Be Strict. Give Boundaries

Talk to your students about rules and boundaries. Give examples from your real life. e.g. I was hit by a taxi while riding my bike to work because the taxi driver cut into the bus/bike lane to get around traffic; he broke the law, he didn’t follow the rules. I got very badly hurt. Shock factor can be effective!

5-minute time-out

Here is a typical example of being strict with rules or boundaries:

Teacher: “Why do you have a time out?”

Kid: “I don’t know.”

Teacher: “Right, then you can stand here longer while you think about why you have a time out.”

Teacher: “What did you do that was not nice?”

Remove the children from the behaviour so that they can take it or leave it. Talk about the undesirable behaviour as if it is an object over there; isolate it. This helps the children to remove themselves from the behaviour. They have the choice to not take ownership of it.

Use Some Humour

Here is another example of breaking up misbehaving students that are sitting in a group:

“Johnny come sit right beside me, best seat in the house - right beside the teacher.”

Don’t target the problem. Instead remove all the children around them; besides, the non-problem children will be more willing to move. Eventually, you remove all the children from around the problem creating a circle of peace surrounding the problem.

Know Thy Child – Spark Their Interest

And another example:

Michael: “I don’t want to write my story.”

Teacher: “If you don’t write it now, you will take it to PE and write it then. If you don’t write then, you will take it to the Assembly and write it then. If you don’t write it then, you will take it home and write it at home. You come to school to read and write and count and dance and sing and play and paint; look at Zoe and Lyla, they are writing now because they are supposed to write now as are you. Do your writing, Michael.”

Michael stopped rocking back on his chair and completed his writing.

Teacher: “Michael, high five. Nice job on your writing.”

I mentioned dancing and singing because I knew Michael loves to dance and sing and this statement (as I suspected), sparked his interest; it brought a smile to his wee adorable face and aroused his curiosity; he listened to what I was saying.

Throw a Curveball – Get Their Attention

Similarly to the above example, I try to always throw a curveball into what I am saying - Not Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Blah, blah blah.”, but addressing the two that are whispering over yonder.

Teacher: “Adam, did you hear what Azeem said?”

Adam, looking at me with a puzzled look, “Uh?”

Teacher, “Azeem said that he was going to invite you to his house with the swimming pool and then you guys were going to have pizza and a huge birthday cake.”

By now you have everyone’s attention and many are laughing (some with a puzzled look).

Teacher: “Adam, sit here.” Point to a spot away from his chatter-box friend.

Remind moved the student that they are still friends, but need to be in a place where they can not be distracted by ‘---whatever the undesirable behaviour stated here is---’. Make it clear what they were doing wrong and give them options of what they should be doing right.

Make Sure They Know What is Correct behaviour

Some half-pints may not know what is correct behaviour; most boo-boo-bears will not know what is correct behaviour. If the babushkas are not assimilating - following basic rules and routines, chances are it started in the home environment. The beauty of school is that children have the opportunity to experience other avenues in life.

State and define the problem exactly so that children understand exactly what they have done that is not acceptable and then state options. For example:

Teacher: “Instead of hitting Johnny you could say, I want to play with you.”

Another example:

Students: “He keeps following us!”

Teacher: “Lucky you. He wants to be your friend. Wow, you can be friends for life. I have a friend from Grade 4. That is a 48 years friendship! I just sent them a birthday card.”

State to the children the behaviour that is desired and disassociate or isolate them from the undesirable behaviour.