Behavior Problems

Discussion in 'General Education' started by m2kd, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. m2kd

    m2kd Rookie

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    Sep 11, 2015

    I am having behavior problems with my class and was hoping to receive some advice and suggestions. I work at a school where the teacher in the previous grade has admitted to having no structure, order, or routine in her classroom. She coddles the students and talks baby talk to them. As a result, the students in my class have no idea how to behave in a classroom. I started out the year teaching one rule per day. We discussed the importance of each rule and they wrote about it. However, nothing seems to stick with this class because they were never expected to do anything (even taking a book out of their desk is a challenging task that can take up to five minutes to complete). Last year their day consisted of playing with toys, eating snacks, laying on the floor, and being given stickers. Many of the standards in the previous grade were not even covered, so along with trying to correct behavior, I am trying to teach them what they should have learned last year in addition to this year's curriculum. Their previous teacher instilled the belief that school is a place of free time where it is acceptable to scream out and crawl around on the floor (I correct this every time, but they just don't care). This way of thinking seems to run so deep and I am at a loss for what else to do. I have a marble jar but they don't care about earning marbles. I have taken minutes away from their free time, but it doesn't bother them. The parents at my school have been contacted, but do not seem to care much either. I am open to any and all suggestions. Thanks in advance.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, there are three students who actually behave appropriately. Due to this, I have been trying to avoid whole class consequences since these particular students were not the ones breaking the rules or acting out. I feel bad when I have to stop our daily read aloud that they were enjoying because everyone else was misbehaving and not paying attention.
     
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  3. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Sep 12, 2015

    You have to keep practicing, practicing, practicing.
    You might want to think about a reward that is more attainable in the short-term rather than a marble jar. Start it with something like "I will give you xxx amount of extra recess this afternoon for every time we do xxx..." Whatever the goal is, increase it, making the reward more challenging to achieve. But, again, the important thing is they will need a reward now, not in months when they finally fill that jar.
    As far as taking 5 minutes to get their books out, time them. Reward them if they beat their previous time.
    I know you may think "how will I have time to give them so much recess/free time?" If you shave three minutes off of every transition, you will have plenty of time. And, remember, it is important to make the reward increasingly difficult to obtain.
     
  4. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Sep 12, 2015

    You could do a "mystery student" for every transition. Set a timer (on the smartboard if you have one so they can all see it) and give a direction. Set the timer for x minutes. Let them know that you have a mystery student in mind, and if that student completes the direction in that time limit, he or she will earn a sticker.

    In fact, I suggest a timer for everything. If you give a reasonable time limit on something that's been practiced, and not everyone has completed it, move on anyway. For example, if all books aren't out in x minutes, then keep going with your lesson. The ones playing around (and that is what they're doing) will scramble to catch up.

    Also, teach more than one rule a day. Maybe they're bored by one? Remember, too, that students will meet expectations as high OR LOW as we set them. Challenge them!
     
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  5. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Sep 12, 2015

    Wow! It sounds like this class needs you, and that you are doing a great job seeking to meet their needs for learning structure. I'm sure your efforts will pay off in the end.

    I had a couple of ideas. I'm assuming this is a first grade or Kindergarten class. Perhaps showing a video each day, such as Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, which emphasizes order and structure, would help condition the students to a more structured environment.

    Also, perhaps some Pavlovian conditioning would be helpful, where certain signals begin certain behaviors. I once read about a teacher who used part of a tune for each transition in his classroom. Sometimes Dollar Stores sell little buttons that make various sounds that could be used.
     
  6. lilia123

    lilia123 Companion

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    Sep 12, 2015

    I went through a similar situation at the beginning of last year. The teacher who was their the year prior let the students just play on the I-pads all day and had zero structure. She insisted you couldn't do more than 15 minutes of work in Reading or Math a day with these children (this is an Autism class). When I took over last year the children were very resistant to doing any work. I started with instant rewards for on task behavior (stickers, fruit loops, etc.). They did eventually build up the ability to work for appropriate blocks of time. The timer is also a good ideas and works for typically functioning as well as special needs children. Doing the same routine everyday will begin to catch on with all children. Just hang in there and keep trying it will get better.

    Also, I was just wondering what does the school say about this teacher. I couldn't imagine any principal I have worked with allowing a classroom to run like that no matter what grade.
     
  7. m2kd

    m2kd Rookie

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    Sep 15, 2015

    Thank you so much for your responses. I tried some of your suggestions, but nothing seems to work with this group. I have been teaching for several years and have never encountered a class like this one. :dizzy:
     
  8. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Sep 15, 2015

    Would it be possible for you to use a stopwatch to use as an indicator of the amount it takes the children to settle down and listen? The exact amount of time that the stopwatch indicates will be the amount of time that the children will have to stay in the classroom during recess. Of course, this policy would be explained to the children before it is put in place.

    I was in a similar situation at the middle and high school level in a neighborhood that was and is considered very rough. The classes consisted of students with a long history of behavioral and emotional issues. From week one, many students would say, "I never do any of my work anyway." It didn't matter who their previous teachers were or how skilled any of their teachers were--the students behaved in this manner with any teacher. One of the first things I had done was to write positive notes home to parents as soon as the student showed even the slightest amount of effort.

    My hats off to you for refusing to give up on a challenging class!
     

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