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American Educator
Winter 2003-2004


Table of Contents


Heading Off Disruptive Behavior
How Early Intervention Can Reduce Defiant Behavior—and Win Back Teaching Time
By Hill M. Walker, Elizabeth Ramsey, and Frank M. Gresham

Disruptive behavior is typically the biggest problem that teachers face. The interventions described in this article greatly reduce chronic bad behavior—even among the most difficult children and especially when the intervention occurs early in elementary school.

Prevention Begins with Screening

Good Behavior Needs to Be Taught
How a Social Skills Curriculum Works

Dealing with Jimmy the "Terror"—How an Intensive Intervention Works

Resources for Finding Effective Programs

How Disruptive Students Escalate Hostility and Disorder—and How Teachers Can Avoid It
By Hill M. Walker, Elizabeth Ramsey, and Frank M. Gresham

Long-term, early interventions are the key to preventing bad behavior, but teachers also need strategies that will work today to defuse the hostile interactions that aggressive students so often initiate. Find out how to use "avoidance" and "escape" strategies—and how to deliver directions that are less likely to trigger defiance.

Teaching Poor Students: How to Make It a Prestigious, Desirable Career
A Title I for Teacher Pay Act?
By Matthew Miller

Teaching in an urban school is probably the nation's most undervalued profession. It should be a badge of honor, a clear sign of talent and generosity—and it should be well paid. Here's a proposal to make the inner-city schools prestigious and lucrative places to work.

Ask the Cognitive Scientist
Why Students Think They Understand—When They Don't
By Daniel T. Willingham

We all overestimate our knowledge from time to time; we feel like we know all about a topic—until we have to explain it to someone else. This is a special problem for students: When they feel they know something, they stop studying it—and never really learn the material. The cognitive scientist explains why and how we overestimate our knowledge and what students can do to accurately assess their knowledge while they study.

How to Help Students See When Their Knowledge Is Superficial or Incomplete

Mayday at 41,000 Feet—Watch Those Units!
By Steve Silverman

How many times have you told the kids in a math class to keep track of a problem's "units"? This belly-laugh of a story will help them remember that it matters whether you count inches, feet, gallons, pints ... or liters. Enjoy the ride.

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About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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