Social cognitive specialists Michelle G Winner, www.socialthinking.com, challenges parents, teachers, SLP, and other professionals to examine how society defines a“behavior problem.” In her work, she notices that generally negative behaviors are considered the disruptive behaviors. She suggests that a “negative behavior” is anything that interferes with the educational process. These can behaviors such as not attending class, refusing to work, being perceived as rude, or not paying attention. These are the kind of behaviors that she is looking to refine through Cognitive Behavior Therapy, because these behaviors isolate students.
Two Ways to Monitor Behavior:
- Externally: From others giving feedback.
- Internally: From teaching the about how to change the behavior: self-awareness, self-control, and self-monitoring.
Through Social Behavior Mapping, Michelle Winner teaches students to be internally motivated, which she has found has long lasting effects on behavioral change.
She trains students to walk themselves through Social Mapping in a given situation:
- Define the behavior/context: expected and unexpected for the student.
- Show how they are linked to the emotions of others.
- Show emotions are linked to good and bad consequences.
- Show how the consequences impact how the student feels.
Two of the most powerful words in her therapy are unexpected and expected. Michelle teaches students that their behavior isn’t good or bad, but it can be unexpected which creates a negative reaction from others, or expected which is socially acceptable. When students feel accepted, they have a better self-confidence and tend to be internally motivated to continue the expected behavior.
How are students’ behaviors being perceived?
- Normal = Expected
- Weird = Unexpected
She has also found that parents are empowering their children at home, through terms such as expected and unexpected.
When students are given tools for their behaviors and trained to monitor their own behavior, life-changing results and attitudes are changed for individual.