Presentation on theme: "How faculty can manage difficult conversations with students"— Presentation transcript:
1 How faculty can manage difficult conversations with students Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D.Senior Vice President of Professional Program DevelopmentThe NCHERM Group, LLC
2 Vignettes from seasoned faculty that provide thoughtful reflections and advice from everyday experienceResearch-based suggestions and intervention techniques to help faculty better assess, intervene, and manage difficult behaviorCoverage of special populations, including nontraditional, veteran, and millennial studentsDiscussion of the latest laws and regulations that should affect and inform faculty’s decisions
3 IntroductionDealing with DangerMental HealthRude and Entitled
4 Introduction Sample Conversations “I don’t even want to take this class…”“You aren’t clear about what material we are supposed to study.”“My other professor lets me use my phone in class.”“I won’t be here next week for the final because my family is going on vacation to Bermuda. I need to reschedule.”“I had a friend who killed himself last week. I haven’t been able to focus on class.”
5 IntroductionVignettes from seasoned faculty that provide thoughtful reflections and advice from everyday experienceResearch-based suggestions and intervention techniques to help faculty better assess, intervene, and manage difficult behaviorCoverage of special populations, including nontraditional, veteran, and millennial studentsDiscussion of the latest laws and regulations that should affect and inform faculty’s decisions
7 Introduction Dangerous Acts of aggression Threats towards self or othersDepression or hopelessnessEndorsing violence or weaponsAnger/Agitation/Inability to copeSeems out of touch with reality
8 Introduction Disruptive Yelling or being excessively loud Interrupting, not waiting for responseHygiene concernsUnder the influence of substancesRefusing to leave or cooperateDestructive of propertyNot responding to your instructions
9 Introduction Annoying Staring Not picking up on social cues Occupying personal spaceWanting to speak to your chair/deanDisrespectful or rude behaviorThreatening to sue youMonopolizing your time
10 Introduction How do you feel when students exhibit these behaviors? FrustratedScaredAnnoyedUncomfortableNot bothered at all
11 Person-Centered Counseling IntroductionOverview of Rogers/Person-Centered CounselingHumanistic Counseling “Core Concepts”Genuineness and CongruenceUnconditional Positive RegardEmpathy and Perceptions of EmpathyDr. Brian Van Brunt, LPCC, CFC Western Kentucky University
12 Introduction“Under the most adverse circumstances, they were striving to become. Life would not give up, even if it could not flourish...The clue to understanding their behavior is that they are striving, in the only ways that they perceive as available to them, to move toward growth, toward becoming.To healthy persons, the results may seem bizarre and futile, but they are life’s desperate attempt to become itself. This potent constructive tendency is an underlying basis of the person-centered approach.”Dr. Brian Van Brunt, LPCC, CFC Western Kentucky UniversityDr. Brian Van Brunt, LPCC, CFC Western Kentucky University
13 Introduction“I remember in my boyhood, the bin in which we stored our winter’s supply of potatoes was in the basement, several feet below a small window.The conditions were unfavorable, yet the potatoes would begin to sprout—pale white sprouts, so unlike the healthy green shoots they sent up when planted in the soil in the spring.But these sad, spindly sprouts would grow 2 or 3 feet in length as they reach towards the distant light of the window.Dr. Brian Van Brunt, LPCC, CFC Western Kentucky UniversityDr. Brian Van Brunt, LPCC, CFC Western Kentucky University
14 IntroductionSimon Bailey, a motivational speaker, suggests that every person in your classroom is a “diamond-in-the rough.”As such, diamonds are polished to their brilliance at different times, various temperatures and through a multitude of experiences.This approach lines up with Roger’s humanistic theory. Students want to achieve, they just need help removing the obstacles in their path.Releasing Your Brilliance (Simon Bailey)Bailey, S. (2007). Release your Brilliance. Collins Business.
15 Simon Bailey: Releasing your Brilliance IntroductionSimon Bailey: Releasing your BrillianceSimon suggests that our internal thoughts and beliefs about the world impact our ability to take action---both on a small and grand scale.A professor who adjusts the way she sees underperforming students. If we believe in them and create opportunities for them to be successful---they will become successful in your class. This success then gives you the encouragement to impact other students and classes, your department and college.
16 A Student’s Success, Fuels further Success ChancesCreateAlter Beliefs
17 Strive to resolve the situation at the lowest level possible. Dealing with DangerIs there imminent danger?Is there a possible threat?Can I resolve this situation?If not, what can I do to help manage it until I can get support?What should I report and to whom?Strive to resolve the situation at the lowest level possible.
18 Dealing with Danger Recognize when to report: Recognize when to refer: Document in your own notesReport to Chair/DeanReport to Campus BITRecognize when to refer:To campus policeTo campus resourceTo Student Conduct/Judicial AffairsTo Behavioral Intervention Team
19 Dealing with DangerAn older student s her adjunct faculty member, challenging two exam questions & her grade. The faculty member responds via . Then the student brings it up during class, becoming argumentative & enraged, resulting in her yelling & shoving a desk 6 feet across the room.
20 Be Aware of Your Feelings Dealing with DangerBe Aware of Your FeelingsEntitled attitude by studentDangerous escalation in classStudent behavior stealing teaching time other students deserveStudent lacks responsibility for examStudent’s lack of respect
21 Dealing with Danger Core Concepts Recognize both cognitive & physical signsUnderstand escalationImpact both professor & student“Am I making this worse or better?”Put aside attendance, gradesDon’t be right & ‘punched in the head’
22 Dealing with Danger Meta-Communication Understand the content (what is being said) & process (how it is being said)Spoken: “This test question isn’t fair! It wasn’t on the study guide & the answers are vague. You need to change my grade!!”Unspoken: “I’m scared & lost in your class. I study hard but still fall behind.”
23 Dealing with Danger How to Help? Respond to the unspoken message to match the question being asked.Too often, we match defenses & anger. Focus on worry, concern & frustration underneath.As Covey says, “Seek first to understand and then be understood.”
24 Dealing with Danger How to Help? Calm mindset and develop rapport Build a bridge between you and themRealize the way you see things isn’t always the way they see things
25 Dealing with Danger How to Help? See crisis response as a two-step model(1) Address dangerous behavior firstCalmly DiscussRedirect BehaviorSeparate StudentDismiss Class(2) Follow with proper backup/supportYou schedule the time and placeInclude dean, police, counseling…
26 Mental HealthA student with Asperger’s disorder asks multiple, off-topic questions during class, engages in odd, repetitive behaviors and is teased by other students. The professor is concerned about the amount of time spent handling the student’s behavior as well as the impact of the teasing & bullying.
27 Be Aware of Your Feelings Mental HealthBe Aware of Your FeelingsBehavior gets in way of other students’ learningBehavior interrupts your flow & teachingOther students teasing the studentSchool admitting more students not ready for collegeYou handle more troubled students without training or pay
28 Mental Health Proper Mindset Identify internal emotions Avoid generalizationsFocus on problem at handStay calm, cool and collectedConsider how you might be perceivedApply cycle breathing*
29 Mental Health Setting the Stage Talk to the student alone (if safe) Talk should be free of time pressureSeek to understand, not to judgeListen to his/her point of viewDiscuss with neutral tone; no sarcasmBuild connection; working togetherUse Motivational Interviewing skills*
30 Breathe in slowly to the count of 1…2…3…4… *Breathe in slowly to the count of 1…2…3…4…Hold your breath to the count of 1…2…Breathe out slowly to the count of 1…2…3…4…Hold your breath to the count of 1…2…
31 Motivational Interviewing Involves: Mental HealthMotivational Interviewing Involves:Expressing EmpathyDeveloping DiscrepancyAvoiding ArgumentationRolling with ResistanceSupporting Self-EfficacyMiller, W. R. & Rollnick, S. (1991). Motivational Interviewing: Preparing People to Change Addictive Behavior. New York: Guilford Publications.
32 In this case: Annoying=Mental Health Disorder Don’t assume or diagnoseKnow your ADA referral staffHow do you access counseling?Seek consultation with colleaguesConsider a team meetingFollow up with the student
33 Mental Health Don’t Do This: Begin intervention annoyed & frustrated Make assumptions about their motivationTalk much; avoid listeningIncrease hierarchy between student/profUse sarcasm
34 Mental Health Do This: Have a calm, cool & collected mindset Share concerns without judgment & assumptions; neutral, ‘just the facts’Listen to student, show respectAlign with the student toward successAvoid sarcasmStay solution focused (What next?)
35 Look for Signs of Suicide Mental HealthLook for Signs of SuicideDirect Verbal Clues“I’ve decided to kill myself.”“I wish I were dead.”“I’m going to commit suicide.”Indirect Verbal Clues“I’m tired of life, I just can’t go on.”“I won’t be around much longer.”“Pretty soon you won’t have to worry about me.”
36 Situational / Environmental Clues Mental HealthSituational / Environmental CluesAny previous suicide attemptAcquiring a gun or stockpiling pillsPutting personal affairs in orderGiving away prized possessionsSubstance abuse/relapseafter a period of recovery
37 Rude & EntitledA student behaves in an entitled manner. He texts in class, shows up late, gets up frequently to use the bathroom (or take a smoke break) & surfs the Internet during class. The student was asked to reduce these behaviors. He does not comply. The student smells of alcohol & talks about parties the night before.
38 Be Aware of Your Feelings Rude & EntitledBe Aware of Your FeelingsFrustrated with admissions standardsAngry/Anxious about lost lecture timeNot sure how to handle problemsDon’t like having to police studentsLack of complianceMisuse of technology in class
39 Eight-Step Outline for Difficult Conversations* Rude & EntitledEight-Step Outline for Difficult Conversations*Describe the behavior & its impactsListen to the their perspective & responseDiscuss appropriate behaviorDiscuss resources to promote successReiterate or set parameters for future behaviors* Thanks to Laura Bennett at Harper College
40 Eight-Step Outline for Difficult Conversations* Rude & EntitledEight-Step Outline for Difficult Conversations*Share consequences for non-complianceSummarize the conversationInform of any follow-up:Document the conversation & planDecide who you will inform,Check in with the student, etc.* Thanks to Laura Bennett at Harper College
41 Prochaska and DiClemente’s Rude & EntitledProchaska and DiClemente’sChange Theory
42 Faculty Member’s Motivational Task Stage of ChangeFaculty Member’s Motivational TaskPre-contemplationRaise doubt; increase their perception of risk and problems with current behaviorContemplationHelp student head towards change out of their current ambivalence; help them identify risk for not changing; strengthen self-efficacy for changing current behaviorPreparation for ActionHelp the student identify and select the best initial course of action; reinforce movement in this directionActionHelp the student take steps towards change; provide encouragement and praiseMaintenance & RelapseTeach student relapse prevention skills
43 Tips Help students overcome obstacles to obtain the support they need Explore resources via the campus websiteCall various departments and learn about the services that are offeredLook for potential obstacles that may prevent students from accessing careOffer guidance in your syllabus; invite departments to give brief intros during class time
44 TipsStress is all around us. Understanding the nature of the environmental stress non-traditional students face is key.Stress is cumulative. As it builds, students worry they won’t be able to catch up.Balance the fine line between helping the student progress without holding them to an abstract standard. Require hard work, but build flexibility into your approach that allows for an understanding of context.
45 TipsDevelop relationships with students so that the first conversation isn’t a “bad one”Learn how to describe behaviors objectively and be consistent in your approachKeep good documentationInvest time in solutions, not in complainingGive yourself permission to feel uncomfortable, not to be evasive
46 Begin with the End in Mind 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey)1Be Proactive(create environment, choose response before problems start)2Begin with the End in Mind(create cognitive mindset, what is the vision, what is the habit)3Put First Things First(application of mindset, habit in action, short-term goals)
47 4 5 6 7 Think Win-Win Understand then be Understood Synergize Stephen Covey: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People4Think Win-Win(achievements depend on cooperation, working together)5Understand then be Understood(diagnosis first, then prescribe)6Synergize(the whole is greater than the sum of its parts)7Sharpen the Saw:(maintain and renew)
48 Senior Vice President of Professional Program Development Questions?Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D.Senior Vice President of Professional Program DevelopmentThe NCHERM Group, LLC