Can you Solve “Difficult” Behaviour – in Only 20 Minutes?

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Are there kids in your class you find are challenging to teach? 
You might want to try the “two by ten” method with them. 
 
Developed by former teacher and researcher Raymond Wlodkowski, the strategy suggests that teachers start with the student they have most difficulties with, and have a personal conversation with that child for two minutes a day, ten days in a row. (The conversation can be about anything the student is interested in, as long the topic is appropriate for school.) 

Major Improvement 

Wlodkowski reported an “eighty-five percent improvement”[1] in the behaviour of the student he [talked with. He also found that the behaviour of the class overall improved. The method gets rave reviews from teachers and educational experts[2] . The study was also recently replicated[3] with similar results. 
 
“It had a bigger impact than I would have thought,” said Nancy Markowitz, professor of Elementary Education at San José State University, who had her student teachers try the method[4].  “I knew there was research but I didn’t expect this.” Through this method, the teachers found[5] that the “worst student became an ally… when [the teacher] formed a strong personal connection.”  
 

Connections Matter 

Studies show[5] “often when [kids] act out, they are letting us know that they are seeking a positive connection with an adult authority figure and that they need that connection first, before they can or will focus on academic content.” Ben Levin, the Canada Research Chair in Education Leadership and Policy at the University of Toronto agrees[6]“Study after study has pointed to the importance of those personal connections in giving students, especially those facing real challenges, the desire to persist.” 
 
Twenty minutes spent on the “two by ten” technique may not only improve student behaviour in classrooms, it could even have positive impacts that can last a lifetime.

Wlodkowski catalogued data such as student time in and out of seat as well as the types, instances, and severity of student disruptions. 

"Data was collected in two stages, first two weeks on the number of redirects for all students, with permission, as a baseline for the class’s normal behavior.

Second, the strategy of Two-by-Ten was used for the next two weeks 
while continuing to collect the number of redirects. The analysis of the results indicated that there was a significant difference with the Two-by Ten strategy and decreasing unwanted behaviors."

SEE: Districts use creative methods to counsel students 

Martha Allen, an adjunct professor at Dominican University's Teacher Credential Program in San Rafael, California, asked her student teachers to use the Two-by-Ten Strategy with their toughest student. 

SEE: Twenty Minutes to Change a Life?

  • Secure and Calm

    Secure and calm describes the ability to take part in daily activities and approach new situations without being overwhelmed with worries, sadness or anxiety. To be secure and calm also means being able to cope with stress and pressure, and to bounce back from difficulties.
  • Gets Along with Others

    Getting along with others is the ability to form positive and healthy relationships with peers and adults. Children with better abilities to regulate their emotions and behaviours have more friends and experience more positive playtime with their peers.
  • Alert and Engaged

    Being alert and engaged is the ability to manage and direct one's own feelings, thoughts and emotions. In general, the ability to be 'present' and to exercise self-control.
  • Compassionate and Kind

    Being compassionate and kind is closely related to empathy. While empathy refers more generally to the ability to take the perspective of and to feel the emotions of another person, compassion goes one step further.
  • Solves Problems Peacefully

    Managing conflict effectively is about creating an atmosphere where violence and aggression are not likely. To resolve conflict means using empathy, problem-solving skills, understanding other points of view and coming up with ways to make things right in a fair way.