Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Talking Out Behavior

Recently I was asked this question”

“I need some advice about a second grade student that is very talkative during instruction. The student sometimes tries to chat with neighbors and distracts a few friends around him. However, the student has increasingly become more distracting to the entire class during instruction. The student often likes to provide his insight or input on certain topics and blurts out his thoughts when myself or my cooperating teacher is speaking. We are very happy that he is engaged and interested in new concepts, but he becomes a distraction and confuses classmates when he yells out information he believes to be accurate or when he wants to add to the conversation. The student is very respectful, and I do not think he means to be distracting or disruptive. However, we have to consistently pause instruction to tell the student he should not call out and if he has something to say he needs to raise his hand. Instead of targeting the undesirable behavior or punishing the student, I am curious if anyone has advice as to how I could handle this situation now and if it were to happen in the future.”

Here is how I answered:

I've had students who have been like this and successfully changed their behavior by using little bingo chips. Instead of drawing attention to this one student, you might challenge the whole class to sit quietly during your lesson and to only talk after they raise their hand and you call on them. Every few minutes, you can go around the room and give a chip to everyone who is doing this. At first, you will have to do this often so it is an immediate reward. Eventually, you can lengthen the time you give the reward. You might decide to take away a chip from anyone who calls out or disrupts the class.

At the end of the lesson or the end of the day (you decide), the students count up their chips and they can exchange them for a reward or save the amount for the end of the week to get a larger award. You will have to come up with a reward and "pricing" system that would motivate the students.

Students who talk out or disrupt the class will see the other students getting a reward and will work harder so that they can get a reward. Make sure that the main student you are targeting can taste some success. You need to notice when he is showing appropriate behavior and can earn a chip.

This takes time and patience but in the long run, it usually works. It doesn't happen overnight so stick with it and be consistent.

What advice would you give to this teacher? Please share.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

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