What to do with kids who just don't care about learning?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by allyv, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. allyv

    allyv Rookie

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    Nov 12, 2010

    I want to know what everyone's thought here is on the issue of teaching a child (ages say, 8-12) to care about what they are being taught and to do their best (in a school/classroom-like setting).

    I am a college student studying to become an art teacher, and have been given an opportunity to teach in a small community center and I have encountered a few kids who just could give a rats ass about what you are teaching them, and thus, they become disruptive and even angry sometimes. For example, I had one kid who absolutely REFUSED to take instruction from me, and everything I told him to do he did the opposite. This kid also has problem with poking fun of this one girl who is overweight and he calls her names for it, in front of her and behind her back, regardless of how many times people have told him not to. When I am in the middle of explaining things, he would often disrupt me on purpose because he finds it boring. These children do not have to be here, they or their parents are not paying for it, it is a free service, and I am a volunteer trying to get some experience. They do not pass or fail, as they do not receive grades, so their negative behaviors are not being punished. I would like to really teach the kids who care, and they often become quiet and nervous when this kid and others like him act up. I want to try to get him to care and behave, but I am not here to be his mother, and I feel like if he or others aren't going to care, then they should not be in my class. I don't want to kick them out, I feel a bit bad about it, but I feel like it is the best thing I can do for the others so that they can have a better environment for learning.

    Since I am a beginner, I have no idea what would be the right way to handle situations like this. I am hoping some one out there could help out? :confused:
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 12, 2010

    There are kids who refuse to learn. What you have to do in that situation, in my opinion, is get kids invested in you and the class. If you can get them to want to be in your room and to want to listen to you, the learning will come. It's about developing a strong rapport with all your students, an even stronger rapport with those students who can be challenging, and setting up a welcoming classroom atmosphere.

    If he is bullying other students, you have an obligation to address that. Address it with him privately, away from his peers. Try approaching him in a caring way, letting him know that you care about him and about his success but that what he is doing is not acceptable and you know that he is better than that. Some kids respond positively to that. Others do not, however, and if he is in that category, you need to remove him. You can't allow him to tease others and call them names.
     
  4. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Nov 12, 2010

    <<get kids invested in you>>

    The end.
     
  5. allyv

    allyv Rookie

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    Nov 12, 2010

    I actually really like the idea of addressing it with him privately, and saying positive things to him. I think I will do that next time around.
     
  6. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Nov 12, 2010

    You'll be miles ahead if you can achieve the goal of having all your kids invovled in what you're teaching. It's a frustration a lot of teachers deal with. Have you looked at the book Teaching with Love and Logic? Also look at the site Whole Brain Teaching. If you're employed in a public school you'll have to become a master at this and it will be easier because you'll have the kids every day for a whole school year.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Chalk

    Chalk Companion

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    Nov 13, 2010

    This is a community center and not a school? Toss his butt out of your class and roll on. Only when you get paid should you feel like you have to play all the games with a recalcitrant student. This is nether the time or place to be forced to learn classroom management for disruptive punks. Talk to his parents and your supervisor, but remember you are a volunteer and as such you have no professorial obligation to this kids learning and he has not obligation to learn. You don't have any authority to back you up so don't loose sleep over this kid. It would be different if you were in a school setting, you would have resources and consequences to aid you in coaxing this kid to learn, but in this setting..... bring down the hammer and let his parents know why you gave him the hard goodbye.

    (WOW, I am really feeling grumpy today, hard hard week at school last week)
     
  8. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Nov 13, 2010

    Sometimes when you are presenting a lesson to the students, you must pique their curiosity and entice them to want to see more. "Teaching" them in a community center might be perceived as a drag or a bummer or whatever the kids call it now. Sometimes teaching has to be disguised, embedded in the activity.

    You start the lesson inviting them to become involved with it. Find something they might like, show them a model of it, see if they want to do it, explain that it requires cooperation and getting along to get the project accomplished. Bring a few items to motivate them; stickers or pencils or bookmarks for trying and being good. Or even bring items to show them that they might want to see; rocks or pictures. Find ways to MAKE them want to sit in their seat and listen to every word that you say...this is part inquiry. Ask them more questions, pull them in.

    OMG, it takes a while to get the hang of it and then to hold on to it, but you can get these kids to eat out of your hand. If this child can't be won over then maybe it would be better for all that he isn't part of the discovery and fun...
     
  9. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Nov 13, 2010

    I had a student who refused to work with other students (they were "below" him). So I told him he could do his science project by himself, though I warned him that it was a lot of work and the project was designed to be done with a small group of 2-3 students.

    By the end of it, he told me he had difficulties finishing it and realized that it would have gone a lot better if he had worked in a group. The next time we had to do a project, he gladly worked with other people--- he even came to learn how to compliment their hard work too.

    If this boy just can't handle working in a group, give him opportunities to work by himself, doing a project or some other objective. Perhaps he will do an awesome job and will show you he can meet whatever criteria it is that he has to in this class, but perhaps he'll learn to appreciate a teacher's wisdom in teaching skills and ideas when he can't complete the task. Either way, you two should learn to respect one another-- this is frustrating for a teacher (trust me I go through it too) but sometimes the teacher has to accept that a student has a right to do it his or her own way.
     
  10. allyv

    allyv Rookie

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    Nov 13, 2010

    Really awesome responses everyone! Thanks!

    I know that since I am not in a public school, I have no obligation to take the heat some disruptive and reluctant kids give me, especially since I have no real way to punish them for their behavior (like failing grades). But I do plan to be a real teacher one day, and I was thinking if I should look at this as a learning opportunity for when time comes for me to enter a real classroom and deal with things like this. My goal is to get all kids to appreciate and love art, because I feel like everyone looks at it the wrong way. I want them to see it the way I do, as a real intellectual subject, critical for developing our minds. But then again, I also feel like I have a job to teach the kids who care, because some of them reeealllly do care. Getting him to work by himself only makes him leave the center. Any form of rough discipline, actually, gets him to leave. He walks here and he walks home.. by himself.. at the age of 11! O_O So obviously, something isn't too right with this kid :/

    And Heavens54, that is exactly what I think about doing! And yeah, it is really hard getting the hang of it. I thought it was going to be easy, but once it got down to it, I noticed I wasn't doing it as perfectly as I thought, especially if there is a misbehaving kid in class. With time though. I'm only JUST beginning! :p

    Anyway, thanks a bunch for the responses everyone, I love reading what others have to say. I will look into that book too, and I was actually suggested to get 'teach like a champion' from my professor. I hope they are good! :)
     
  11. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Nov 13, 2010

    I think that you caring is the major ingredient. Let's hope he wakes up and realizes what a great opportunity he has to learn from you...
     
  12. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Nov 13, 2010

    If you can find the magic antidote to apathy, let us know.

    One of my personal quotes I throw out to my (high school) students is "If you're not curious by nature, your learning will be limited." Most of them in our school are not curious about anything.

    When they try to blame (and they LOVE to blame others) the teachers for not having interesting classes, I tell them, "I'm not Jay Leno and this ain't the 'Tonight Show'."

    Since you're in a community center, my guess is that their signing up for your class is completely voluntary. They can either cooperate and participate or they can volunteer themselves right out of there, in my opinion.
     

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