When dealing with disruptions of any kind from your students, it is important that your response to the disruption is less intrusive for the rest of the class than the initial disruption. It doesn’t make much sense to react to a minor infraction with all guns blazing and create more of a disturbance than the student did in the first place. Therefore, I’ve assembled 6 steps for getting any student on task that will ensure problems are addressed before they escalate into large scale problems for the entire class.
When dealing with disruptions, it is always good to start small, and then work your way up if needed. So that is why step one for dealing with minor disruptions is to simply ignore it. Most attention-seeking behaviour requires an audience, so if you refuse to give the student one, they will tend to cease and desist.
If step one fails, you can move to step two which is using non-verbal cues. Using non-verbal cues allows you to deal with the problem child without disrupting the flow of your lesson. By raising your hand or raising your finger to your lips you’re addressing the child while not interrupting your entire lesson and losing momentum. However, if this does not work, you will need to move onto step three.
Moving around the class to stand next to the problem student is a way to make your presence felt. Make it a seamless transition by continuing to teach while you move next to the problem area. It is much harder to act out right next to the teacher.
If none of these steps have proved successful, it’s time to move onto verbal cues by offering support. By offering support there is more chance that the student will respond to this, than simply by telling them to get back on task. By asking them a question and offering to help, you show the student that you care and also let them know that they are not doing what they are supposed to be without actually criticizing them for it.
If step four doesn’t work, then provide them with a couple options, which will require them to do the work, but will give them a choice. Providing them choices also gives them some control over their situation.
Finally, be prepared to give positive praise, to other students who are on task and to the problem student as soon as they act appropriately. This can create a ripple effect, as most students simply want attention. Especially if the praise is sincere, other students will want to receive praise as well.
Check out the ebooks below for more tips on managing your classroom and connecting with students:
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