Thank you for taking part in the September 2018 PAX Trainer Professional Development Workshop. This interactive exercise will allow you and your fellow PAX Trainers to meet your quarterly obligation to professional development and renewal as outlined in your PAX Contractor Agreement. This forum also allow you to benefit from and harness the collective experiences of the other trainers.
This first professional development installment focuses on some of the experiences and action items highlighted in your PAX GBG Trainer Workbook. You may find this resource useful in considering some of the contributions you make in this workshop. This practice will allow us all to benefit from our collective knowledge and “skinned knees,” picked up along the way as we spread PAX.
For each question prompt, please respond with a paragraph (or more) detailing how you as a trainer would respond, based on your knowledge of PAX or your other professional experiences. This creates a body of wisdom from all PAX Trainers.
After making your own comment for each item, identify another trainer’s response to comment on further or ask questions. That adds depth and wisdom to our training community. The Q&A across trainers increases consistency of the PAX experience, reducing confusion if schools or teachers have different trainers across time.
In the coming days after your write your own reflections and ideas, please check back later to review other trainers’ responses. Their insights will add to your toolbox of perspectives and strategies. Remember, PAX has been built over many decades of both research and collective experiences—including both failures and successes.
* * * Reflection and Response 1 ***
Predatory environments (aka, Adverse Childhood Experiences) can cause, contribute to, or worsen problematic behavior and outcomes among young people in classrooms and over their lifetimes. Sometimes, workshop participants may think and say that a nurturing environment is a “soft” or coddling environment – free from hardship or obstacles that are part of life. Some participants may credit their own success to surviving “in spite of” or even “because of” some of predatory or adverse environments. However, the ACE's study and similar studies show that truly predatory environments have far more problematic than beneficial effects, yet multiple studies show 1-2 years of exposure to PAXGBG dramatically increases positive outcomes for children exposed to predatory environments.
Describe how you would engage such a participant and the audience that “nurturing” built into PAX and being “soft” in the participant's perspective/experience are not necessarily synonyms. Do this in a way that respects the participant’s experiences, but also benefits the audience’s understanding of how a Nurturing Environment like PAX might benefit children/adults who are difficult through your explanation.
Select an area of Predatory Environments (limited reinforcement prosocial behavior, inconsistent limits on problematic behavior, exposure to toxic influences, psychological inflexibility) and identify a concrete example that you like to use that shows how exposure to that element outside the classroom can bring about adaptive in the larger world—but inappropriate behavior inside the classroom. Then, describe how one or more of the kernels or the PAX Game, itself, might help a student succeed despite the history of a predatory environment. (You may actually have an anecdote that illustrates this from training or partnering.
* * * Reflection and Response 2 ***
Hindsight often involves rose-tinted glasses. Any of us can reconcile our own difficult experiences as a “necessary” part of our development and success. When children or students are quite difficult in school, stressed adults can employ illogical behavior modification strategies with their students as “necessary” to teaching accountability. However, attacking or demeaning participants’ underdeveloped skillsets is unlikely to recruit their support or open them up for the possibility of change. One of my godchildren, demonstrated this foible of adults in 3rd grade. In April, my little shaman—Tyler—noticed the principal and the yard duty people make the children who broke the rules on the playground sit on the "Time Out" bench. Tyler told the vice-principal, "I notice the same kids have been on the Time Out bench since August. I don't think that's working. Maybe you should try something different." While Tyler was correct, he got sent to the principal's office. My god child now has a child of his own, and teaches special ed.
Identify an over-the-top behavior modification strategy such as teaching through error response (responding always to the error) or teaching through retribution that some teachers may still use in the classroom. How would you convey that this is illogical or even harmful in a way that allows participants to safely consider some of their own classroom behavior without becoming overly defensive?
Identify an example of a non-academic skillset at home, school, etc. you familiar with, then create preposterous behavior modification strategies (with humor hopefully) to convey the importance of teaching behavior as a skillset (e.g. antecedents, modeling, reinforcement, etc.?)