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3/15/01 Question 10

Dear Visitors,
     I've been teaching for 14yrs. now at a preschool. I have a couple of kids who are difficult. They are always talking during class or disrupting others. How can I deal with this problem?
Ms. Concerned

Dear Ms. Concerned,
If you are always calling attention to the children they may be getting the attention they are looking for. I had 5 children who were doing the same thing. I focus on the children who are following the rules. I give them praise and tell them that the reason I call on them to help me during activities is because they are following the rules. It has made a big difference in my classroom. My assistant and I also role-play behavior. Sometimes when the children see what they are doing it makes a big difference.

Dear Ms. Concerned,
I find that most kids that interrupt or disrupt the class in many ways, have low self esteem and are trying to get attention even if negative from someone probably because they don't feel they get it at home. I think with extra effort and sitting down with that child explaining what there disruption does to the class is positive. Even rewarding them in some way when they have a good day with a sticker or a star on the wall (a chart for the class) who ever gets the most stars gets the prize every week! Give a kid something to strive for and they shine.

Dear Ms. Concerned,
My son's teacher gave all of the kids in the class "angel" cards with their name on them.  When they are misbehaving, tell them how they should behave if they want their angel card to stay up.  If they misbehave again, turn their card over.  Each child can have one or two cards and at the end of the day, they can reach into a treasure chest etc. for a prize.  The prize can be cheap party favors or snacks.

Dear Ms. Concerned,
It's hard to tell from what you shared how to help your little disrupters. Why do they feel the need to talk? Are they bored? Wanting extra attention? It has worked for me in the past to seat the disrupters close to me and to give them frequent physical touches (a hand on the shoulder, etc.) Also helps in some situations to put something into their hands to manipulate, a small rubber ball or beeswax. Sometimes they need more challenging things to do or listen to in order to keep their attention.  I have also found that one-on-one attention as early in the day as I can manage it seems to help.

Dear Ms. Concerned,
The most important thing to think about is what the child is seriously dealing with ,most children who act in such a way are crying out for something , lacking something or going through something we obviously just cant understand not just as some teachers and parents call it " being bad "so consider this before coming up with any solution.

my 1st solution
You can use I-messages example: At story time a child interrupts the story more than once to say something , a good I-message is "when you interrupt me I feel annoyed when I'm finished then you can tell me what you have to tell me" that's known as an I-message , letting the child know how it affects you without coming off negatively .

Solution 2
Another way is come up with a conflict resolution .
step 1 : stop action
step 2 : attend to the aggressor .To aggressor-state I-message "it upsets me when you interrupt me. You may not interrupt me . when I'm done I'll be happy to tend to your needs but right now I need you to pay attention."

3rd solution
Let child give suggestions on the situation and how to handle it, then both you and the child/children come to an agreement , be sure to work out details of the agreement ,then watch to make sure plan goes into affect , evaluate the plan at a later time.

my favorite solution
One last option which is one of the best create a safe place (some place in your center that's cozy and comfortable with a pillow or bean bag chair ,and some books, make sure safe place is off in a secluded area in your center , when a child is angry , sad , etc.) They can go to this place that's warm and cozy and let off steam in a safe way in this area you can take deep breaths, which is known in the safe place as a cloud. Then there's the faucet which the child extends there arm, making a fist and they open there fist and let go ,symbolizing the release of all their stress. How you'd go about this area is there's a box of cards. One that will say cloud, get the idea and by teaching your class about this area they will know when to go to this area what to do and what its for. You see you can make up diffrent teqniques in order that they can release whatever is making them act out in this way.
     All of these options work some more than others . options 1,2,and 3 some may feel wont work ,well they do but the safe place is garanteed , i should know we use it in our center.
Stephanie  - A certified Pre-school teacher of 4 yr olds

Dear Ms. Concerned,
I made a "Happy Face" chart. Basically , it has each child's name on each pocket of the chart and inside each pocket is a stick with a happy face on one side and a sad face on the other side. When a child does not follow the rules, (i.e. negative behavior, not cleaning up center) the child in question receives a "sad face" and he or she may lose some playground time (a few minutes, and I always talk to that individual about their actions so they fully understand). The child does have chances throughout the day to get his or her happy face back. (i.e. Help clean up, sit quietly for story time.)
     It works and at the end of the day the children are so proud that they did not receive a sad face , it makes the parents proud, too. It also helps when speaking to parents, that it gives me the opportunity to point out the good things instead of the bad.
Works for Me

Dear Ms. Concerned,
Whenever there is a behavior problem within my classroom I first look at the environment.  Is anything in the room causing this behavior?  Is the area that I hold circle time in a "high traffic" area.  Is it an area that the children can usually sit, talk, and play in.  If there are no solutions or clues as to why the behavior occurs with in the environment then I look at myself and my coworkers.  How do we respond to the behavior?  What then does the child do?  Often, I find that we give the child attention for the misbehavior, which is what the child wanted/needed and so the behavior continues.  I have found that behavior charts give positive behavior it's much needed attention (positive reinforcement) and often lessens the misbehavior.  I often reward children as I am teaching my lesson in group time verbally and then physically after group (such as a sticker, or being able to be the first to do something, etc) During group if someone is talking I may say, "right now is my turn, when I am finished reading

Dear Ms. Concerned,
I teach 4yr olds and one thing I've done this year that helps, is using a star chart during the whole school day. It took awhile for them to get use to it, but it works great.  Each child earns a star for any good behavior (sitting quietly during lesson time,  walking quietly when we go outside, good manners, sharing and cleaning up) they can get up to 5 stars a day and they earn a sticker (the cool big ones) If they disrupt class or don't follow directions then in their star spot they earn a - (straight line) and no sticker at the end of the day.  The chart is hung low enough for all to see, they even encourage each other not to get a straight line. Even parents look for daily behaviors when they pick up the children. This has worked great that other teachers are doing * and - charts.
Good luck and God Bless you and the children

Dear Ms. Concerned,
I always try to sit my  disruptive teachers close to me, if not right next to me.  If this does not work, you may want to advise  the parents of the disruptive behavior.  The next step would be to have the parents sit in on the class.  I have also found that having a couple of TA's is very helpful.  They can deal with the disruption while you continue teaching and the attention is never focused on the disrupting child and the lesson will go smoother .
Laura Diaz

Dear Ms. Concerned,
If the kids keep interrupting the class. I would send him or her to the listening area for five minutes . Then I would have him come to the class cause I know that they would want to be a part of their class.

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