Where I found the "Dead Man Test" useful was in goal-setting and problem solving. For instance at school support team meetings, we might be considering a 2nd grader who is always out of seat, interrupting others, fooling around. When we try to focus on specific plans of action, with measurable steps and goals, it is not unusual for for goals like "stops shouting out" to make the list.
Enter the Dead Man Test. I'm usually taking the notes, so I lead off with, What do you want to see Student X DO?
I may get another answer that describes what we DON'T want. Then I point out, '"Don't interrupt" fails the Dead Man Test. If a dead person can do it, it's not a behavior. " After some laughter we can refocus on what it will look like if the student behaves the way we want:
--stays on task for 3 minutes
--raises hand before speaking
--puts completed assignment in basket...
...and so forth. It's a matter of looking at things in terms of what you WANT to see (usually, in increments, so that you can develop the habits or skills) instead of what you DON'T WANT.
A maxim I remember from long ago is, You get more of what you pay attention to. The Morningside people make a great deal of observing and reinforcing the appropriate behaviors and study habits -- real behaviors, not "dead man" non-behaviors.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
palisadesk explains the dead man's test