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MoBB Times

How to Reduce Power Struggles,1

Friday, November 13, 2009

By Monda


We all know how easy it is to fall into power struggles with children. Teachers have it particularly difficult because of the number of children who might be challenging them at once and because of all the demand on their time and energy. In a workshop given by Marilla Pivonka, MFT, in Corte Madera, CA, I picked up some tips that teachers might find helpful on how to avoid these power struggles. Pivonka based her Power Struggle Reduction Plan on the "Houdini Technique” originally developed by Seth Godin.


The Houdini Technique: The Art of Escaping Difficult Situations

Behaviors that add to power struggles


. Responding quickly

. Trying to "convince"

. Threatening

. Increasing the consequences

. Having the interaction in the presence of others

. Remaining in interaction too long

. Responding emotionally (i.e. getting angry, being sarcastic)

. Bribes

. "Putting Down" the student


Behaviors that diminish power struggles


. Simple directives, choices

. Predetermined consequences

. Listening

. Being brief and direct

. Private discussion

. Walking away


Power Struggle Reduction Plan


1.  Away from the incident, list all the things that hooked you into the power struggle

 2.  Talk and work with another teacher. Agree to take over for each other.

 3.  Decide which rules are negotiable and non-negotiable.

 4.  Have predetermined consequences and follow through. 
For more click on How to Reduce Power Struggles, 2  

here for more on The Houdini Technique by Seth Godin. 



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