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MissAgnes MissAgnes is offline
 
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Learned helplessness.
Old 01-16-2020, 04:09 PM
 
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The group this year is so utterly helpless it makes me want to scream. I teach the lesson. I use "I do", "We do", "You do".
When it's time for "you do", they give me blank stares. I'm used to 1 or 2 students like this every year, but this year it's almost ALL of them.
I've stopped repeating directions. I tell them to read the instructions on their paper. They act like the paper is blank.
There are zero problem solving skills. For example, if their pencil breaks, they will sit there and just not do anything. Will not attempt to ask for a pencil, will not attempt to get another pencil. They will just sit there.
I handed out papers for interactive notebook today. As always, I say, "If you did not get a paper, please raise your hand. Last call!" No one said anything.
I gave the lesson, and gave the instructions. I noticed 3 students weren't doing anything.
"Why aren't you working?" "I didn't get a paper." 20 minutes after I handed them out.
Do you have ANY suggestions? I'm really being firm with them on this, because it's absolutely ridiculous at the point in time. I fear that I have enabled them, but no longer. Any ideas?


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teabreak teabreak is online now
 
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Same life
Old 01-16-2020, 04:29 PM
 
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I am living the same life at high school this year. My freshman are about to burn me out with this behavior! I normally just look at them and say, “Well, I showed you how to do this, we did one together, now it’s your turn to show me how to do it.” No paper, pencil etc....Look at them and say, “You need to get started.”
“Mrs. Teacher, I don’t have a pencil.”
“You know where we keep them. Your legs can get you there pretty easily.” And walk off.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:57 PM
 
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Honestly, at that point I keep kids in at recess. If you couldn't figure out how to problem solve getting a pencil during class, then you can figure it out during your free time. It definitely seems learned, so they can make time to unlearn it.
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Old 01-17-2020, 04:14 AM
 
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Praise the ones who are doing it right.

Also, what are they doing during "We do"? Is it allowing them some time to actually think before "We do". You may need to change up your "We do" to get choral responses about what "We do" and include some of the students in the instructional part of the "We do" process.

You are probably already doing this, but filter throughout the classroom during "I do" and at least call them on their behavior without really calling them out. No "what are you supposed to be doing" accusations, but ask them about the process. Don't let them sit.

There is no reason a student should be sitting 20 minutes without a paper or a pencil and you not know about it during an "I do" portion of instruction. That may be the very reason this behavior continues. They know they don't have to worry about it because you won't notice for a very, very long time.
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MissAgnes MissAgnes is offline
 
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Had another one yesterday.
Old 01-17-2020, 09:39 AM
 
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Student told me that she didn't know how to log into her account. The account she's had for 5 years. The account she's used to log on every time she's gotten on the computer at school since K.
I told her to figure it out, and walked away.


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Old 01-17-2020, 03:00 PM
 
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I saw more and more of this every year before I retired. I honestly think it is the hardest attitude to deal with. If allowed, keep them in at recess and tell them you hope they will be able acquire a pencil and paper then.
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Old 01-18-2020, 06:16 AM
 
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I've been in education since the late 1970s, and think a lot of this started in 2001 with the No Child Left Behind Act. The act, intentionally or not, started to shift all accountability from students to teachers.

In the 70s and 80s, teachers were expected to do their jobs, but if students failed to follow directions or put forth any effort, they were the ones held accountable. Test scores were important, but the situation was nothing like it is today.

Everything started to change in the 1990s. Politicians needed to show they were doing something to "fix" education, so they went after teachers, the easiest targets. It would have been political suicide to have blamed poor parenting or poor student attitudes.

It was during those years that I first started to hear the expression "failing schools." The common line went like this: Why do some schools have poor test scores? It's nothing but poor teaching! Get rid of the bad teachers, and hire new teachers who can teach. If necessary, get rid of the entire staff and hire a new one. Open charter schools, which will give those failing public schools some much-needed competition.

When No Child Left Behind became reality, teachers were scrutinized like never before. If a child wasn't learning, it was automatically the teacher's fault. It became the teacher's responsibility to do everything, even if it meant buying pencils and other supplies, coming in before school, giving up a lunch period, or staying after school to tutor. Of course, students and parents could no longer be expected to assume any responsibility for missing assignments or tardiness. Perish the thought!

When I was in high school in the early 70s, an English teacher assigned us a novel, Rebecca, and gave us two or three weeks to read it.
I had a lot of work in other classes, and yes, I was a bit lazy, so I only got around to reading about 30 pages. On a Friday, the teacher announced that we were expected to have the book finished by the following Monday. That weekend, I spent every free minute reading, and finished on Sunday night. I could have asked my parents to write a note excusing me, but the thought never crossed my mind. My parents never would have written it anyway. I learned an important lesson that weekend.

I'm happy to see that some students and parents are still quite responsible, and understand that they need to do their part. At the same time, this current "everything is the teacher's fault" mindset does nothing but encourage learned helplessness.

Last edited by c6g; 01-18-2020 at 07:09 AM..
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Old 01-18-2020, 06:21 AM
 
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The behavior on index cards that you keep in a pocket chart on wall away from the instructional area. Have a red ticket, they get the ticket, they have to write their name date and time. Then they get up and walk far from the group to put the ticket in a jar. They must bring the index card to you. You have a little basket where you then place the card.

Later you match up the red ticket to the index card using a tally. If they get 10 tallies there is a consequence they dont like. Must fit individual. If they get 10 tallies you call home.

"I am sorry to tell you, 10 times so far this week Ben has not been actively engaged in class. He had a negative consequence and will now be sweeping my ramp for 3 days. Teaching Ben how to be a good student is important. Will you support and encourage him to do better, please?"

These are courageous conversations. If your tone is one of concern and care these calls might be effective.

Then there's "see me at recess" and you write name on your clipboard. At recess you forfeit your own break time, but the time spent speaking to this student away from the others is invaluable in the long run.

Have your own snack bag already packed ahead of time. Teach the student to go get water, use RR, wash hands, and then sit in a predesignated spot that is removed from his peers.

You come after seeing to your physical needs, you sit beside this student and you feed yourself.

You may be very surprised at what you learn if you just listen. Ask an opener open ended question such as, "do you know why you're here missing recess?"

Often kids are:
Tired
Thirsty
Starved for any attention
Unmotivated
Apathetic
Scared
Abused
Neglected
Good actors! ( Write a Play! Identify your kids. You must know them so you can encourage them)
Overwhelmed
Confused
Dull
Lacking respect for authority figures
Unloved
Impatient
Hungry
In pain
Too hot
Too cold
Clothing too tight
Dirty
Sleepy

There are many situations where you must be a detective and a counselor and try to design assignments that will egnite the passion for academic rigor and creativity.

I would have everyone draw their homes then write about family. An ariel view of home, back and front yards. A view from the street. Teach how to write and mail a letter home.

(You could have misbehaving kids write a letter and mail to parent.)

Help class choose a community or school improvement project. Get them up on their feet doing real things. Write your unit around this.

Kids need to move. Sitting and listening is not a strong point. This must be nursed along until they can sustain mental focus for longer and longer periods.

I know how you feel. I had many situations in my career that you are describing.

Good thread. Timely topic. I hope you get many ideas.
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MissAgnes
Old 01-18-2020, 08:34 AM
 
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I teach 1st, and I teach them what "learned helplessness" means, they often run to help others and then I teach them how not to "enable" others!!!
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Old 01-18-2020, 08:49 AM
 
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I now work with K-5 which has been interesting to me. Just yesterday in a small kinder class I had several pulling the same thing. 1 sat and figured it out (didn't pay attention) and the other was trying to get someone to do it for him. I know he can do it as I have seen him do it, so I just told him he would have to figure it out. I was not rescuing him. It took him about 20 minutes. During that 20 minutes he tried to get a friend to help. I was pretty impressed with the kinder friend who ignored him and continued his work. He twirled around on his chair. He raised his hand over and over. I would walk over to see where he was an encouraged him to keep at it. Finally, he got to what he was supposed to do and worked the rest of the time.

I agree that this has become epidemic and that it is probably due to the movement that held teachers responsible rather than students. In my classes, I am grading reflecting the student, not me. I am encouraging students to take responsibility. I know most of my peers do the same thing, but I do see 2 that make excuses for their class and don't hold them responsible. They agree with the above poster that students can't sit and attend and therefore should be moving around all the time while the teacher makes sure they do their work, whatever it is. They are the worst classes to work with. Other classes are learning responsibility and can sit and listen. They are learning to follow directions. So, what is the difference? Yes, it is the expectations held by the teacher.

BTW, I do think that students should have opportunities to do things that allow them to move. I don't think all kids have to sit at a desk, listen, and do worksheets all day long. But I do think they should be working toward that goal. Not just make allowances for all to NOT learn.


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Old 01-21-2020, 08:50 AM
 
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Sounds like my high school students.
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