The "Ignore it" Strategy

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Jan 26, 2018

    Here is why ignoring often doesn't work. If you only had 1 student in the class, ignoring has a decent chance of working. With more than 1 student, the child doesn't need you to impress. His farting noises (or other attention getting behavior) gets plenty of attention from other students. Therefore ignoring is a highly ineffective strategy most of the time.
     
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  2. JimG

    JimG Companion

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    Jan 26, 2018

    Address it again.
    Move the student.
    Call the parents.
    Write the student up.

    Pretty basic practices.
     
  3. Heliax

    Heliax Rookie

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    Jan 26, 2018

    I've found that acknowledging and praising positive behaviors (e.g. staying on task, acting cooperatively) in students who otherwise behave disruptively can help, especially is there are issues of self-esteem or attention at play.

    Another thing I like to do for classes with disruptive environments is primarily engage students in group work/collaborative activities that are chunked into smaller tasks; give them a framework for how to support one another positively in team settings, as well as separating "problem" students. A crucial part of how I implement this is having a group at a time present a different sub-task, and encouraging students to give both critical and positive feedback, so that students can develop academic and social evaluative skills. I also find that chunking the time can find a good balance for maintaining student concentration.

    A simplified of example of this for an 8th grade math class would be to give a very short summary of new ideas for the day's topic, then give each group of students in my class a difficult math problem solving task with many sections. I'll allocate a certain number of minutes for each section depending on difficulty, and when the time is up, I call a group up to present their solution to the class for that section. Cue feedback from class (e.g. solved it a different way, praising the clarity of a diagram). Rinse and repeat for each section of the problem.

    It's hard when you aren't able to enforce consequences, because for sure, there are times when they're necessary. Hopefully you can find a few more strategies for running your lessons and managing the classroom environment so that you reduce how often you get to the point of wanting to enforce consequences!
     
  4. CherryOak

    CherryOak Companion

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    Jan 26, 2018

    Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up too much. Dig in and keep going.
     
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  5. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    Jan 26, 2018

    It sounds like your hands are tied with regard to the range of behaviour management strategies you have at your disposal. Don’t beat yourself up about it because the admin policies are out of your control.

    I teach 8th grade. What I would say is try to build relationships. If you have a positive relationship they are more likely to behave better for you. Ring kids’ parents, find something you genuinely like about the kid and let his parents know that you have noticed this positive aspect. This is more likely to help build relationships with the parents and the kid. I have rung parents in the past to say that I’m glad a particular naughty kid is in my class, that he is funny and articulate and brings a smile to my day. And I do mean it. However, I do wish he would focus a bit more on his work otherwise his grades are likely to sufffer and it would be such a shame if that happened, because he is such a smart kid. So I have praised the kid as a person but brought up concerns about some of his choices, but not attacked the kid personally.

    Also, I’ll talk to the kids one to one, about neutral topics like sport or hobbies etc. Find out more about him and let him know something about you that he can relate to e.g. you like Tom Brady as a QB but he hates the Patriots or you both hate Brussel sprouts etc. Find some common ground and just have a chat. This could happen when the kids are doing work and you are walking around and stopping to have quick chats with students.

    If you cannot send a kid out of the class, then the kid can be moved to sit next to you. Explain to the kid that it’s not a punishment, because why would you punish someone whom you genuinely like, but rather you helping him to refocus because he hasn’t shown that he can focus when seated close to his mates. So again, you focus on the behaviour not the person.

    I personally don’t like the ignore it strategy especially at 8th grade because your silence on poor behaviour is a sign you don’t care, there are no consequences for poor choices and that the class can be a free for all. It also shows you don’t know how to deal with the kids and it lowers your authority as the boss of the class.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  6. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Cohort

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    Jan 27, 2018

    I think this is the issue and it gets other kids off track. I'm just going to try my best to make it through the semester. I'll inform my supervisor so I hopefully don't get penalized for the behavior in my observations.
     
  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Cohort

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    Jan 27, 2018

    Does anyone know how to teach a lesson without students talking over you? My issue is that whenever the lesson gets a too easy or too hard, the kids immediately disengage and start talking. I find this really stressful because I can't always teach the way that is the right level for every single student. Again, I feel like 8th graders should be able to pay attention for a few minutes. I think the a suggestion about more group work would work well. One thing that is going well is that my students do very well on classwork and like working together. I might need to keep direct instruction very short and have several classwork activities planned.
     
  8. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    When you are speaking to the class you should expect everyone to be paying attention, facing you, eyes on you and being quiet. You should make this expectation clear. Wait for them to be giving you their full attention before you speak. Don’t speak over them. You could say something like “I’m waiting for people to quiet before I start speaking” to remind students.
     
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  9. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Cohort

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    Jan 27, 2018

    I really like this idea! My mentor suggested slowing down and sometimes they just need a minute to settle down. I think this might work.
     
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  10. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    Jan 27, 2018

    It’s fine to stand in front of the class and wait. If the class knows your expectation, some kids will cotton in that you are waiting for their attention and start to shhh the other kids who haven’t cottoned on. When this is done enough times, you don’t even have to say a word and they will get it. Make sure you praise them when they have met your expectation quickly. ‘Thanks guys, I appreciate that you gave me your attention so quickly!’
     
  11. Heliax

    Heliax Rookie

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    Jan 27, 2018

    This. Alternately, start tallying vertical strikes on the board, one every 3 seconds. Let the class know that they can dial it in now, or whatever number of strikes they've accumulated will be minutes kept in (for their next period before recess/lunch).

    Something less passive-aggressive would be to let students expect a signpost phrase with instant (active) response, followed with 5 seconds to tune in after that phrase (kind of like the power teaching video posted earlier). Also featured in the video - short, sharp instruction. Keep it concise.

    Something I've used with elementary-aged kids would be to stand silently and hold up a hand, whilst looking around to room, getting eye contact to gather attention and quieten a class.

    I've also had a teacher when I was at school simply lower his voice down to a whisper.
     
  12. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    Jan 27, 2018

    Like previous posters have said, just don't talk over them. Wait until everyone is settled and then begin. If they are trained to talk over the teacher, they will continue to do it. I give a warning (i.e. "I'm starting back up again in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1") and then I wait... and wait... and it usually doesn't take a class long to settle down and listen. Once they're settled you can use your mentor teacher's line "I'll let you get back to those great math conversations again in a minute. Right now I need you to listen to this part so you know what you're doing when you go back."
     
  13. JimG

    JimG Companion

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    Jan 27, 2018

    Additionally, a general rule of thumb for attention span is one minute for every year of age. For eighth graders, if you are stand-and-delivering for around thirteen minutes or longer, you are going to have antsy kids. Chunk it up between short intervals of teacher-centered lecture and student-centered practice. It is fine if a set of notes takes twenty-five minutes, but chunk it up.
     
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  14. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Cohort

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    Jan 27, 2018

    This is really good advice, thank you!

    Yesterday, in my other class (without the students and the noises) my issue was that we went through one example as a class that took about 8-10 minutes (with students trying parts on their own and one turn and talk.) After they were done, I wanted to set them up to work on a different example in partners. My mentor told me to just let them do the whole thing themselves but I wanted to take about 30 seconds to talk about how it was different from the first as a class. I think I might have lost the class here when I tried to do this and my mentor was also passing out their classwork. Maybe I need to communicate better with my mentor? The beginning of the lesson went really well for this class but this is where I lost them.
     
  15. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    Jan 27, 2018

    This has been a useful thread for me too, as I'm student teaching in an inner city school with a lot of behavior issues in the classes. I'll be formally taking over a lot more starting Monday so I definitely could use the pointers.
     
  16. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    Jan 27, 2018

    As teachers we plan in our heads how we would like a lesson to run e.g. we do this for 10 mins then move on to this for 15 mins etc. However, sometimes you have to play it by ear and this comes with experience and also knowing your students. If the beginning part of the lesson was running well and students were on task and doing what they were supposed to, I wouldn’t break up the momentum even if the plan was to do something different after 10 mins. I’d let them continue working the way they were working until there was a natural break or the momentum and concentration has run its natural course. Then I would move on to the next thing I had planned.
     
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  17. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Jan 29, 2018

    Yikes. Just...wow.

    Today was the first day of our second semester, so I've just finished going over my rules and expectations to three different classes. Mind you, I have high school sophomores, but trust me when I say that a few of them are still in an 8th grade mentality.

    My classroom rules are simple, and they work together:
    1. Allow your teacher to teach.
    2. Allow your classmates to learn.
    3. Be responsible for your own learning.
    4. Accept the consequences of your choices.

    It took me almost 15 years of teaching and countless tries at classroom rules to settle on these four (there's a fifth which says "Follow all school and district rules" which covers things like tardies, attendance, dress code, cell phones, food/drink). My four classroom rules really put the responsibility on the kid. Often they don't stop and realize how their behavior is impacting me or their classmates. I am sure to tell them from day one that I'm not going to nag them to be involved in my class. If they want to fail, that's their choice. If they want to take a nap or stare at the wall day in and day out, that's their choice. But they cannot do anything that prevents me from teaching or their classmates from learning. If they are interested in learning, I'm here for them and will help them. If they choose to be disruptive, they must accept the consequence of that choice (disciplinary action). If they choose to sleep, they must accept the consequence of that choice, and so on.

    I will say, though, that during less structured parts of class (like today they filled out definitions on a chart of literary terms that they'll use as a reference for the rest of the semester), I don't mind them chatting a little as long as they're getting the work accomplished. And during times like that, if I need to tell them something, I might say something like, "I need your attention for a second, and then I'll hush and leave you alone, I promise."

    But if I'm teaching and a student is being disruptive enough that I have to stop and address it, I remind him/her that he/she is breaking my number one rule and I do not appreciate it.
     
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  18. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Cohort

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    Feb 5, 2018

    Today was my first time teaching without my mentor in the room. She was pulling a several kids to test. I had a lot of behavior issues even with only about 8-12 kids in the class. (Granted, I did have some of the more challenging kids in the class.)

    Some of my issues were:
    -so many kids getting out of these seats and walking in and out of the room
    -a girl throwing paper balls and refusing to pick them up
    -boys yelling across the room for the entire class period
    -students writing on whiteboards instead of doing the math and participating
    -a boy and a girl throwing a ball
    -way too much off task behavior
    -a boy who said that he was getting a computer instead of the assignment, only stopped when I said that his choice was to stay and do his assignment or go to the reflection room
    -two boys refusing to go back to their seats for the exit ticket

    I'm feeling very stressed and anxious after today. My mentor was really supportive with write ups and parents phone calls but I have no idea how I can make it through the semester. The management has never been this bad before when my mentor was in the room but I realize that a lot of that could have been that she was there. But am I really cut out to be a teacher if I can't manage 12 kids in a classroom by myself?? Will I have more authority when I am the regular teacher? This honestly terrifies me.

    During class, I feel like I am running around all class and I barely have a moment to breathe. I have to help a student, address behavior, help a student, address behavior, and so on. The issue might have been that I ignored the behavior from the start? I was planning on doing a whole class discussion today but it would be impossible to even bring the whole class together for anything when the kids were behaving like this.

    I'm wondering if I need more consequences for the kids because I am constantly nagging them and I am tired of it. I had one student move seats today and he refused to move to the seat that I asked him to. He moved to a different seat but I didn't want to get into a power struggle with other kids to move seats. The kid who got the computer only stopped when I said that he would need to go to the reflection room if he made that choice. This is really not a consequence that my mentor wanted me to use but I really did not know what else to do at this point of the class.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  19. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Habitué

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    Feb 5, 2018

    It gets better! Student teaching was the roughest part of my teaching career too. I think you automatically get a little more respect/authority when you become the "actual teacher" than when you are the "student teacher". Hopefully this experience will let you know what type of district you would like to work in. Do you want to work in a school where this is a major concern, or do you want to work in an area where behavior is a non-issue?

    I know for a fact that if I taught in an urban middle school (or likely high school) that I wouldn't last, and probably wouldn't consider myself a "good" teacher for students who don't show interest in learning, but in my suburban high school, I consider myself an "excellent" teacher, and I never have to worry about any rude or disruptive behavior. One of the biggest benefits of student teaching to me was seeing where I did not want to end up teaching.

    I think you obviously need more consequences, but I don't know what I can even suggest as it seems your mentor wants to be in charge of that aspect of things. I know you mentioned in another thread that you don't like letting them listen to music, but I found in that type of situation, that they are less of a distraction to others (and less of a headache to the teacher) if they can listen to music while they work. Maybe this can even be a privilege they earn.
     
  20. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Cohort

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    Feb 6, 2018

    I see what you are saying about the district. I have always wanted to work with underserved populations and I actually have a two year commitment to a high needs district. I love (most) of the kids but classroom management has been the hardest part of this. I subbed in a suburban district and even as a sub, I did not deal with this level of misbehavior.

    I will consider the music! It would work if I chose some calming music from my computer to play but I wouldn't let a student pick the song. My mentor as allowed this and the students always come up to her computer to change it, etc.
     

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