Attention Seeking Behavior

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I have a student who demonstrates many attention seeking behaviors. I am looking for the best way to manage his behavior and not let it disrupt the class.

    This student is a very capable student and completes all work in my class with quality. It is strange because my class is one of the only classes where he completes all work. He is not doing well in his other classes and I think it is because math is pretty easy for him. I am honestly shocked that he's learning so much and doing so well when his behavior is so bad. Here are the behaviors he exhibits:

    -Giving the wrong answer on purpose or refusing to explain an answer when I ask him to
    -Yelling out in class when he isn't supposed to: for example, if the kids are chatty, I usually say 'I'm going to start writing down names of students who are holding us up" and he will yell "that won't help!" Last week, we did one of those worksheets where they have a riddle when you finish the problems. He finished it in 5 minutes and started yelling out the answer to the riddle to the class. Today, I was redirecting the whole class when they were too loud and said "it is too loud in here, we need to stay focused." and he yelled "I know, right?"
    -I had a sub on Friday and she said he was yelling out random things during classwork.
    -He has started having loud coughing fits on purpose while I'm teaching
    -I tell the kids every day not to recycle their work and put it in their binder. Most kids listen. This student instead makes a big deal about recycling his work anyways. He left his papers on the floor today. I made him pick them up before his science class at the end of the day. He made a big deal about it and said he will recycle it anyways.
    -He had a detention with me today. He completed his weekly homework early and then loudly asked if he could recycle it (before it was put into the gradebook). I said he could put it in his binder or the turn in tray. He chose to put it in the turn in tray.
    -His other teachers tell me that he is sometimes proud of losing work in their class and that he throws assignments that he is still working on in the recycling bin. They also say he is proud of his failing grades in their classes.
    -He was pretending to talk on the phone during detention (his phone wasn't out.) He obviously wanted me to come over and try to confiscate a phone. I chose to ignore it. (There were a few other kids in my room at the time, so he was likely trying to get attention.)
    -He was banging his desk and coughing loudly during detention.
    -Throws things in class (bits of paper, etc.)
    -Sometimes refuses to take his hood off. He doesn't refuse anymore because I told him that if he doesn't take his hood off, he won't be allowed to wear a hoodie. But he makes a big deal about it and I have to ask him every day.

    He is constantly seeking peer attention. I feel bad for him because I know his home life is chaotic. But it seems like he is putting on a show every day. I seat him with the only student who will actually sit with him and work with him and they do a good job getting their work done. The social worker says that he likes the attention of being a "bad kid" and getting in trouble with the teacher.

    He really struggles with peer relationships and most of the other kids don't like him. He was crying in class yesterday and told me after class that two girls were calling him garbage, saying he didn't shower, etc. He was apparently bothering the girls in science class and they've been spoken to.

    I'm not sure if giving positive attention would work. He sometimes asks to sit independently and does a really nice job and I give him positive attention for it. But again, it seems like he likes getting in trouble with the teacher. He hasn't asked to work independently in a while. He is much better behaved and less rude when I am speaking with him individually compared to in front of his peers.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Mar 27, 2019

    Have you tried giving him a classroom job?
     
  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I don't have classroom jobs. I usually have two students collect Do Now's every day and another kid pass out handouts for the day. I usually let him help out but a lot of kids raise their hands to help so I don't call on him every day.

    A classroom job might be a good idea.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
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  5. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    Have you tried talking to him individually and being straight with him? “You are doing x, y, and z in class, and it is not acceptable because of a, b, and c. What do we need to do to get this behavior under control?”
     
  6. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Yes. There have been times where he is so defiant that he has refused to talk. He’s been a little bit better about talking recently. The social worker said that it was great that he spoke with me about the girls making fun of him because usually he would keep that to himself.

    Today, I spoke with him about how the yelling is unacceptable. He completed a reflection form in his detention. But he really just responds “ok” but isn’t willing to actually have a conversation. It is really strange. I’ve had a conversation with him before about defiant behavior and he said “i like being defiant and I’m always defiant.”
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I think he's bored.
    Also, even if you don't have classroom jobs, can you find something for him to do? For example he got his work done early and did it right, have him staple papers, do anything he could do.
     
  8. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    We aren’t allowed to do this but I have challenges when they’re done early.
     
  9. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    It sounds like you are making progress with him which is great! Keep building that relationship.

    Since you mentioned he has a social worker, I’d imagine much of his sense of control in his personal life has been stripped away which is sad. I would argue that much of his defiant behavior is rooted in trying to regain some control in his decisions, even if it means negative decisions. You might try to come up with two to three options to redirect his problematic behavior, as long as you are okay with whichever option he chooses.
     
  10. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    He was very badly behaved today. He refused to remove his hood, was yelling, and was imitating me as I was teaching. I wrote it up and admin talked to him. They told me to call the office if these behaviors continue tomorrow.
     
  11. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    What grade is this?
     
  12. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    6th
     
  13. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I am still really struggling with this,

    -Today, he refused to take his hood off. I called the social worker and she took his hoodie since this has happened so many times. I’m wondering if I should just let it go...I feel like he wears his hood up to get attention.
    -I passed back a graded classwork before the kids took their test. I told the kids to keep it in their binders and that they can correct or complete it if they finish their test early. He got out of his seat and yelled “I’m going to recycle it!” He makes a big deal of recycling things in my class when because I tell the kids not to recycle stuff until the unit is over. He takes pride in tossing his notes in the recycling bin on his way out of my room every day.
    -We took a test today and he was picking off pieces of his privacy folder and throwing tossing them. I told him that he would have to fix the privacy folder after school today, at which he yelled, “do you have tape? I would need tape!”
    -A few kids were talking when I was, so I said “I’m talking now.” He chose to yell “oh really!”
    -He didn’t come after school. I called the social worker (because she has him after school today) and she sent him. I had him pick up 5 things off the floor and clean up the pencil sharpener area...I figure this is a.m natural consequence of being destructive? He seemed to like the attention again, as I had other kids in my room.
     
  14. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Apr 2, 2019

    A program that might be worth your time not only for this student but, also, whole class is Responsibility Training. RT uses the peer group to monitor behavior. RT makes a hero out of alienated students, especially ones who want to be popular but don't know how.
     
  15. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    called mom today and was told that she does not want to receive phone calls about his behavior every week...sigh
     
  16. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    That’s how this student is. The other kids don’t really like him but he wants their attention.
     
  17. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Well, then maybe her special snowflake should shape up! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, obviously!
     
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  18. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Yep. Negative attention is better than nothing. If his peers didn't snicker, roll their eyes, make snide remarks etc. his behavior would likely extinguish quickly. If you try to ignore his antics it likely will have little effect since reinforcement from the peer group cancels out ignoring as a strategy and delivers his reward. This is not the kid to try lectures or heart-to-heart chats with either. If you do pull him aside it merely verifies that his behavior is getting to you and, again, more attention for the wrong behavior. What grade levels do you have at your school?
     
  19. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    6th-8th. He has a detention with me next week but again, I think he likes detentions.
     
  20. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Detention could be a ‘safe haven’ for him, especially if he feels his home life is rubbish (seeing as his mum doesn’t seem to care too much), then why wouldn’t he want to spend more time in school, with a teacher who has taken notice of his actions, even if they are bad.
     
  21. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    The science teacher said that he used to keep asking if he would get detentions for his behaviors. His attention seeking behaviors are really bad in detention. Lots of banging tables, talking, etc. After he shredded his privacy folder, I made him come after school and pick up stuff off the floor as a consequence and he seemed to like it again.
     
  22. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    If whatever you are doing - detention, calling parents, using the office etc. - are working you will know almost immediately. You should find the behavior becoming less and less due to the intervention until it goes away never to return. If you find no change or it becomes less for a day or two then returns it should be a signal there is something amiss with the intervention. This could mean the method is not working because it is not being performed correctly, or it is being performed correctly but is the wrong method for the particular student.
     
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  23. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I'm just not sure what to do because he likes negative attention that I give him. But if I ignore the behavior, he still gets peer attention. I might try to isolate him so he is sitting around kids who won't give him attention for his behavior. It's hard to find in this class though.
     
  24. rpan

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    Any chance he can go to a buddy class that preferably has engaged and motivated students who won’t give him the attention he craves when he is acting out particularly badly? Or is there a quiet room with admin where he doesn’t have any attention or interaction?
     
  25. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    We are not allowed to send kids out.

    I didn't have that class today (due to testing) but I saw a group with him and a few other kids in the hallways and not heading towards science class. I told them to get to class or they would be tardy and he yelled "we want to be tardy." They went to class and he comes back out to get water (likely without permission), the bell rang, and he yelled "now I'm tardy!"

    I spoke with another teacher who said he chose to cough loudly, fall out of his chair, etc. during standardized testing.
     
  26. Teacher234

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    For the students who react to the inappropriate behavior, maybe try assigning them detention. In this case, make sure they understand that this would be the consequence for encouraging further disruptive.
    Maybe you could try a behavioral intervention plan:
    -On an index card, you could put a star for every class period he shows a good effort to behavior and remain in control. Maybe 5 stars=lunch with you or after school time with you
    For the other students:
    -Maybe you could incorporate Math Centers and assign groups at random to rotate. The math centers do not have to be play dough or polka dancing, but related to your lesson like task cards.

    If you want to go in another direction, possibly fidget toys could work.
     
  27. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Good to read you are not afraid to manage students outside the classroom. Many of his antics are backtalk as was the incident in the hallway. The best way to backtalk is to have someone talk to you. If no one talks to you there is no material to frame your backtalk around. Giving verbal commands - directions, warnings etc. always run the risk some lippy student will use your speaking as the topic sentence for their backtalk. In most cases the majority of students are not looking to test the teacher, garner attention or start a fight. They remain silent and cooperate.

    If you know you are dealing with a backtalk artist based on past experience the odds go way up you will experience more of the same if you open your mouth. Staying silent when provoked is unnatural. Your brain will be screaming "Do something!" If you follow this logic your mouth tends to pop open. Out come the little gems the student will use for verbal volleyball. If you remain calm and don't speak the student has no material to build his attention getting theater act.

    Not speaking does not mean to ignore his behavior. It means to use your body as in body language to say what your mouth was going to say. With the group in the hall instead of verbally telling them, calmly walk directly at them until you are part of their group. Stand, make eye contact and say nothing. Look bored. They will not like you close by. To get rid of you they will have to move. Follow them like herding cattle. Say nothing. When they get to the door, and this is optional, finally speak, "Thanks for getting to class on time."
     
  28. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Today was rough with this student. He exhibited the following behaviors:
    - Came into my class after the bell and yelled "now I'm tardy!"
    - Had a negative comment for everything that was said.
    - Pretending to spit on the floor or actually spitting on the floor. I told him I would have to speak with him after class if it continued and it did continue. He yelled "I don't care if I get written up." He left before I could pull him. I spoke with the VP about something else and told her about the spitting and she pulled him from lunch for a detention.

    I'm very confused. I have no idea if this kid hates me because it seems like it. I am going to make him stay for his detention tomorrow.
     
  29. TeacherGroupie

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  30. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I had a student that sounds a bit like yours once, although mine wouldn't/couldn't even get any work done. He was 16 but presented more like a six-year-old. He would talk to himself, sing, and call out almost non-stop. He would destroy anything I gave him -- tearing up papers into little bits, breaking pencils and pens, etc. I knew he was living in a group home and reached out to his social worker -- turns out the boy had been essentially abandoned by his drug-addicted parents and had been found living alone with his little brother, when they were about 10 and 6, respectively. They were "caught" because he was stealing food for them to eat. Not that this excused his behavior per se, but understanding why it was happening helped me be patient and keep working to try to meet him where he was.

    For your student, I would be on high alert for signs of abuse and neglect, especially given mom's reaction to your phone calls, along with the extreme behavior and emotional issues. I would look into why the girls are saying he doesn't shower -- is he malodorous? This could be a sign of neglect. If you have reasonable suspicions, call CPS.

    Also, the one thing that actually helped (a teensy bit!) with my student was forging a relationship with him, even when he was on my last nerve. I would ask him about his shoes, clothes, etc. I found out he was really into fashion and we talked about French fashion (I teach French as well as ELD, at the time). He started to at least talk about something semi-connected to class/reality. My favorite was when he decided I must drive a Bugatti because I speak French, lol! It's so hard to see past the behaviors, especially when you're trying to manage 30+ others at the same time, but there is a kid in there who needs help, I guarantee you.
     
  31. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Yesterday, he was walking through the hallways yelling "I hate life!!"

    His behaviors were improved in class today and yesterday. He was less of a disruption but still seeking attention. Yelling out, etc. but it was manageable. For example, I said "I need eyes up here" and he said "no!" He asked to sit independently and the other kids are good at ignoring him.

    At the end of class, he got out of his seat and yelled to me "I'm going to recycle this...ok??" He LOVES the attention he gets by recycling his work. It is ONLY because I tell the kids to put their work in their binders. How would you handle this?

    I think he really is a sweet kid but the attention seeking behaviors are ridiculous.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  32. TrademarkTer

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    I think it is time for an open-notes quiz!
     
  33. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    This kid would get an A anyways. His behavior sucks but he does really well in my class haha
     
  34. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Ignore the recycling and let natural consequences happen.
     
  35. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    This is what I do. I did make him come back and pick up his work when it was thrown on the floor rather than the recycling. But I just let him recycle it and honestly this kid doesn't really need his notes. He does well anyways. But even though I ignore it, he still yells to me that he is going to recycle his work. I wonder if I just need to give him more positive attention. He likes prizes from my prize box.

    The English teacher said that he tossed an assignment that they were still working on in the recycling bin lol
     
  36. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Ignore the yelling, too. Ignore all yelling unless it's interfering in the learning process. No reaction at all - complete nonissue.

    Be careful about rewarding kids who have chronic behavior issues. Read "Punished by Rewards" if you get the chance. Rewarding is different from positive attention, though. You can give praise for his doing the right thing without giving tangible items. I think the positive attention would be good for him because it's attention he wants.
     
  37. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Yeah, I give kids prizes when they complete challenges correctly if they finish their work early. That is when I reward him with prizes and he really likes to do challenges for prizes.

    I'm wondering if he likes positive attention or if he only likes negative attention?
     
  38. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    I'm sure he likes any attention you'll give him.
     

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