Though I really want a noisy class, my students here in
I think that these students need a tailor-made approach. I agree that they need to practice their listening skills and being respectful towards others, but they should be practicing these habits through opportunities that either play on their strengths or are so meaningful to these students that the kids cannot help but get tuned in and focused.
I have encountered a lot of middle-school aged kids as a camp counsellor, and there are always kids who are not listeners. When considering boys in particular – it is the behaviour of the boys in my classes that other teachers and myself are finding the most challenging – these guys can often be self-centered doers and jokers who feed off of one another. They like to talk, which unfortunately interferes with their listening. While I agree that these students can do some great work when they finally sit down and get to it, the fact that there is a regular struggle between teacher and student to get to that productive point suggests that these students are lacking buy-in. The typical presentation of the material does not jive for these students.
Some teachers manage this group by being strict disciplinarians and maintaining a rigid class structure. Personally, I find it hard to believe that a student constantly sent into the hallway or to the vice-principal is going to eventually start learning effectively, although the rest of the class might be kept in line through this one person’s punishment. I think that it is better to channel students’ energy rather than fight and contain it because the majority of these students are going to grow out of their self-centered behaviour anyways! Students receive countless reminders about listening to and being respectful towards other, but it is a lot nicer for everybody involved if students are praised for when they do listen instead of being reprimanded when they do not.
As I go through my last week of in-class teaching, it is my hope to put some of these vague notions into practice. Wish me luck as I try making up lessons for students who really like being at school but have trouble listening once they have an opportunity to start talking!