Strategies for Positive Guidance, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
Question One: Consider how understanding and being skillful in using an array of positive guidance strategies supports an early childhood professional in responding to children in an authoritative, and non-authoritarian, way. Then, in your own words, explain how you would use the decision-making model of child guidance to determine the best strategy for responding to a child’s specific behavior. Include considerations that you would keep in mind as you apply the decision-making model.
Early childhood professionals constantly interact with children in different situations both in authoritarian and non-authoritarian ways. The skillful use of guidance strategies helps ensure that the interaction is beneficial to the children ensuring they learn effective problem solving and conflict resolution techniques. The decision making model of child guidance helps make decisions that help efficiently deal with the various issues affecting children. It helps develop proper, logical and clear solutions. This model calls for one to make proper observations of children, which helps develop ideas and solutions to solve the problem they might face (Marion, 2010, p. 123). The ideas make up the decision that should be implemented and evaluated to check on their impacts.
The decision-making model helps in the determination of the best strategy to respond to specific child behavior. Based on the model, the first thing that one should do is critically observe the child, how the child behaves, acts and interacts with other children. This is critical as it helps one understand the character of the child, in addition to how he behaves. It also helps anticipate areas and reasons that may cause problems on the child or result to conflict in the child’s interactions. Comprehension of the behavior and identification of various problems that the child might go through helps make a decision on the effective plan and methods to use to respond to the child’s behavior. Comprehension of the behavior ensures one anticipates the child’s reaction and behavior in various situations and the best ways to deal with problems that might arise.
Question Two: Self-reflection is a vital part of using positive guidance strategies with young children. Analyze the strategies presented in Chapter 5 and consider which you would feel comfortable using with young children and which may be more difficult for you to use. Describe one strategy that you could use comfortably and explain why. Identify one strategy that could be challenging for you and explain your concerns. Then describe a proactive approach that you could take to overcome your concerns and use this strategy effectively.
Guidance strategies refer to particular actions and methods used to direct and teach children. In guiding children, one should use positive strategies that focus on trust building and aim to redirect behavior using positive approaches and techniques. When teaching children, one may also make use negative strategies that focus on physical or psychological punishment to influence and change behavior. Positive strategies have proven to be more effective in the guiding young children (Marion, 2010, p. 124).
Active listening is the best strategy in teaching and guiding children. It is the best approach especially when the child owns up the problem. One should listen to what the child says with minimal interruptions and offer solutions where necessary. This approach helps ensure that the adult gets to know what the child feels, his fears and thoughts that should be confirmed by the child’s behavior. Since children communicate their feelings, fears, thoughts and desires through their behavior, adults will only realize what the children are going through by actively listening to them. This guides how the teacher or the adult react and respond to the children facilitating effective guidance of the children.
However, some positive strategies limit the guidance of children. For instance, the ‘Ignore Behavior’ strategy could be challenging and ineffective when guiding children. This requires the teacher or adult to not to pay attention to what the child does. This strategy is used in several strategies. For instance, it is effective when the child is doing something to make one angry, initiate an argument or whining about something (Gootman, 2009, p. 75). One therefore decides to ignore the child’s behavior. However, the child’s behavior that may be destructive and harmful may not prevented when the child is ignored. However, there are approaches that can help deal with these shortcomings. For instance, one should decide on the behaviors to ignore and inform the child about them. One should ignore inappropriate behavior but ensure that the child is taught the appropriate behavior.
Question Three: It is critical that adults help children learn positive strategies for solving problems and conflicts. Put yourself in the place of a preschool teacher working with a new aide who lacks skills in this area. Write a script or a brief summary that explains to the aide why children need to be active participants in solving their own problems and conflicts, and how to support children with appropriate strategies.
It is important that children be taught positive strategies, conflict resolution and problem solving techniques. Problems and conflict are important as they provide an opportunity to teach the children the necessary techniques (Marion, 2010, p. 128). Guides and teachers should know that conflict and problems are inevitable. Therefore, they should be composed and avoid getting angry, as that is the only way to teach the children. They then select some positive guidance strategies conducive for the situation. One should combine several strategies and methods. For instance, in a fight between children, one should first make use of calming techniques followed by active listening. This ensures that one gets to understand and define the problem or source of conflict, the feelings and needs of the children, which form the foundation in problem solving (Fields, Perry, & Perry, 2009, p. 78).
One should then engage and ensure the children participate in solving the problem by generating possible solutions. One then encourages them to deliberate over each solution considering its merits and demerits. One should encourage and congratulate the children for their discussion. This should be followed by calls on the children to formulate an approach to implement the best solution to the problem. It is essential that one give advice on the best ways that can help implement solutions. Finally, demonstrate to the children how to evaluate whether the solutions effectively helped solve the problem. This is done by the teacher advising the children whether the solution worked or not.
Fields, V. M., Perry, M. N., & Perry, N. J. (2009). Constructive guidance and discipline: Preschool and primary education. New York, NY: Prentice Hall
Gootman, M. E. (2009). The caring teacher’s guide to discipline: Helping young students learn self-control, responsibility, and respect. Calabasas, CA: Corwin Press
Marion, M. (2010). Guidance of Young Children. New York, NY: Prentice Hall