when a student argues with you..

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by traeh, May 18, 2008.

  1. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    May 18, 2008

    I've realized that I've been going back and forth with students when they start to argue with me rather than just stating the facts and moving on. I think the reason is because the kid will continue to belabor the subject even when I'm addressing the class.

    How do you deal with a student that feels that they are RIGHT and you are WRONG, even when you are right, but the student simply refuses to listen/understand.

    Here's an example:

    Student: Ms. ____________, you said we didn't have to do it, so I didn't.

    Teacher: I never said you didn't have to do it.

    S: YES YOU DID. YOU DEFINITELY SAID WE DIDN'T.

    T: I'm not going to argue. You need to start listening to instructions from now on.

    S: BUT BUT BUT

    T: Okay, class..

    S: (raising voice now) BUT MS. _____ you DEF. didn't say we had to turn it in today. Let me take a vote. Didn't she say...

    T: (trying to begin lesson) Okay everyone, let's listen up...

    How do you handle this nagging that just goes on and on?

    Sometimes ignoring the student works, but it's just so aggravating when you KNOW you are right and the student continues to try to justify the fact that they don't pay attention, which is why they forgot to do something.

    Also, another problem that I've faced is when I say, "THE NEXT PERSON THAT CALLS OUT WITHOUT RAISING THEIR HAND AND BEING CALLED ON, IS OUT" (due to incessant chatter while I'm talking). After I say this, someone inevitably talks, and I try to send them out, but they begin to argue.. "but-but-but I was just saying the answer" - or something to that effect.

    This never-ending battle is exhausting. How do you cope?
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2008

    When a student begins to argue with me, I simply tell them that I would love to hear what they have to say, but right now I need to get to the lesson so they can talk to me either after class or after school.

    For the other problem, instead of sending them out, remind themm that you will only be taking answers from those students that remember to raise their hand and wait to be called on.
     
  4. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    May 18, 2008

    I tell kids that are arguing with me about things like you mentioned, when assignments are due, I tell them the complaint department opens after school, and I would be happy to take their complaints then (they never show up)

    When I have kids being argumentative for the sake of it, (Joe why aren't you working and are talking instead, Joe: I asked for help and you never came over, etc) I tell them I don't take disrespect and answering a question by blaming me for their lack of adhearance to classroom rules is disrespectful. I have argued in the past and it just sends the class into chaos, I could tell them that just because they have a question that I have not answered does not give them the right to socialize and expect me to read their minds that they have a question (90% of the time they never actually ASKED for help). If the student still argues I use the RTP process (responsible thinking process, the discipline model we use in our district) and once I asked the questions, the kids know if they do it again they are out, and they will stay gone till the end of the day when they can come talk to me about the behavior plan they had to create.

    I wish you the best getting to the end of the year and survive. Just remember, at the start of next year, know exaclty how you will handle certain situations from day one. GO in with a plan and do not let the kids get away with being disruptive like they are now. The students know you are a new teacher and they have been trying to get you flustered and upset all year. Next year I hope things get better.
     
  5. educator

    educator Rookie

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    May 18, 2008

    Never allow the argument to start.

    By allowing the student to get to the "let me take a vote" statement, you have relinquished control of your classroom to a student.

    If the student didn't do the work, inform him/her that you are recording an incomplete or a zero or whatever you do in the case of assignments that aren't turned in, and move on the the next item on the agenda.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2008

    Ignoring is a valid strategy, but it only works in certain cases with certain students. When it doesn't work, the effects are immediate and severe, because now all the students in the class know that you're willing to let certain behaviors go.

    Here are a few things you'd hear a lot from me if you were in my classroom...

    "Now is not the time." (Student concerns are sometimes valid and sometimes not valid, but they should never be addressed during class in front of everyone. Your students should know this by now, and if they don't, you need to teach them.)

    "I'm sorry you feel that way. Now let's get back to work." (Sometimes you have to repeat this one over and over anytime they continue to bring it up.)

    "It's possible that I have made a mistake. Let's talk about this after class. Now isn't the appropriate time." (Most students can't argue with you once you've stated that it might actually be your fault--even though it most likely isn't your fault.)

    "We don't have time to talk about that issue right now. Why don't you write down your concerns in one or two paragraphs and show me after class?" (This will get the student out of the activity if they choose to do it--which they almost never do. And if they don't choose to do it, their complaint probably wasn't especially valid to begin with.)


    As teachers, we have to figure out which battles are worth fighting, without getting into petty power struggles. The fact is that you, as the teacher in the classroom, have all the power and authority, so you don't need to engage in power struggles or arguments. What you say goes, and that's all there is to that.

    Good luck! :)
     
  7. purplecrazy21

    purplecrazy21 Comrade

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    May 18, 2008

    I pull Love and Logic. I become a broken record and tell them that I am not going to argue. I also tell them that I argue at recess and lunch...I've used this one so many times that as soon as I begin making the statement, the class finishes it for me. lol.
    I have learned not to let myself be dragged into arguments because they just become power struggles.
    These two statements have been very effective in cutting down the amount that my kindergarten students try to argue with me.
     
  8. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    May 18, 2008

    Wow thanks everyone for the great advice!

    I have said, "now is not the time," or "this isn't open for discussion." Yet they keep at it and others chime in.

    Smalltowngirl, I really like the idea of telling them that I'd like to help them but I have to get to the lesson and if they have a question/concern they can address it with me after class/after school. I have mentioned that they can stay after to talk about an issue, and they always make up an excuse. I guess it's good because, it gets dropped after they don't stay after.

    I like the idea of telling them that I will only accept answers from those that raise their hand. However, I feel that those that call out should suffer consequences, considering they don't allow others to think it through by calling out the correct answer right away. That is why I want to send them to the asst. principal or issue them mini-detentions.

    The other issue is the incessant chatter when I'm trying to teach. The solution I think, would be to give them a warning and for the second offense, send them out. I think I'm going to start by sending out the ring-leaders. Hopefully, that will get the message across to all of the students. If I have to send down EVERY SINGLE STUDENT, then that's how it will be, because I simply cannot talk OVER a group of people talking and it's just too much of a strain having to continually stop/start the lesson.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2008

    I think that when you need to send students out of the room for behavior issues, you're relinquishing some of your control. Sometimes there simply is no choice, like when a student is so disruptive or disrespectful that it inhibits your ability to teach and the students' ability to learn.

    However...

    When it's an ongoing but relatively small problem like incessant chatter, I wonder if sending students out is really the best solution. Is the problem getting solved when you do this? Is sending them out deterring them from continuing to do it next class? If not, you need a new strategy.

    For my classes who like to chatter whilst I'm talking, I just stop teaching. I'll stand at the front of the room for a minute or two, looking at the floor, the clock, or my book. If they don't get the hint, I'll take a seat at my desk and announce in my normal speaking voice (not my projecting teacher voice) that since I'm not being heard, I'm not going to waste my time teaching. I tell the students that they are responsible for whatever I was going to talk about, and there will be a quiz/research assignment on it due next class. The kids who want to hear me do, and the kids who don't care choose to earn a bad grade and not learn the material.

    In the last remaining minutes in class, I return to the front of the room and announce that I am unhappy and disappointed with the behavior of the class. I let students know that I noticed those students who were on task and doing what they were supposed to do, and I also noticed those students who were not. I tell them that if they were off task today, they can expect me to call home this evening to discuss the matter with their parents. And then I follow through with those phone calls home, to every student if necessary.

    Typically I only have to do this once or twice at the beginning of the year before students figure out that I'm serious. After I've done this, if one or two students still refuse to stop talking when I start talking, then I have some stable grounds to send them out--not for incessant chatter, but for insubordination, refusing to comply with a teacher directive, and adamant refusal to do work.

    I refuse to waste my time talking over 35 students who don't want to listen to what I have to say. But I also don't want the office to get the impression that I can't handle my own stuff.
     
  10. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    May 18, 2008

    Cassie--The kids who want to hear me do, and the kids who don't care choose to earn a bad grade and not learn the material. << How are the good kids supposed to learn it if you sit down for the rest of the period? I often implement the stop, wait, and stare approach, and the kids get the message and quiet down. However, it's only a matter of moments before the chatter starts up again. I have wanted to try this out -- taking a seat and making them responsible for the material that WAS going to be taught. However, I've been afraid that this would not only penalize the bad kids when they receive a low quiz score the following day, but the good kids that were denied the lesson would be penalized as well.
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2008

    If you have your "agenda" written somewhere where the students know what pages you'll be working from or whatever you will be doing for that period, then the kids who were going to listen anyway, can go ahead and read the material and familiarize themselves with the material so that they are prepared for the quiz/project.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2008

    How is anyone supposed to learn if no one can hear you because everyone else is talking?

    If the whole class is talking to such an extent and so frequently that you are seriously considering sending out the entire class, something is wrong. They're not getting the message that it's unacceptable to talk in your class. Perhaps the office isn't handling the matter as seriously as you would like, or perhaps the students are seeing it as a super fun time when they are sent out of your room. Whatever the case, it is not working. You probably need to try something different.

    The fact is that when I use this method, students "miss" one lesson, maybe two, tops. I say "miss" because I always teach the lesson next class, after students have taken a quiz or turned in their individual research assignments. Nothing is actually lost; it's just postponed.

    I like this method because it really does drive home the message that students are responsible for what happens in our class. There are 35 of them and only one of me. Their behavior dictates the tone of our class, the pace, and the overall atmosphere. I can be a strict task-manager, or I can be a laid back buddy, or I can be anything in between... it's really up to them. But they should know (or learn) that if they choose inappropriate behaviors, their time in my class isn't going to be fun or easy. And that might just mean that they need to work twice as hard for their grade.
     
  13. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    May 18, 2008

    Well, I realize that nobody is going to learn when everyone is talking. However, I just feel particularly sympathetic for those that WANT TO but can't due to the behavior of some of their classmates.

    Now, I haven't sent kids to the office yet, save a few times at the beg. of the school year. I do like the idea of just making them figure out what they need to know for the quiz. Unfortunately, some of them won't do it, and will end up failing, but maybe this will make them wise up. I'm excited to try this out.

    I guess I'm being skeptical here, but WHAT IF this doesn't hinder the negative behavior. Let's say, one day the students keep talking, and I sit down and assign a quiz for the following day and make them responsible for teaching it to themselves. Then, the next day after the quiz, the incessant chatter starts up again when I'm trying to teach the material, even after I stop/wait/stare? Do I sit down again and do it for a second day?
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2008

    I guess what I'm getting at is that sending kids out of the room should be a last resort for very egregious behavior. It should never be what you do first, nor should it be your standard policy.

    I think you and I work in similar settings, but I'm not sure. I work at an inner-city school teaching a very unusual subject (which also happens to be a foreign language) which some students simply have zero interest in learning. Because of this apathy, I do sometimes have students who display inappropriate behaviors.

    Not every method works every time for every student or in every class. What I have found is that I have to be willing to try issuing a variety of redirections and consequences before sending kids out of my room. Depending on the make-up of the class, the students' attitudes and behaviors, I try different things in different orders, including...

    Ignoring
    Humor
    Extra work
    Reassigning seats
    Phone calls home
    Taking away class time to get started on assignments
    Student conferences in the hallway
    Stop and count silently

    You never know what will work until you try it. If the stop teaching method doesn't work after one or two tries, don't do it ever again with that class. Instead, try something else. If that doesn't work, try something else.

    Don't ever be afraid to call home. For me, it seems to work about half the time I make successful contact with the parent, and I only get ahold of the parent about 25% of the time. Even with such small odds, it does still work for a handful of kids.

    Some students will never respond to you in the way you'd like. Those are the ones who should get sent out, but only after numerous attempts on your part to redirect them and issue classroom consequences. Because you do lose some of your power and control when you send kids out, you only want to do it once you've exhausted every other alternative.
     
  15. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    May 18, 2008

    Hey Cassie,

    I do work in an urban/suburban setting. It is VERY diverse and many kids are from the city.

    I do like the idea of trying multiple techniques to see which work. I know that the stop/wait/stare method does only work with certain groups. I have given more work to my SUPER chatty class, and I haven't threatened it again. Maybe if I do.. that will get the message across.

    Thanks again for the suggestion to stop class and make them responsible. I really do think it's an excellent strategy and WILL make the kids shape up. After all, who wants to be quizzed daily on material that is SELF-taught?

    I will keep trying various approaches to see which works. I am definitely learning as a I go. It is my first year, but I'm really hard on myself for some reason. I guess it's because I don't feel like I'm consistently tough enough. One thing I've realized is that as a teacher (particularly a young one), you must ALWAYS be tough and on your toes. Sometimes, I have just given in an have acted nice, and then it's tough to regain that control. That is what gets me stressed. I know consistency is key.. and so is tough love.
     
  16. mandagap06

    mandagap06 Devotee

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    May 18, 2008

    Some students I have found would rather earn a lower grade in conduct, move clip , go to the office, w/e punishment you have rather than just behave. It is hard for me sometimes especially being a sub.
     
  17. iSaint

    iSaint Rookie

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    May 18, 2008

    My class planning committee meets at 6:30 a.m. So far, I'm the only member.
     
  18. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    May 18, 2008

    My class planning committee meets at 6:30 a.m. So far, I'm the only member.

    lol. It's funny, because mine is at 2:35 pm, and nobody has showed up to mine yet either!
     
  19. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    May 18, 2008

    I didn't read all the responses. Our class has a problem with this. They really feel they are valid and they don't understand the boundary line they are crossing each time they do this. We have a clothes line on the back wall. We colored 2 clothes pins red. Every time they argue, we quietly walk back to the back wall and put a clothes pin between these red (stop) pins. I put those up only because we have other clothes pins keeping stuff up and I didn't want them to get confused. They visually SEE that they are crossing that boundary and shut up. It's magic. It works mostly because it is new, visual and we are trying to make goals of reducing how many pins we have up.
     
  20. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

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    May 18, 2008

    I also didn't read all of the responses but whenever a student begins to argue with me, I tell them "you're done". Literally. If they continue, I give them a warning that I am going to give them detention. If they ignore the warning, I give them detention (5 minutes at a time). I continue with my lesson and the student will generally stop. I'm louder than they are and my students know not to pay attention to nonsense. I have a very low tolerance for nonsense in my classroom and my students are very aware, especially at this point in the school year.
     
  21. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    May 18, 2008

    cutnglue.. that sounds like a good idea for elementary kids. what level do you teach?

    sstager.. i like that. so what do you mean about giving detention 5 mins at a time. like a 5 min detention or what?
     
  22. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

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    May 18, 2008

    At any point during the day if they act up, their name goes on the board with one check mark equaling 5 minutes. They then receive subsequent check marks throughout the day with each one equaling 5 minutes. The time can add up but most students do not earn more than 25 minutes of after school detention. They hate getting detention and tend to think about their actions once they take a look at the board and see their name with check marks. I've been using this system all year and they know the drill now. I tend to be very blunt about my direction and some may be put off with me immediately cutting off a student and telling them their done but you have to do what works for your class and I hope my detention system works for you!
     
  23. JustT

    JustT Comrade

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    May 18, 2008

    I would give the complaining student a classroom complaint form. Tell the student you are very interested in their concerns about your class that seems like it cannot work and to please write in detail so you will understand what they are talking about. If it isn't worth writing down, it isn't worth my time. If he tries to interrupt again, I ask the student if this is an emergency and if I should dial 911. Then instruct the student to be quiet.

    If the student wants to annoyingly insist he misunderstood me. I will ask the student to repeat my instructions to me before we start. The second he is wrong, I ask another student to tell the other student what the instruction is.

    It doesn't work all the time. It just depends on the student.
     
  24. GrandHighWitch

    GrandHighWitch Companion

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    May 18, 2008

    I say something like, "I'm not going to argue with you in the middle of a lesson. I'll be happy to talk with you about this at recess or after school," and walk away. The kids don't want to stay in at recess or after school, so that usually ends the conversation.
     
  25. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    May 19, 2008

    I think it's great that you are experimenting with what works. Different classes and even different situations within those classes call for different approaches.

    With lower classes I usually explain earnestly why we need to do what we're doing, and then move on by directing them to get something out or handing something out (actions are harder to interrupt than simple speaking because you can keep handing out the worksheets or whatever without it seeming like a showdown between you and the kid). After I've done that, if they still complain, I'd say, "Guys, come on" in a "you know I'm on your side but can I do about it?" way. If the complaint is really ridiculous or made at a really inappropriate time, I'd just shake my head in a "I'm disappointed you didn't know better" kind of way. If the complaints continue, I'd probably just keep shaking my head and saying, "No silly." At that point the other kids usually tell the complainer to stop complaining. The goal is never to allow the kid to draw you into an argument.

    With higher level kids I might just laugh like we're both in on the joke if it's a silly complaint just meant to waste time or see if I suddenly woke up as a laissez-faire teacher who really will let them "do nothing" that day. If it's out of line, I'd probably cock my head to the side, furrow my eyebrows, and give the kid a look that says, "Your complaint was so ridiculous that I don't even know how to respond to it." If the kid was seriously upset and argumentative, then I'd probably take the time to explain myself calmly but firmly, but only because I don't often get serious complaints and therefore want to show the kids a little grace for being teenagers. I wouldn't do that if it happened every day as a matter of course.

    In each situation except for when a student is genuinely distressed, my goal is to give the kid as little opportunity to respond as possible. They are definitely pulling stuff if they are asking the other students to vote.

    I do believe in stopping and waiting for their attention. And I think that if one day you have just HAD IT and you need to sit at your desk and let them figure out the lesson, that's ok as a last resort. But I wouldn't just decide you're going to do that on a daily basis. You might, however, explain to them that you are not going to talk over them, so if they get behind due to talking, they will need to cover the rest themselves.

    But it's important not to present that as a challenge. If they are being antagonistic, then they'll decide to talk just BECAUSE you said that, to see how much it would take for you to blow up. In order for class to run smoothly, you must develop a positive vibe in class so that students know that you are firm but that you mean well, and so that they'll quiet each other down out of respect for you.
     
  26. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    May 19, 2008

    Honestly.. I'm printing out this entire thread to use as a reference. Everyone's advice on here was invaluable and incredibly helpful. It's funny how everyone has their own system and unique idea as to how to respond to students that complain/initiate arguments. I want to try them all out. I also feel much more confident knowing that other teachers out there do 'nip it in the bud' when kids try to argue.

    One thing I've realized as a new teacher, is that kids are going to try to take advantage of the fact that I am a novice and look young. However, I know that by practicing tough love, and implementing some of these techniques, I can handle situations more effectively.

    Thanks.
     
  27. eager2teach2007

    eager2teach2007 Rookie

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    May 19, 2008

    Cassie753:

    I read the strategies you suggested, and I'm definitely going to keep those in mind for next year. My biggest struggle this year, as a new teacher (6th grade Language Arts) mind you, has been classroom management. I walked into the classroom, wanting the students to like me. So I figured that if I'm the "cool, laid-back" teacher, that they'd like that. Boy, was I ever wrong! They took advantage of that immediately. I found myself arguing constantly, yelling, writing referrals left and right, but never really taking control of the situation myself.
    I threaten with phone calls but am so exhausted at the end of the day, I never follow through with my threat. There have been a few parents whom I have called. Some respond with "ok, thanks," or "I'll talk to him," and I have a few who find it hard to believe their little angel isn't really one!
    Doing the strategies you listed above at the beginning of the year will definitely set the tone. As you said, "typically I only have to do this once or twice at the beginning of the year before students figure out that I'm serious." I'll be sure to set my foot down and show them who's boss.
     
  28. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    May 20, 2008

    I think the best advice I could give you I just learned this year! And I have been teaching for over 15 years! Here it is: discipline has to come before instruction. It seems obvious, but it isn't. I have ignored behaviours that I shoudn't have because I wanted to go on with my lesson and I felt like the good students would be punished. However, I have realized (just like Cassie said) that it is worth the loss of instructional time at first to have good discipline the rest of the year.

    What works best for my non-stop chattering class is to tell them that we can do something together in class and everyone will have the opportunity to get an A on it, or they could do it at home for homework. And don't think that even the "good" kids are so innocent. After all, if you can't single out two or three kids who are doing the most talking, a lot of students must be talking.

    And my last advice would be before the school year ends make a list of the things that really bother you in your classroom and possible solutions for next year. Believe it or not the summer has a way of fading your memories! Then a few days before school starts you can use the list to jog your memory. Oh, that is right I hate the non-stop chatter. Here is going to be my plan of action for this year.
    Good luck and have a wonderful summer!
     
  29. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    May 20, 2008

    Budaka, that's called preventive maintence and being proactive. I wholeheartedly believe in that too. I will add that engaging lessons are part of that equation too along with consider (for lower elem) your transitions. If must do my part too. Then I must be watchful to look for trigger events and take care of them BEFORE they escalate or cause something to happen.
     
  30. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 20, 2008

    I completely agree!

    If your lesson is interesting (which doesn't always mean jumping around the room and acting like a buffoon), students may not be as likely to find other, less appropriate activities to engage in. Students need to learn and see new things to stay interested and involved. If it's more fun for the student to act up than it is to listen to the teacher, the teacher is doing something wrong.

    I often interject random facts and "did you knows" into my lessons... "Did you know that the word 'procrastinate' comes from three Latin words? Pro meaning for, cras meaning tomorrow, and teneo meaning to hold. When you 'procrastinate' you litterally hold onto something for tomorrow (or the next day). Oh, and if you correctly use the word procrastinate in a paper or project for another class, I'll give you extra credit!"

    Honestly, I say something like, "Oh, that comes from the Latin word..." like 2,000 times per day. The kiddos groan and laugh whenever I start a sentence like that, but they do really like to know that information. I feel totally validated when another teacher approaches me and says that a student referenced me in their class. Kids don't always learn what I want them to learn, but they always remember those random factoids. And those random factoids are what will help them perform better on their standardized tests and in written work for other classes....
     
  31. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 20, 2008

    And as for transitions...

    Transition time can be one of the trickiest times for all teachers in all grade levels and subject areas.

    Because we are on a block schedule, my classes are very long and we switch activities several times each period. If I don't clearly state my expectations for transitions, it would turn into sheer chaos.

    When I need students to get up, retrieve a textbook from the class set, and return to their desks, I expressly tell them that. I also give them some sort of time limit. I'll tell them that I'd like them to get a textbook and return to their seats within the next minute. A minute is enough time for kids to socialize a little bit, shake off any boredom or whatever, stretch a little, and get their minds back into the game. It's not long enough to waste any real class time. If I give less time, my students will resist, and they'll want to chatter or stay standing up or whatever until they feel like zipping it or sitting down--that's unacceptable to me, so I'm flexible and understanding of the fact that they need to talk to their friends for a few seconds here and there.

    I also don't give too many directions at once. Some kids just can't handle more than a few directions before they get confused. Once everyone is settled after grabbing a book, for example, then I'll ask them to open to page 99. It does seem like too much work to expect students to grab a book, sit down, and open to page 99 (or whatever)....So I don't bother with that expectation. Honestly, it takes like an extra 6 seconds for me to give the second directive later, and 6 seconds is nothing, especially with more students are compliant with it because they didn't forget it or get side-tracked.
     
  32. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    May 23, 2008

    I have done the "We are not arguing." "If you wish to discuss this more I will listen to it at recess or afterschool." for years, if they continue I have also done the automatic time off of recess or afterschool for each but, I.. A child loses their entire lunch for a pointless argument maybe once to be cured. Usually five minutes off of recess is enough.

    One thing I do for interruptions where the child calls out is "oh, that sounded like it might be interesting, too bad I couldn't understand it because their hand wasn't up." I then call on someone else to repeat what the other child said. At first the kids look at me like I am nuts, but it gets the point across.

    You can also use it for the arguments since the kid didn't raise their hand to argue with you.
     
  33. kermy

    kermy Companion

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    Jun 14, 2008

     
  34. crayonfan

    crayonfan Companion

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    Jun 14, 2008

    When students are chatty I tell them that "since they are wasting my time I will waste their time and hold them after the bell without writing passes for their next class."

    Sometimes when we are getting ready for group projects and they won't quiet down for directions, I give them a warning about doing the projects/assignments independently. Then the next time I write down the directions on the overhead and they are to work on the assignment independently it is due at the end of the class. My voice changes dramatically and they work quietly.

    Getting sent out of the room is a rarity because they just sit in the office until the end of the class period. Sometimes they even ask if they can go the office :( Nice punishment eh? I stopped sending them very early on.

    Most of the time I stand quietly at the front of the room until they quiet down.
     
  35. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Jun 14, 2008

    I tell the student that we are in the middle of a lesson and it would be unfair to the other children to take the time to discuss it now. I ask them to write down the problem and how they feel about and place it in our issues box. We will then spend time discussing it after class or the next day when it will not interrupt the other childrens' learning. Sometimes it is difficult ,and I have not always succeeded,but I try hard not to get into a verbal conflict with a child,especially during class time.
     
  36. Mr.Discipline

    Mr.Discipline Rookie

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    Jun 14, 2008

    Like some of the experienced teachers here, I've learned never to argue with a student.

    Important to keep in mind at all times is the dictum "Don't listen to what's being said, listen to what's saying it." These arguments only appear to be arguments, when in fact they are 99% attempts at manipulation.

    So what you have to think is not: 'What is the proper response to these words' but: 'What is the proper response to an attempt at manipulation.'

    In my world, I will say "I do not argue with students" once, and if they continue, assign detention. All my students know they can arrange a parent conference with me and the Dean on their own time if things are that unjust. None have taken me up on that in 15 years. Why? Because they are not trying to elucidate a valid point but manipulate you into their world.

    So in the above example, your student would have received detention from me when the 'but..' started, because otherwise they have no accountability for the continuance.
     
  37. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Jun 15, 2008

    Yup, back talk can be aggravating. This type of back talk falls under the category "accusing the teacher of professional incompetence". In the hierarchy of back talk, nice to nasty, calling the teacher a dummy is borderline high roller territory.

    Like all back talk it works because the teacher "talks back" to the student in defense of self-worth and a sorta' theater in the round begins -- "Yes you did!" -- "No I did not!" -- "Yes!" -- "No!" etc. Of course the class has ring side seats as the melodrama unfolds.

    There is a technique which will eliminate back talk from almost any kid, in any situation, at any time. Ready? Here it is -- DO NOTHING. Careful! This is not the same as "ignoring". You will do nothing in a way which signals "I mean business" and "I am in control of this situation." -- see Fred Jones' Tools For Teaching.

    The hardest part of DO NOTHING is getting control of one's pesky orifice responsible for speech. Anything the teacher says in response to student's back talk almost always guarantees more back talk (as in your example). Sooooo ... you are not supposed to talk even though your biology is screaming to let the kid have it -- the "fight-flight" reflex.

    The second hardest part of DO NOTHING is coming to the realization you can't, through sheer will, control release of adrenaline when a student gets in your face. And how do civilized adults (some of these are teachers) find a release for pent up adrenaline short of clocking the kid? Open one's mouth, of course. Although the teacher may feel some sort of partial relief with mouth flapping the student is controlling the script. If teach talks student has willing participant.
     
  38. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Jun 16, 2008

    I just got through reading Tools for Teaching. I thought it made a lot of sense. I will definitely incorporate what I learned into my class for next year. I would recommend this book for all grade levels.
     
  39. jamoehope

    jamoehope Companion

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    Jun 16, 2008

    Thank you all for this very informative thread! :) It is addressing a lot of my own concerns as a new Resource teacher for next school year.
     
  40. dtrim

    dtrim Rookie

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I used to be frustrated from student back talk, too, but I had a really good model for improvement in my class a few years ago.

    I had the pleasure to team teach with an amazing special education teacher who was in charge of some very difficult students. She'd watch them for signs of unwanted behavior. When she saw a sign of unwanted behavior, she'd approach the student and squat down next to his desk in a non-threatening, inobtrusive way. Very quietly, she would speak to the kid, ask what was wrong, and diffuse the situation.

    She was like the kid whisperer or something.

    I took a leaf out of her book. When a student began to argue, I would approach her desk, squat down, and talk quietly to her on her level. I would take her concerns seriously and respectfully.

    I modeled the behavior that I wanted to see from the belligerent students.

    They knew that they wouldn't be able to gain control of the class because I wouldn't let the conversation become a performance. I also would take their concerns seriously and try to work with them to make sure their needs were met.

    Of course, it didn't always work. Most of the time, though, it did.

    I also tried to outwit any protestors from the very beginning. Instead of oral directions, I'd write them down and leave them on the board for all to see and record in their planners. There wasn't really a question about expectations in that respect.

    Best wishes.

    Diane
     
  41. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I like these ideas! I had a tough group this past year and felt at lost many times because they seemed to want to just argue for the sake of arguing.


     

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