Advice on How to Manipulate Students Labeled ODD
Looking at this causes
me too much pain to critique it right now. It is sick.
Which reminds me of
this quote by Maslow
Sick people are made by a
sick culture; healthy people are made possible by a
healthy culture. But it is just as true that sick
individuals make their culture more sick and that healthy
individuals make their culture more healthy.
Encouraging cooperation from students with
The following classroom management ideas may be helpful
for teachers who are working with students who have
1. Avoid direct positive reinforcement. Using this
technique can backfire with these students. Because they
feel compelled to do the opposite of your request,
especially in front of peers, they may retaliate with an
unwanted response (e.g., tearing up a paper you had
praised) when you praise them directly, publicly, and
2. Use indirect reinforcement. To avoid public praise but
still encourage the student for desired responses, the
following techniques may be useful:
Whisper. Brief whispered encouragement without sustained
eye contact allows a positive response. Comment on the
product rather than your feelings about it.
Leave notes. Leave a brief message in a note on students
desks, mail it to them, or hand it to them as they leave
Provide rewards. Concrete reinforcements can be used so
long as you place stickers or marks on a chart without
verbal comment. Give rewards without fanfare simply by
placing them in their desks, or give them a note that
tells them what they have earned. Avoid using response
cost, a method that involves subtracting points or taking
away rewards. This can backfire because students with
this condition may view this as proof that they are not
complying with what you want.
3. Avoid arguing. Arguing can reinforce their
oppositional position. Enforce the consequence and let it
4. Defer control. Re-label who or what is in control. For
instance, say, The clock says its time to go
rather than Its time to go.
5. Provide choices. By giving the student limited
choices, the student retains a sense of control. If the
student refuses to make a choice, you will need to make
sure the consequence is clear.
6. Anticipate problems. Prepare the student for difficult
times or activities. By saying that you know this might
be difficult, students can be placed in a double bind.
This paradoxical approach may encourage them to prove it
will not be difficult.
7. Allow students to release anger. Physical activity can
help students dispel anger in a manageable way. Sports,
working with clay, or even punching a pillow or tearing
up an old magazine can be acceptable ways to release
anger. Avoid emphasizing involvement in competitive
sports until students have adequate control of their
8. Outline consequences. Having oppositional-defiant
disorders does not excuse these students from taking
responsibility for their behaviors. Provide students with
a specific list of behaviors and consequences and enforce
9. Offer therapy or counseling. Make sure that the
therapist or counselor you recommend is familiar with the
needs of these students.
Notes: From Managing Children With Oppositional
Behavior. By D. Knowlton, 1995, Beyond Behavior,
6(3), pp. 5-10.
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