Language of choice is about giving the child some control over the outcomes but, as an adult, being in charge of the process and the structure within which you work. The adult also sets the choices and the boundaries.
It is far more successful for a challenging student to have made their own decisions, arrived at their own conclusion and be faced with a known outcome, rather than simply telling them what to do -- the ability to comply is much easier and leads to far less resentment.
It is essential within this process to eliminate emotional involvement and avoid secondary behaviours from the child as this can very quickly become a smokescreen process which can deflect from the issue at hand.
Children will often use the smokescreen tactic to move away from the primary behaviour and to re-focus the adult's attention on a less important secondary behaviour. This deflection is much less likely to happen if the emotions are kept in check.
An essential part of this support based programme is manoeuvring discussions so that children take some responsibility for their actions and are actively involved in the repair and recovery of the situation.
An example of this can be shown in the following:
Johnny refuses to take his cap off as he comes into the classroom you ask him politely
"Johnny I'd appreciate it if you'd take off your cap and put it in your bag, thank you" and then turn away and let him make the right decision on his own
Johnny can respond in a number of ways
1 - he ignores you completely 2 - he defies you completely with an inappropriate verbal response 3 - he attempts to deflect you by mentioning some other issues
If he ignores you completely, do not get stressed, simply repeat the request and make some effort to see that he has actually heard what you have said -- sometimes children simply do not hear because they are engaged in some activity.
If he defies you completely with a verbal response which is less than positive, you could respond
"I have asked you to take your cap off, could you do it now and put it in your bag, thank you" and again turn away. This is not the time to stand with hands on hips, scowling.
If he attempts to deflect you, he may tell you that another student wore his cap on Thursday, and you didn't say anything to him. Simply ignore this comment and go back to your original request-- do not validate or get involved with his discussion about another student -- this is simply a deflection activity.
"If you choose not to take your cap off, Johnny, I may need to speak to you during your break time (or after the lesson)"
"You need to take your cap off now and put it in your bag. If you're choosing not to then I may need to speak to break time, put it away now, thank you"
This process could be scripted for ever but the principal is quite simple -- let the students choose the pathway they want to take, but clearly let them know what a poor choice may lead to.
It may be useful to let the student know it is not a big issue but that taking his chosen pathway, it is escalating unnecessarily, and that you would prefer that not to happen - expressing sadness at this choice sometimes helps the student see that you have some empathy for their position
It is important to remain calm and have a confident air of expectation that your request will be carried out.
Do remember to allow take-up time
Making a positive statement about the student and their role in your class can sometimes also have the desired effect.
Following this, it is essential to follow up and do what you said you would do and apply some time recovery to discuss the situation, preferably away from the view and earshot of others.
When the student tells you they won't stay or meet with you do not get involved with any negotiations, these are designed to deflect you. Should the student choose not to turn up or stay, this would be time to check the reasons and repeat the invitation to speak with them.
If they then choose to not stay, it is important to let the student know that this will possibly lead to a more serious outcome and that their choices would be telling you to look to the next level of referral
This aspect can lead to a time objection from the teacher, especially they have clubs, duties etc but the alternative to taking this action is to give the power and control of your classroom to individual children. The choice is yours