietly walked over to his teacher and asked how he does in class. “He’s a model student. If I could have more Deons, I would,” the teacher replied. Learning frustration tolerance in first grade saved his life (PS. He is currently in the top high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma as a freshman).

For more information about effective classroom management strategies for new teachers, please visit our Classroom Management Workshop page. We’d love to have you attend our one-day workshop! 

Jo Lein

Executive Director, Teaching & Leading Initiative of Oklahoma

Dr. Jo Lein is the founder of the Teaching and Leading Initiative of Oklahoma, a nonprofit organization that brings instructional coaching to under-resourced districts and trains existing leaders in areas of instructional leadership. She is also currently an adjunct professor at York College (Nebraska) and Johns Hopkins University and a commissioner at Oklahoma’s Office of Educational Quality and Accountability.

Would you like Jo to come to your school as a Professional Development Speaker? Reach out today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *