Billy is a 6th grade student in Mr. Johnson’s resource reading class at Fairview Middle School. Fairview Middle is located in a low socioeconomic area where education is not necessarily a top priority for many of the citizens within the county. Billy struggles to stay on task and recently he has become the class clown. Billy was an excellent student during the first few weeks of school. He stayed on task and obeyed his teachers. Around the 6th or 7th week, Billy began to act out because of the attention he was receiving from other students. Mr. Johnson spoke with Billy’s general education teachers and all of them said that they were not having any problems out of Billy. After speaking with his resource teachers, it became obvious that Billy was acting out in his resource classes but not his regular classes. Based on encounters with Billy’s family, Mr. Johnson knew that his home life was probably somewhat difficult. Billy was not receiving the attention he needed at home and because of this he craved the attention he received from his peers at school. He would say inappropriate things just to make the other students laugh. Despite the teacher advising Billy that this kind of behavior would not be tolerated, Billy continued to act out because of the attention he received. The following paragraphs will outline the steps that could be taken to help remedy this situation. These steps are based on the nondirective model of teaching. This model is included in the Personal Family of Models (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2009).
Phase One: Defining the Helping Situation
In phase one Mr. Johnson wants to sit down with Billy and encourage him to express his feelings freely. Along with this Mr. Johnson also needs to set guidelines for what needs to be accomplished during this initial interview. One of the key accomplishments of the first interview will hinge on generating an initial problem statement (Joyce et al., 2009). The conversation may appear like this.
Mr. Johnson: Billy, could I speak with you for just a moment?
Billy: Sure, but I have to catch the bus in 5 minutes.
Mr. Johnson: How are your classes going this year?
Billy: I am doing okay in most of them.
Mr. Johnson: Which ones are you doing well in?
Billy: Math and Reading.
Mr. Johnson: That is great Billy. Do you feel like you are giving it your best in each class?
Billy: I feel like I give it my best in most classes. In some classes the students like to laugh at me and that makes it hard on me.
Mr. Johnson: Are you doing anything to make them laugh?
Billy: Well, not really. Sometimes I make funny comments. I just like to make people laugh. It is fun to feel like you have a lot of friends.
Phase Two: Exploring the Problem
At this point we have stage one coming to a conclusion. The teacher has encouraged Billy to freely express his feelings and now we are entering phase two. In phase two Billy is going to be encouraged to identify the problem. In order to accomplish this, Mr. Johnson must make sure that he is encouraging Billy to express himself in a way (could be negative or positive) that will help Mr. Johnson and Billy learn more about this situation. Mr. Johnson’s key role in this phase will be to accept and clarify some of Billy’s feelings (Joyce et al., 2009).
Mr. Johnson: Do your teachers find those comments funny?
Billy: Most of the time the teachers do not like my jokes but I like it when the students laugh at my jokes. (Student defines the problem here)
Mr. Johnson: Just because the students are laughing does not mean it is funny.
Billy: I know. I probably should stop saying some of the things that I do but I might lose some of my friends. I like having friends who laugh at my jokes.
Mr. Johnson: It is okay to make people laugh Billy. I enjoy making people laugh but you want to make sure that you are not making fun of anybody or disrupting class when you make people laugh.
Phase Three: Developing Insight
Now that Billy has defined the problem in phase two and Mr. Johnson has shown Billy that he understands his position, phase three will focus on the student and teacher discussing the problem and the teacher will find a way to support the student (Joyce et al., 2009).
Billy: I guess I never looked at it that way. I just thought I was making people laugh but I am starting to see why my teachers would get mad at me sometimes.
Mr. Johnson: Did you think the teachers were picking on you when they would call you out?
Billy: I just thought that they did not like me. When some of the other students would make jokes, they would not say anything. Whenever I made a joke, they would always get on to me.
Mr. Johnson: When other students would make a joke, did it have anything to do with what was being taught or were they making fun of others?
Billy: No, most of the time it has to do with the lesson. I guess maybe that is why the teachers would not get on to them. My jokes were normally about another student. They definitely did not have anything to do with the lesson being taught.
Mr. Johnson: Billy, you are an excellent student and it is such a pleasure to have you in class. I think it is good that you are getting all of these feelings out regarding these jokes you are making.
Phase Four: Planning and Decision Making
Now that Mr. Johnson and Billy have discussed the problem and Billy knows that Mr. Johnson is supporting him, we are now ready to enter phase four. In phase four Billy will begin to craft a plan and make decisions regarding his problem behavior while Mr. Johnson will show Billy that there is no one perfect plan but a variety of plans to pursue (Joyce et al., 2009).
Billy: Mr. Johnson, I think I know what I can do to become an even better student. I am going to quit talking in class.
Mr. Johnson: Billy, you bring a lot of goods thing to our discussion. Are you sure you want to stop talking altogether?
Billy: If I stop talking I will not get in trouble anymore. I like it when people laugh but I am tired of getting in trouble.
Mr. Johnson: Billy, did you know it is possible to make people laugh without getting in trouble?
Billy: I really did not think it was possible but if other students can do it, surely I can. Instead of making jokes about other students, I will start trying to answer the questions the teachers asks and if I think of something funny to say about what is being taught, well, I might say it.
Mr. Johnson: You have come up with a good plan Billy.
Phase Five: Integration
Now that Billy has come up with an initial plan regarding his problem behavior and Mr. Johnson has shown Billy different alternatives, Billy is now ready for phase five. In phase five Billy will tell Mr. Johnson how his new behavior is working. With the support of Mr. Johnson, Billy will further delve into his new behavior to see what other actions he might be able to take (Joyce et al., 2009).
Billy: Mr. Johnson, can I talk to you for a moment?
Mr. Johnson: Sure, what’s up?
Billy: I have been doing a really good job of only making jokes about what we are talking about in class. The students do not always laugh like they used to but my teachers have been telling me I am doing a good job.
Mr. Johnson: That is great to hear.
Billy: Yeah, I am actually learning more in class and I have started to make some different friends. Even though I am getting better about not making jokes about other people, it is still kind of hard sometimes.
Mr. Johnson: Is there anything you could do to make it less difficult?
Billy: I have started to pretend like that student is making the joke about me. I have realized that if other students were saying these things about me that I would probably not like it.
Mr. Johnson: I think that is a great philosophy Billy.
Action Outside the Interview
Now that Billy has gained a deeper insight into his problem while also developing additional positive behaviors, it is now time for Billy to put all of these actions into place with little or no help from Mr. Johnson. The goal is that Billy will be able to sustain these behaviors over the long haul without major support from Mr. Johnson or outside influences. Billy has shown that he understands the problem and has the skills to remedy the problem.
Joyce, B., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2009). Models of teaching (8th ed.). Boston: Pearson