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Teacher Turned 'Kid Whisperer' Aims To Help Adults Better Handle Some Child Behavioral Issues


A recent WYSO investigation revealed thousands of kindergarten through third grade students are suspended each year. State data also show school officials remove children of color from the classroom much more often than white children. Officials frequently cited “disruptive” behavior as the reason for suspending younger students -- behavior such as not following directions or talking out of turn. Many Miami Valley child advocates are pushing for teachers to seek alternative approaches to classroom discipline.

Scott Ervin is a former Ohio public school educator. He says he's been developing alternative classroom discipline techniques since his career in education began more than a decade ago. He left the classroom in 2015 to run a for-profit business designed to teach adults new ways to handle some child behavior issues.  

"I have worked as a teacher, principal, discipline specialist, really concentrating on working with kids who could be termed 'at risk,' very high level of poverty in most of the kids," he says. "Lots of adverse childhood experiences have been experienced by my students, so I’ve use these skills and procedures to elicit the positive behaviors that I need for kids to be successful in my class, and they need to be successful in life."

Ervin says he also enjoys putting his years of school system experience to work to, "allow administrators to be educational leaders, instead of people who put out fires all day long," he says, "because, generally, really difficult kids often have low self-esteem and they'll have a lot of trust issues. So, when you say, 'I think you're fantastic!' the difficult kid is going to think, 'I'm not fantastic, and what do you want from me?"

Ervin not only uses behavioral control methods he's studied, such as what he calls, "The Nine Essential Skills for the Love and Logic Classroom," but skills and procedures he's developed that he says help, "create a more positive school climate where kids can enjoy learning and teachers can enjoy teaching."

Credit Jerry Kenney
Former Fairborn Primary School teacher, Ervin, used his disciplinary skills to work with the school's toughest kids.

The consultant says, "if a kid just came from an abusive situation at home, we're going to need to change his brain chemistry before he gets into the classroom, and that’s part of what we do make sure kids are ready to learn no matter what just happened at home."

In late July, Ervin will be in Yellow Springs for a three day conference detailing his approach to building relationships with kids. He will also host a workshop in early August for parents, teachers, and other childcare professionals to talk about his techniques. 

Listen to the interview:


Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.