Pretending not to understand

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Lovetoteach15, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. Lovetoteach15

    Lovetoteach15 Rookie

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    Dec 7, 2013

    I noticed a pattern where one of my bright students had begun to ask me for help on things a lot more recently. This student makes good grades and is above grade level in all subjects. This started to look suspicious to me, so I had a conversation with the student, where the student admitted to me that he was faking it at times to get my attention. I told the student there are better ways to get my attention (this student already was one that received a lot of extra attention from me anyway).

    I thought things were improving after our talk but I've noticed the constant asking for help has started back up again. I am having trouble distinguishing if the student really does need my help or if the student just wants to be with me.

    I am always willing to help those who need it, but with a lot of students below grade-level in my room, I feel that I need to work more one-on-one with the struggling students rather than spending my time with this one student if my help isn't actually needed.

    The student in question is very, very attached to me so I think this is part of why this behavior is occurring. Any suggestions?
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Dec 7, 2013

    Not sure how well this will be taken, but I did something a few years ago that worked in a similar situation. I pretty much ignored the requests for help, telling the student to go ahead and try some more, ask a peer if necessary and I would get over to him when I finished with other students/doing what I needed to do. At first it worked immediately and the student just went ahead and did what he needed to do. He caught on though, and would play dumb, being pretty stubborn. So I made sure that whatever did not get done in class was homework. Then when I postponed helping on a problem and he refused to work ahead, he had more homework than his classmates.

    It took a while. And I had to do some pretty trivial things at my desk under the guise of being busy to make him kick it into gear on his own.
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Dec 7, 2013

    What grade do you teach?

    I was a "talented and gifted" student who was very well behaved in school. I remember, in elementary school, feeling jealous that other kids got pulled out for special services or got called to the teacher's table for extra help. Other students got stickers on behavior cards when they were good, but I just was expected to behave with no reward. I grew out of this, of course, but I would guess it is probably pretty normal for younger students to feel this way.

    Are you finding other ways to reward these students? Stickers or notes home for good behavior would be easy and not take up much time for the teacher. Consider giving these kids a job. They can help other students or do special projects for you when they are done. Alternatively, if they are frequent early finishers, you could give them a more challenging project that will make them feel more engaged and less likely to reach out to you for help (like a diorama or poster board display). It may also help to have a classwide discussion about how some people need more help than others to provide everyone with a fair education.
     
  5. Lovetoteach15

    Lovetoteach15 Rookie

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    Dec 7, 2013

    I teach second grade.

    Thank you for the ideas about having extra homework for incomplete work and giving extra projects/ notes home for good behavior. I like the idea of the classroom discussion about how some people need more help than others.

    I think you are probably right about the student getting jealous of others. I still remember a time when earlier this year I called one of my students sweet and this particular student heard this and said to me - "but I'm sweeter, right?" So maybe part of it is him just feeling the way that otterpop described.
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Dec 7, 2013

    I would also suggest that you have the student remind you of the directions or process instead of you providing the information. This way you can provide the positive attention that he is so desperately seeking.
     
  7. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Dec 7, 2013

    Another thing I remembered... Sometimes instead of answering the student directly I will go to the board and reteach the whole class. The question gets answered but the attention is given to everyone.
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 7, 2013

    I also think this is a cry for attention. He might just need praise from you, or he might need some other type of work to keep him challenged. It's so easy to forget about the quiet students or those who don't need help, when we are trying to deal with those who obviously need our attention.

    I remember when I was in elementary school I would be so annoyed when the teacher wouldn't call on me when I raised my hand. She knew that I knew the answer (even told me so), and she wanted to give the opportunity to those who hardly ever raised their hands or were struggling. IT was hard for me to understand at that age. I didn't act out those, but I did want the teacher's attention. So I think it's the same thing here.
     

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