How to stop "disrespectful joking"

Discussion in 'General Education' started by vita_bella, May 6, 2015.

  1. vita_bella

    vita_bella Rookie

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    May 6, 2015

    I´m a volunteer in an educational programme from a charity where we help children with difficulties to do their homework and play games with them. Their ages go from 11 to 14. Many of the guys have the habit of insulting each other while "joking", hitting each other, etc. We´ve been asking them over and over again not to do that, warning them that it can be hurtful and it could get out of hand, but they won´t listen (sometimes we call their parents, but some of the children don´t really care about it either).

    Today when the volunteers (me and another person) left the room for 20 seconds to get something and went back, they had started a fight and one of them was very ****** off (let´s call him A). Apparently, A had been getting gradually mad to another boy (let´s call him B) during the previous hour due to some of those "joking insults" and other dumb pranks and when a different boy (C) tried to pull a joke on A by putting his cap over his head, he reacted violently, hit C, and then B, C´s brother and another boy joined the fight against A. No one got seriously hurt, but A was very upset afterwards. A thought it was B who did the thing with his cap, hence his explosive reaction. We talked with all of them and all except B seemed to regret what had happened. B just kept justifying his behaviour and saying he´d done nothing wrong, although according to the rest of the children, he´d been the one who kicked A and hurt him most. B never acknowledges doing anything wrong or feels any remorse, and he keeps smiling while we are reprimanding him. I´m not sure if it is out of nervousness, or he actually finds it funny and enjoys it.

    We don´t know what to do with him, we´re a project that is supposed to help children but after many warnings and patience from our part he hasn´t changed his disrespectful behaviour towards the other children and the volunteers, and we don´t know what else to do. We are thinking about a giving him a temporary suspension (we´ve never done that before) and having a meeting with his parents. I know we shouldn´t have let it go this far, but we didn´t know what to do. What can we do to stop all the disrespectful joking/pranking especially from this boy who seems to do it not so innocently?

    (Forgive me if I made any mistakes, I´m Spanish)
     
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  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 6, 2015

    I just make sure that the boundaries are clear in my class. I don't care if they're "joking" or they're "friends". Disrespectful behavior towards people, property, or learning isn't tolerated. Breaking this rule results in consequences ranging from a time-out, to a parent phone call home, to lunch detention to practice being respectful, to an administrative support call.

    I call it out, every time, even for the smallest things that seem to be completely innocent. Because it DOES build up into real conflict. Kids their age often just don't realize that what they regard as playing around with their friends is actually crossing the boundaries and limits of their patience. If it happens enough, one straw can break the camels back.

    Same thing happens to teachers if they don't catch and stop behavior early enough and even the small things.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 6, 2015

    Set consequences and enforce them
    Don't leave kids unattended. You could face serious consequences yourself had the fight caused injury
    Keep the kids busy and engaged. Change things up. Bring in technology. Play learning games.
    Ask the administrators of your program for some training in behavior mgt.
     
  5. vita_bella

    vita_bella Rookie

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    May 7, 2015

    We´ve tried time out, calling their parents, letting them out of the games we were playing... But some of them just don´t take it seriously. Maybe it´s because this is not school, and they think nothing can really happen because there aren´t any grades, suspensions (until now), etc. I´ve been thinking maybe it could be a good idea to start evaluating their behaviour every term...
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 7, 2015

    You mention that your main strategy for this student is "warnings and patience". These should not be the main portion of your strategy. You can use time-outs, and parent calls, but if it doesn't happen consistently, kids are not going to get the message.

    You need to give a time out EVERY time he jokes inappropriately, or call home EVERY time he continues his behavior after the time-out. Kids like to see how much they can get away with before you start actually doing something. If you just warn and be patient, he knows he can do what he wants 2 or 3 or even more times until you finally give him a time-out.

    If you give him a time-out every single time he does it, he knows he won't have room to joke inappropriately, and will get the message that it's not tolerated.

    The time outs and warnings on their own do nothing. They may improve behavior once. What really has an effect on behavior is a clear message that you're going to do something about it each and every time.
     
  7. vita_bella

    vita_bella Rookie

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    May 8, 2015

    Thanks, that´s what we´ve finally decided to do, to have zero tolerance with that kind of behaviour. We´ve already informed the families about that and we´ve told them that from now on if we call one day because of their child´s behaviour, as a punishment next day they won´t be allowed to come (just that one day at first). I think after what happened the other day the kids will be more cooperative, although I´m sure the first days won´t be easy because they´re so used to that kind of "humour"...
     

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