Creating Conditions for Success: Using a Relationship Based Strengths Approach in the Classroom


Stephen de Groot is an amazing speaker. He brings the child to mind and, rather than talking about problems, helps his audience see the world through the child’s experience. His relational and strengths focused messages are vital and extremely useful for all people who live and work with children.

Dr. Jean Clinton
Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, McMaster University
Hamilton Ontario, Canada


Workshop Overview

In recent years, for a myriad of reasons, teachers and helping professionals are experiencing a rise in difficult and/or acting out behaviors in the classroom and schools. In many respects some teachers experience “out of control behavior” with an increasing number of children and youth. Acting out youth, are the most noticeable, however, there has also been an increase in the number of students that may not be acting out, but seem unmotivated to learn or difficult to reach.

Unfortunately many approaches to teaching, classroom management and discipline with youth result in conflict, stress relationships and, a perpetuation or exacerbation of a youth’s negative valuation of self and others. These impacts can actually foster “acting out”, or “out of control behaviors”. Overtime, “out of control” behavior can tax guardians/caregivers, teachers and helpers and increase the chances of interrupted learning, relationship breakdown and further behavioral difficulties.

The RBSA in the classroom and the school offers a highly practical and effective method for approaching difficult behaviors, including youth who seem unmotivated or hard to reach, in a manner that simultaneously enhances relationships while fostering youth responsibility, motivation and learning.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this seminar, attendees will:

  • Understand the link between early negative experiences of youth and the challenges in effectively working with them.
  • Be familiar with the Relationship Based Strengths Approach (RBSA).
  • Learn how to operationalize the RBSA principles in the context of working with youth in the classroom and the school.
  • Through experience and practice, develop skill in communication methods for building on strengths and enhancing relationships in a way that foster motivation, cooperation and learning.
  • Learn how to avoid and/or decrease resistant and oppositional behavior.
  • Learn and understand how many approaches to classroom management and discipline are ineffective and counterintuitive to preferred ways of working and desired outcomes for students.
  • Learn how to promote conditions that encourage positive behaviour and how to avoid ineffective discipline practices.
  • With the use of case examples, learn the RBSA process steps to effective discipline.
  • Through guided exercises, initiate the development of a personalized practice-oriented action plan for dealing with difficult youth behaviors.