Disruptive student

Teaching the disruptive student

By Joyanne James. He is here today! That boy who disrupts the class whenever he actually comes to class, that annoying disruptive student. Maybe I should ignore him like I have done before and continue with my lesson despite the other students laughing at his jokes and completely ignoring me. Unfortunately, that strategy usually backfires in the next class as the students are totally lost when the same work is reviewed.

Maybe I should give that long lecture again about preparing for life and taking their education seriously. Sorry to say that although my words of wisdom seem to enlighten the teenagers including the troublemaker for a short moment of their lives, everything usually goes back to normal by the next class. Plus, my entire lesson for that day goes on hold.

Maybe I should trip off on him again. That sure shut him up that day. He did all the work and my entire lesson plan was a success. Regrettably, all the students were shaken up for that lesson. They have never seen that side of their calm, caring, amusing, fun loving teacher. It bothered me a lot that my most interactive students sat quietly for the entire session probably hoping not to get bawled at by this mysterious mad woman before them. At least I can always count on their automatic reset button to switch on before they come to my next class. I have numerous chances to make this right.

Maybe I should try that individual attention strategy again. By isolating each student and working with them based on their strengths and weaknesses, all the students usually improve drastically. They are encouraged to read over their work three times before signalling me to look at it. When I am called, I privately count their errors and say, “I am seeing (seven) errors, call me again when you are ready for me,” and the students would eagerly comb through their work again and again to find those errors. At the end of the class, everyone accomplishes a lot. The big problem though is that they all look so tired. They get so bored that they skip my class since it has become a tedious one to attend. I can tell that they miss interacting with their peers while they learn. It is actually the highlight of attending my class. Unfortunately, the only way for those dream sessions to take place is if that annoying student skips class. Sigh!

My solution today is to combine the individual attention approach with the interactive classroom approach. Since the students perform so well individually at their own pace and also as a group sharing and listening to each other’s ideas, I came up with a way to merge the two strategies that would accommodate the disruptive student whenever he attends my class. I would use my tactic using the same concept for “the bowl game” that I created when I figured out how to get them to analyse poetry successfully by placing quotes of literary devices into a bowl.

Educational games for the disruptive student

I printed a number of homophones and grammar usages on sheets of paper, cut into squares, folded and mixed into a bowl. A homophone challenge example is, “There vs Their… define each word.” Each challenge gives two chances to gain 10 points, that is,  “there” for 10 points and “their” for another 10 points. Same goes for the grammar usage. An example is, “Movado and Popcaan sing/sings dancehall music and so do/does Kartel.” Ten points for answering “sing/sings” and another 10 points for “do/does”. If there is an even number of classmates the students form partners. The first partner pulls from the bowl, reads the challenge out loud, and announces to the class if he will be answering alone for 20 points or if he will be asking his/her partner for help for 10 points. If the class number is odd, then I play along too to make the number even because the aim is to give everyone the opportunity to either be bold and answer on their own or get help from someone for less points. The partners next in line have the chance to steal the challenge for 5 points added to their own challenge worth 20 points. The game is played for 10 rounds. The atmosphere is intense as each student including the pest is in deep concentration as they ponder if to risk losing 20 points over gaining 10 points if they consult their partners for help. They become extremely rowdy with excitement when they win or lose at the same time they learn.

To my surprise, the disruptive student is unhappy when class is over and he is begging us to play again. Look at these students willingly wrapping up all the opened challenges, putting them back into the bowl, and shaking it up to play the game again. Unfortunately, they just reviewed all the answers so playing the same game with the same challenges in the same session would make absolutely no sense. At least I can count on their automatic reset button for the next class. I don’t even need to update my challenges. I finally got the disruptive brat to settle down so my work here is done!

June 2016 – Issue 22    www.sweettntmagazine.com


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Teaching the distracted student

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