Students with emotional/behavior disorders are known to be highly vocal, active, and bold. Many times they will often blame other people or things for their behaviors. With their external locus of control, they often times report to staff that the (this or that) made me do it, or (somebody) said/did (something) so that made me do what I did. I have been amazed by the extent to which they externalize the control for their actions for nearly everything that occurs within their world.
I have come to the saddening realization that no matter how strong of a bond I think my students and I have, as soon as something happens, it becomes a “But, Mr. Williams did (this or that) and so I (did this or that).” When did Mr. Williams do (this or that)? “Oh, um, um, um, like a few weeks ago I think, (pause) but I just remembered, so, yeah, that's why I did it!” This is usually said with a look of great satisfaction for reportedly getting me "in trouble."
As a result, I have become very clinical with my students to ensure that I can minimize any opportunity of externalizing their behaviors with something I have done. For example, we may joke and have moments where I get on their level and interact with them as a peer would, in order to build that relationship with them and to show them that I get 'it'.
I knew that tactic would be risky, but I feel that my students have negative interactions with most of the adults with whom they come into contact, so why not have a good one with the guy with whom they'll spend 40-something hours a week? That way, they will understand when I push them, that I do it in their best interest and not to punish them, etc.
I believe it is safe to say, that being less clinical has backfired on me. I will not, however, externalize this, and while I whole heartedly embraced this strategy, I have whole heartedly realized it didn't work. Better yet, I am happy that I at least tried it, After all, what are first years for?
As for my students, I have struggled with them to get them to shift their locus of control to themselves more and am running into road block after road block. One day they seem to get that you can't yell obscenities just because you don't understand part of a lesson. The next day, it's as though we've never discussed it before and all bad behavior is someone else's fault.
So I ask this question, what success have you had with shifting locus of control and what strategies could you suggest for me to try?