Vocabulary Lesson for Today: Antecedent - (noun)

There have been countless instances in my life, when I wished I had said or done something different in order to have prevented a negative occurrence.  Whether it was avoiding the rocky ice before I broke my leg, or making sure my daughter wore a warmer coat before she got a bad cold. Or even knowing when it was a good time to ask my dad for some extra money to go out to a concert. It certainly wasn't right after he announced that  he had a bad day at work!  I have tried to learn from mistakes in my life and put antecedents in place to avoid future issues. Mariam-Webster dictionary defines antecedent as "something that came before something else and may have influenced or caused it." 

Cameron Diaz in  Bad Teacher.   Not the best example of planned antecedents. 

Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher.  Not the best example of planned antecedents. 

When trying to discover why certain behaviors occur or are reoccurring , professionals look at antecedents to see what may have caused the behavior.  It is also very possible to utilize antecedents to encourage positive behavior.  I was very pleased when visiting my daughters school this past week, and noticed some strong antecedents put in place by the teacher. The teacher was aware that there were kids in her class with different learning styles and abilities, so she added strategies to the curriculum for all of the students to utilize.  There was not one child "singled- out" for their disability.  By using the antecedents, the teacher could possibly avoid any issues with regards to the expectations of the curriculum that might occur with those kids who needed extra.

These were the antecedents that were put in place...

  1. All the books that were required reading for the year were available in audio format and pre-uploaded by the teacher onto the school website that is easily accessible for the kids. (A great strategy for kids with dyslexia or reading delays, or auditory processing disorders). 
  2. All books should be written in, annotated, and highlighted  as they read.  Mark them up! The teacher was going to check that all kids did this every day. This ensured that the kids were not just listening to the audio book, they were reading as well.It also allows them to keep focus, and ask or answer any questions in the story that they are confused about. (This is a great strategy for dyslexia, reading delayed children, or children with ADHD).
  3. All chapters assignments are accompanied by a prompted list of questions to be referred to as they read in order to encourage thought about the story as well as  keep the kids on task. (Great for children with ADHD). 
  4. Multiple levels of books were provided as options for an independent book assignment without calling out anyone's deficits. 


Now I mentioned how the antecedents would be beneficial for children with certain learning disabilities or differences, but they are also beneficial and certainly not detrimental for those who are not deficient. Therefore, it seems crazy to me that all teachers do not add antecedents to their curriculum or plan. I hope and encourage everyone to think about how to prevent problems from happening or how to set up a platform for success to occur.  

Questions to  ask...

What makes Johnny act out and disrupt the class? Why is Suzie not understanding the story she is reading? Why can't I get my kid to put a new toilet roll on the toilet roll holder? Why won't my husband buy me a new pair of Balenciagas boots? (well this might be a stretch) How can I make these things happen or not happen? Is there anything I can do ahead of time to change what will occur next? 

A little planning goes a long way...