Topics in Early Childhood Education

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Safety and Security of Consistency

I was working with one of my student teachers recently and she expressed to me her exasperation with her cooperating site teacher.  They currently have a child who is in foster care in their class.  The little first grader has learned how to manipulate situations and refuses to cooperate with classroom rules.  My student teacher is frustrated because when she follows through on classroom procedures with the girl, and she is required to receive the consequences of her actions, the site teacher pulls the girl aside and gives her candy!  Ugh!
I know that the site teacher thinks she is being supportive and comforting to this little girl.  The student teacher feels like she is forced into the "bad guy" role in the classroom.
I was explaining to both teachers that the most secure and helpful procedure they could follow is being consistent with their expectations for the little girl.  While I understand that she needs extra support because of her unfortunately situation, the best support they can give is to be consistent in their expectations and procedures.  The best security we can provide for at-risk children is to surround them with the safety net of knowing what to expect when they come into the classroom each day.  By having clear rules and guidelines, clear consequences for inappropriate behavior, plus a loving and supporting classroom atmosphere, the small child will be supported in the best possible way.  The worst thing we can do for children in a classroom, especially at-risk kids, is not provide the security of consistency.  It is unfair and scary in a world that has already treated them unfairly.



At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes i notices The best protection we can offer for at risk kids is to involve them with the protection net of understanding what to determine when they come into the educational developing each day
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At 3:51 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

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At 3:54 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

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At 11:55 AM, Blogger Josh and Sarah Robison said...

I agree that consistency is key to having a successful classroom, as well as successful children. A child will not learn anything about his or her behavior from the example provided in this post but to repeat the behavior to get more candy. I liked how in class we talked about having rules (in the classroom and the home) and consequences for those rules. Specific consequences are set to be implemented when rules are broken. In this classroom, this is obviously not happening. It is not easy to follow through with consequences, but it is necessary for the growth of the child within the classroom. Sarah R 5170

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

As a divorced mother of two young children, and someone in training to work with young children in the future, it has taken me time and experiences to understand how important it is to create predictability and to be consistent in our responses to their behavior; especially challenging behavior. It's not always easy, and I think that often times when two adults do not agree on how to respond, it is usually out of ignorance even though the intention may be good. It is when we understand how our responses affect our children (or our students)that it makes sense to be consistent, and offer them a united front. It gives them security, teaches them to trust, and lightens the their load, especially if they are already troubled. It allows them to grow, to learn and to be children. Susana H. 5170

At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Dana S said...

I agree I think consitency in a class is important. I am still working on my degree to become a teacher so it is a great help to hear how people with experience deal with these situations. My question is what if that kind of consitenty does not take well witht the student. What would be your next step?

At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Samantha M. said...

I believe that consistency in a classroom is vital for it to run smoothly! If there is more than one teacher, they should work to have the same expectations and rules for the students; one teacher shouldn't be made out to be the "bad" one. Giving the student a sense of security and purpose will probably minimize her need to cause classroom disruptions. What do you suggest are ways to let that particular student feel more "special" without singling her out?

At 8:26 PM, Blogger Aubree Miller said...

Poor little girl, and poor student teacher! What a trying time for both of them. Hopefully through your help and guidance, this student teacher will learn the needed skills to keep her classroom rules and expectations consistent. She will likely use your ideas and guidance when she has her own classroom one day. I too feel that consistency is something that children need on a daily basis. If they learn what is expected of them, day after day, it likely becomes easier for them to follow the rules and noted procedures. A child will not learn how to cooperate and follow direction by earning candy, but rather by learning that there are consequences for breaking rules. As both parents and teachers we need to teach these valuable lessons to our children, so that they can thrive in each of the settings they may be placed in throughout life. Thanks for sharing! Aubreeanne M FCS5170

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At 7:55 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

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