This kid is trouble

I’m having a time disciplining one of my students. This kid never listens to me or the other teachers,he always runs his mouth during class, and doesn’t pay attention. I have talked to his mother about this and she only says that he is an independent boy and so smart so we should forget about it and pay worry about theother students which is hard because we waste so much time on him. I wonder if anyone else has had a problem with students and can give me some advise. He really is a nice kid, when you get him alone. But around the other kids he craves attention and goes about anyway to get it. He’s a 5 year old if that helps.

In that situation, I used to march up to the kid (after giving him plenty of opportunities to reform), gather all the books and papers and bags from his desk, march over to the door and throw the whole lot in the hall as hard as I could. Then I would march over and grab the kid by the scruff of the neck and frog march him out the door with his shit and close and lock the door, but not before telling him (or having your TA tell him in Chinese) that he can only come back when he learns to behave.
The school will be shocked as will the parent but hold your ground and you should be right. Remember, you are the teacher and in Chinese society teachers are to be ALWAYS respected. Drive this point home to the school and the parents. They will not feel good about the kid making you lose face.
By the way, in Chinese school, such a child would be beaten; don’t let students walk over you because they think you are not one of them.

Well when I was teaching I had a problem with one kid. He was a complete distraction in the class. I tried in vain for a while to get him to shut up and pay attention. He like your student was very smart.
Eventually I realised that if he just listened for 10% of the time and was distracted for the rest of the time, then he would learn and not distract the class. The answer: tranquillisers !!

No only joking

What I did was give him maths problems and puzzles to do. Yes it was English class, but his parents had no choice. If they took him out or were forced to take him out cause he was too disruptive then he would learn nothing, if he learned what he needed and was not a disruption then fine by them.

by the end of that year he was approaching being able to do fifth order differential equations with constant coefficients and could speak ok too

A tricky situation because it always depends on how supportive your school is.

You have identified two problems: One is not paying attention, the other is running his mouth.

We could look at reasons for his behaviour. Maybe he is bored out of his brains, which means other students would also show some of these behaviours (although maybe not as much as your trouble maker). In this case you need to change your teaching a bit (lots of action games).

It could also be a desperate need for attention, either because he does not get it at home, or because he is used to being worshipped by his mother (very likely).

However, looking for the cause of the behaviour is not always going to help you, you simply want to get on with the job, without any BS (that is how I feel about my teaching:-)

It seems like the mother gave you permission to ignore the not paying attention bit (her mini-god is soooo smart.

So you really want to focus on him keeping his mouth shut so that his behaviour does not affect your teaching and the other student’s learning

Western classroom management would reinforce any possitive behaviour:

1/ Praise the children sitting NEXT to your troublemaker if they display corect classroom manners (high five, hand shake, sticker etc.)

2/ Praise the trouble maker when he displays correct classroom manners (even if only for 5 seconds).

3/ A classroom based reward system is also a great management technique. Give students a star when they do the right thing (but DO NOT take a star away if they are bad - that is a negative reinforcement). A certain amount of stars will then get them a reward at the end of the week ( a BIG sticker, a pencil etc etc. - don’t break your bank over this). This can be time consuming but effective if used right.

However, we are in Taiwan, and all this Western ‘new age’ stuff can be like pissing into the wind.

I have seen Taiwanese teachers give children a smack on the hand with great effect, but I am totally against hitting children so that is not my advice (although it really does work).

Shame (or face) can be used as well. Make the student stand up by the white board.

I think Wolf’s advice is quite good ( I have done the same in extreme cases when all the new-age stuff fails) simply remove them from the classroom.

Talking to a mother is normally a waste of time, as you have already noticed. Their little darlings/angels/mini-gods are never at fault.

One of the things I remember from my teacher training is always being reminded by my lecturers that ALL children love praise! This is your secret weapon!

Will be interesting to see how others manage their trouble makers (we all have them - so you are not alone

Looks like your problem kid’s got an Internet connection – check out bikerdude’s posts.

Sandman, I haven’t laughed so hard in a long while. I saw his posts this morning, but when I saw yours above, I had a look at his last round and coupled with your comments, my otherwise miserbale day has been improved. Thanks.

Wolf, you normally seem quite rational and decent, so I wonder if you’ve any idea how ugly a posting that was. I know you said you would give trouble-makers plenty of warning, but your last resort sounds like something out of Dickens. If you ever want to judge your own behavior imagine that you were watching what you’ve just done on TV, or on film. Big red-faced man, huffing and puffing grabs toddler by the Pokemon t-shirt, uses free arm to gather MPM books, crayons, sticker cards, and Winnie-the-pooh doll, only to summarily toss all out the door like so much garbage. Well done. I’ve done it myself in years past. But I’m pretty ashamed of it now and would never recommend it to another teacher as sound advice when dealing with a, what was it, five year old?

There is also the not incidental matter of the law. You can’t legally go hauling off on kids anymore. A lot of parents agree with this, too. In my school, one kids father is threatenign the anchingban teacher with a sound beating himself if he dares to lay a hand on his boy again. Does he hit the boy himself? Who knows? But no one else is going to?

In any case, on to some advice.

Doug, the point was made that you may have to take a serious look at your teaching. Remember you’re teaching kindergarten aged kids. They like simple, broad humor, and active games. But do you know what they like best of all? To be liked.

You say this boy is quite nice when you get him alone. Work with this. Make friends with him. The more he likes you the easier he will be to control. The more he will fear, not your wrath, but your distance. Pat him on the head when you see him. Talk to him after class. Even if he has been bad in class, pick him up after class and tell him in a friendly voice that you’ll see him tomorrow. Look sad and tell ask him if tomorrow he will be good. Do the same before class. Call him over, or outside, and be very warm. “Are you going to be good today?” Get him to promise. This way during the class you can point out that he made a promise. Often this works not to completely fix the bad behavior, but to lessen it.

Stickers are good, but airplane rides are better. Give the entire class an airplane ride before you start. Don’t grab the children by the wrists (you may hurt them), but under the armpits. During class keep track of who is good. Write names on the board and draw a little airplane beside the name when someone is good. After class, the kids with ariplanes beside their name get another airplane ride. If the kids are strong enough they can hold your hands and do back flips.

Do the kids in your school get enough exercise? I have sensitive nerves and if I don’t get enough aerobic style exercise I become very cranky and moody. Most kids become restless. But what do adults do? Almost invaribaly they force the child to stand still, or to sit still, thus causing even more of a strain on their body. When the kids seem particularly restless play games like Simon Says/Go, go, stop/Freeze?What time is it Mr. Wolf? Turn on some music and dance.

You can also read stories to the children. Don’t be an idiot and read every word like you would to your niece. Find simple stories where the pictures can reinforce the meaning. Keep your grammar simple, and the vocabulary within their range.

My point is not to suggest we all become Mary Poppins and never get angry or send a student outside for being disruptive. A genuine show of anger is good for students to see once in a while. Nor is it fair to say I suscribe to the “get angry with the action and not the child” theory. No, I get angry with the being that has done what I find unaceptable. But remember to keep your perscective. The kid isn’t stabbing other children, he isn’t smokign dope, he’s not shagging the co-teacher in the shoe rack. He’s just talking to much, maybe being a bit lippy, and not paying attention. If I called you a fag and a mother-fucker, said you look like a string of dirty toilet paper in a Taiwanese restaurant’s bathroom, would you be angry. Yes, but I bet you wouldn’t be half as angry as old Wolf was when he dragged his students off.

Get angry, but don’t lose control. How do you know the difference? If you’ve made a child leave the classroom and then can’t go back to joking with the rest of the class then you’ve lost control.

I wouldn’t go the Wolf way either. Along with praise which has already been mentioned, I have found that having the same routine everyday, with the same cues to start listening and stop talking work the best. But then again I am a full-time teacher in the States and see my kids everyday. If you see them 3 times a week, a set routine might still work, but only two times a week might not be enough. For example, the first thing you do when you walk in the room is have all the students stand up quietly and say “Hello, Mr. —”. Practice doing this as a class until they do it the way you want it. Practice the routine over and over- lots of praise, etc. Physically ‘help’ the overactive student to his feet if he won’t do it. Then do something like the ABC song together with a jumping jack for each letter. You will have to do it with the kids for the first couple weeks or so til they get the routine down. This will tire the kids out and get them sitting. After the ABC song you can do funny stuff like using puppets on each hand to act out a dialogue. Then go around and ask individual kids to answer what the puppet asks. “How old are you?” “I’m 5 years old”- that type of stuff. If you have more than 16, I would scrap asking individual students and do all choral question and answer. Mix up the activities- throw in some drawing and cutting-some jumping, running in place while they count to 25 or whatever, put four letters on the board with the numbers 1,2,3,4 under each one. You make the ‘b’ sound and they have to hold up two fingers to show you they know which letter makes that sound. Use variations of this for all sorts of vocab. Everyone is involved. To sum up, mix it up, try to keep going with your routine even when that kid acts up. The other kids will be so tuned into what you are doing that they will ignore him. Even though you mix up activities, start and end the class the same way everyday. Have certain cues that signal that an activity is to begin. For example, whenever I want the students to repeat after me, I say “one two ready go”. As soon as my students hear that phrase- they immediately click into a certain mode. They have been conditioned to it. A little BF Skinner stuff never hurt anybody.

Originally posted by v: As soon as my students hear that phrase- they immediately click into a certain mode. They have been conditioned to it. A little BF Skinner stuff never hurt anybody. [img]images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

Don’t you mean Pavlov?

Chemical castration is another option. Just slip it into his water-bottle. Might help to calm him down. If not, well, at least you’ll have the last laugh.
Oh, be careful to avoid mixing-up his bottle with yours…

Five-year-old boys aren’t producing a whole lot of testosterone anyway, so that idea probably won’t work. A good laxative might keep him out of the classroom, though. Then he can dump his problems on the assistant.

Tell them off in Chinese very ocassionally:

1 - it slows you down so you can’t be too angry

2 - it gets their attention

3 - the rest of the class usually supports you - they too probably resent the loudmouth.

But these kids are mostly older than kindergaten, and it is virtually the only time I display my very limited Chinese in class. ni3 shuo1 tai4 duo1 le5 seems to work fine, or zuo4 hao3 for younger ones.

Thank you everyone for the help. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one with a problem kid because it makes me feel bad about my teaching that I cannot control him. I don’t think I would do anything cruel or harsh because I’m not that kind of person. I like Mucha Man’s ideas a lot.

Also at my school, they won’t even talk about it because they are so concerned about making money and not losing students that they will do anything to please the parents. I guess that’s normal in Taiwan from what I’ve heard.

Thanks again and if you have any more ideas I’d love to hear them.

I had a 3-year-old who was going through the same thing. He was smart enough to be in kindergarten. He was amazing with art, creating a paintbrush out of a feather, aluminum foil, and a pipe cleaner and making a microphone by rolling up scratch paper around a piece of string and conducted interviews with the children and the teachers. He did addition and subtraction problems in his head and counted to 100 and back down again in both Mandarin and English…again, this was a three-year-old child. He also kicked, bit, scratched, and pushed teachers, screamed, knocked things on the floor, pushed over bookshelves, and loved to run out of the classroom and hide or set off the door alarms. When calling his parents no longer worked (he would just scream into the phone and laugh), I got permission to do holds with him. That meant holding his arms and legs in a hug until he calmed down and talking to him. At first it was hard as he thought it a game to get a leg or arm free, but then I started doing breathing exercises with him and giving him rewards for doing little things like sitting still for a story or singing a song with the class. I also took away things that he abused like if he knocked crayons on the floor on purpose then he would not go to recess until he picked them up and he lost his crayon privilege for the rest of the day. Eventually he became able to do bigger things like spending the morning cleaning up his area after he finished playing with something and his reward would be getting his favorite toy at recess time. As his parents became involved in his behavior reformation, he could be given bigger rewards by them and it opened a great communication with them. For his birthday for improving his behavior so drastically he received a book about kittens since he loved cats. I disagree with not taking things away as being negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement would be laughing when they are doing something naughty which I have mentioned to some people in my school when they laughed at a girl turning out the lights. I warned them that she’ll do it again because you think it’s funny and sure enough she did. Then they told her not to do it. It sent a mixed signal to her.
I have used a reward system where my older students get two stars a day. If they break a rule they lose one. If they do it again they lose both stars for the day. If they do something severe they lose both stars and then there are negative consequences that follow that. If they do something good for a classmate they earn an extra star. By already having stars, they do what they are supposed to in order to maintain them. If they don’t have stars, then what purpose is there to behave since there’s nothing to punish them and there’s nothing visual to remind them to behave until after the class is over. What tends to happen is you threaten to not give them a star over and over and then probably forget and give it to them anyway. The way I do it, they know what the deal is and they can see when they have done something wrong. I also make it a classroom reward system so it’s not just on the individual who may not care either way, but also on his classmates who will do everything they can to make sure that the ill-behaved child does not mess them up for the day. It saves me time and energy from having to tell the child over and over to not do whatever they are doing and builds a community within the classroom where the students look out for each other to make a better class environment. This school year I am going to have a dual system where there are both class and individual rewards. Last year’s class reward system determined if they would have certain holiday parties and game days. It was graded so that if they lost a certain amount of stars in a set period of time they lost so much of their fun time as well.

Anyways, back to the child, try setting out some challenging activities for him and see what he can do. If he’s really smart, ask someone about moving him up or hint at it to Mom (without actually suggesting it or else you’ll hear about it) so that she does all the talking to your boss and have him moved up to a higher grade if that’s what he needs.

It sounds like you have a kid very similar to a kid I experienced three years ago.
I gave him the attention he wanted and the opportunity to use his mouth but in a manner controlled by me. I let him join me at the front of the class and gave him responsibilities such as holding flash cards, writing points (not awarding!), doing a gimmie five round of the class and garbage man among many other jobs. If he did talk out of line I would use any gramatical mistakes as an example to the rest of the class and get the kids to say “(Name), please say (insert correct English here)”

He knew that if he played up in any way he would lose his responsibilities. That kept him in line (or should I say borderline)
We were never able to make an ideal student out of him but we were able to lessen disruption to the rest of the class and keep him in the picture to as aposed to removing him from the classroom.

However, the other previous posters are correct. Clear, consistant classroom management techniques are the foundation for disipline in the classroom. Without some of the ideas given by previous posters, functioning daily in the class, you will have a multitude of problems aswell as your little Hells Angel to deal with.

spank him with a ruler! haha

This does not always have the desired effect. My high school history teacher used to hit us with rulers for not memorizing the material, right up until I left school. This is the only class I never did any homework for, and I used to get really excited before class.
Ended up with a D average for history, though.