13 April 2006

Ten Variables That Affect Compliance

Got this from a friendly child psychologist for dealing with children:

  1. Using a Question Format -- The use of questions instead of direct requests reduces compliance. For example, "Would you please stop teasing?" is less effective than "I need you to stop teasing."
  2. Distance -- It is better to make a request from up close (i.e. 1 meter, one desk distance) than from longer distances (i.e. 7 meters, across the classroom.
  3. Eye Contact -- It is better to look into the child's eyes or ask the child to look into your eyes than to not make eye contact.
  4. Two Requests -- It is better to give the same request only twice than to give it several times (i.e. nag). Do not give many different requests rapidly (i.e., "Please give me your homework, please behave today, and do not tease the girl in front of you").
  5. Loudness of Request -- It is better to make a request in a soft but firm voice than a loud voice (i.e. yelling when making a request to get attention).
  6. Time -- Give the student time to comply after giving a request (3 to 5 seconds). During this short interval, do not converse with the child (arguing, excuse making), restate the request or make a different request. Simply look the child in the eyes and wait for compliance.
  7. More Start Requests instead of Stop Requests -- It is better to make more positive requests for a child to start an appropriate behavior (e.g. "Please start your arithmetic assignment"). It is better to make fewer negative requests for a child to stop a misbehavior (i.e. "Please stop arguing with me.").
  8. Nonemotional instead of Emotional Requests -- It is better to control negative emotions when making a request (e.g. yelling, name calling, guit-inducing statements, and roughly handling a child). Emotional responses decrease compliance and make the situation worse.
  9. Descriptive Requests -- Requests that are positive and descriptive are better than ambiguous or global requests (i.e. "Please sit in your chair, with your feet on the floor, hands on your desk, and look at me" is better than "Pay attention").
  10. Reinforce Compliance -- It is too easy to request a behavior from a child and then ignore the positive result. If you want more compliance, genuinely reinforce it.

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