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Monday, February 8, 2010

Subjective Units of Distress System (SUDS): A Teacher Intervention to Empower Students to Control Their Negative Feelings and Actions

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices. Accordingly, our mentees should know how to empower students to control their negative feelings so that those feelings do not disrupt classroom instruction. SUDS (Subjective Units of Distress System) is one of several teacher interventions designed to empower students to achieve self-control over their negative thoughts, and counter-productive behaviors that disrupt classroom instruction.

The teacher instructs the Subjective Units of Distress System (SUDS) to a particularly disruptive student.

Enduring Jewish Knowledge: These middot: Erech Apayim-being slow to anger, Shalom Bayit-peace in the home, Samayach B’Chelko- being content with who you are and your situation, Samayach Noflim V’Rofay Chomlim Bayn Adam L’Atzmom-supporting and healing the conflict inside of you.

Materials Needed: SUDS Level Chart (See this at the top of the post.)

1. The teacher identifies a student who appears to be unhappy about his or her disruptive classroom behavior. In the teacher’s judgment the student’s inappropriate behavior is a call for attention, rather than a desire to prevent others from learning. The teacher privately has a conversation with the student and poses these questions:

· How do the other students in class perceive you?

· Do you like the way your classmates perceive you?

· Would you like to change their perception?

· Would you like to know a special technique I share with certain students to help them control their disruptive classroom behavior?

· The teacher emphasizes that this technique is for this student only, and no other student in the class should be told about it. The teacher asks, “Do you want to learn more about this?”

2. If the student wants to learn how to control his or her disruptive behavior, and not be perceived as the classroom “menace” or “clown,” the teacher shares the Subjective Units of Distress System (SUDS) Chart displayed at the top of this post.

3. The teacher explains that this technique is a unique form of communication between the student and the teacher where each one secretly informs the other about his or her level of distress, discomfort, or anxiety. This communication occurs privately when the student enters the classroom. That is, the student discreetly shares a number with the teacher that describes his or her level of distress. See the SUDS chart above for details.

On the next post we will share what the teacher does after explaining the SUDS chart.

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