"Recovery Process" for Disruptive Classroom Students

By Jim Fay


Special Reminders Regarding the Use of the "Recovery Process"

The "Recovery Process" is one of the nine skills found in the multimedia training program, 9 Essential Skills for the Love and Logic Classroom. An in-depth study of this technique can be found on pages 29-40 in the 9 Essential Skills for the Love and Logic Classroom workbook.

We have found that the Recovery Process loses its effectiveness when used with students who are not doing their assignments. The Recovery Process is not designed to punish, but is used strictly to eliminate annoying or disruptive behaviors.

Students who are uninvolved in their lessons, but not bothering others, should remain in the classroom as long as their behavior is not interfering with the learning process. The fact that these students are not doing their assignment does not mean that they are not soaking up at least some of the teacher's wisdom.

Unskilled teachers, or those who lack understanding of the brain's role in learning, often fear that a student's lack of involvement in the lesson will rub off on others, causing them to not want to learn. These teachers hold to the belief that kids don't want to learn in the first place and must be forced to do so. However, off-task behavior has far more to do with unfulfilled basic needs and personal problems than a desire not to learn. It is a rare kid who has a goal of becoming a failure.

In the event that another student in the classroom asks, "Why do I have to do the assignment? He isn't doing the work. Why can't I do the same thing?" the skilled teacher simply replies, "Maybe you can do the same thing. All you need to do is bring a note from your parents telling me that you don't need to learn anything in my classroom, and I will consider it."

  • The Recovery Process is not designed to force kids to do their assignments.
  • The Recovery Process is not designed to cure kids of emotional problems.
  • The Recovery Process is strictly used to minimize a student's ability to interfere with learning and/or teaching.
  • A student should not get personal attention from an adult while in Recovery. This time should be devoted to getting one's self back together. Students should get time with adults when doing what is right, not when misbehaving.
  • Do not send work with the student to do during Recovery.
  • The attitude of the teacher should be: "You are welcome to be with us for every good minute—this means every minute you are not making it difficult for me to teach or for others to learn. You are welcome to use "Recovery"to get yourself back together. We want you in the classroom, so return just as soon as you know that you can be here without bothering anyone else."

Effective use of the other essential skills of the Love and Logic classroom usually reduces the need to apply the Recovery Process. Building positive relationships with difficult kids is absolutely essential.
Kids who are willing to annoy the teacher are the ones who most desperately need to develop a positive relationship with that teacher. For this you will want to implement the essential skill, "The One Sentence Intervention."
This skill can be found in 9 Essential Skills for the Love and Logic Classroom. It is also presented in Teaching with Love and Logic.

Note: It is wise to build the Recovery Process into the Behavior Support Plan for special education students. Until such time, give this child the opportunity to take work with him/her if the child so desires. (Children usually don't beg to take work with them.)

It is not uncommon for kids who carry a heavy load of personal, family, and emotional problems to need several trips to a Recovery setting each day. This is an indication of a strong need for counseling or therapy. These kids are best reached by building a positive relationship with them, not in trying to overpower them.

The true test of whether or not the Recovery Process is working resides in answers to these questions: "Can the teacher teach while the student is in Recovery?" and "Can others learn without disruption while the student is in Recovery?" If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then the process is working. Don't expect the Recovery Process to cure the problems behind misbehavior or lack of motivation.

This attitude differentiates Recovery from "Time-out." The Time-out process allows the teacher to decide when the student can return. The Recovery Process allows the student to decide when to return. However, if the student returns with a bad attitude, he/she should be sent back to Recovery to do a better job of repairing his/her attitude.

When sending a student to Recovery, be sure to say, "You get back here just as soon as you can. We want you back with us." Consistently making this statement can eliminate a source of problem with parents who might accuse the teacher of denying their child an education by excluding him/her from the classroom.

People who are really successful implementing this skill purchased Home and School Stratagies for Creating Respectful, Responsible Kids

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©Jim Fay
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For more information, call the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. at 800-338-4065.