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"Problem" student
Old 09-25-2009, 08:30 AM
 
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There is a student in my class that NEVER listens or is able to follow directions. He is always in a hurry to get to the next thing, or be the first one done with his work. I have talked to him about this, and contacted his parents. Apparantly this has been a problem with him repeatedly throughout his school career.

Mom said she has tried positive rewards, as well as taking things away. He has also spent extra time with me to finish his work.

I'm not sure how to help him listen to directions and follow them! Does anyone have any suggestions or strategies to try? Thanks!


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Old 09-25-2009, 08:39 AM
 
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My rule of thumb, as my students well know by now, that I am not a repeater.
I give my directions, ask a student to repeat them, or I will repeat them myself and we're moving on. That's just the way life is. I know, you're supposed to spend time and wait and this and that, but I figured out that in my second full week of teaching, I was stopping, waiting and WASTING about 15-20 minutes per day on students who could not follow directions. Sorry to say, but in a week, we're looking at 75-100 minutes per week, 300-400 minutes (which is one full school day!!!) per month and then if we have our students for 9 or 10 months...well, essentially you're wasting two full weeks of class on WAITING.

So, I propose that you give your directions twice or partner him up with someone who WILL follow directions very well and go from there.
That's just my suggestion.
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Old 09-25-2009, 12:35 PM
 
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I give directions ONCE, write down where to turn it in, and when it's due on the board for the kids to refer to, otherwise I don't repeat myself.

At this point, the child is making a choice. I guess I don't understand why the problem is yours. He is making a choice and has been making it repeatedly for 6 years now. Give the directions and let the kids work. He has a choice: He can do it CORRECTLY during class time or he can fix it one HIS time (recess, free time, before school or after school-it sounds like mom would support it). I also don't think it should be a classmate's job to listen FOR him (he won't have someone following him around the rest of his life).

It sounds heartless, but the truth is, choices have consequences and he needs to learn that. When he gets to middle school the teachers will just give him the "F" and move one.
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Old 09-25-2009, 01:14 PM
 
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Just curious... does he have an IEP or 504? If he does, can you see what has helped in the past?
I have a whole class of students that fit that description and I have found that making a To Do List on the board often helps them because they have a hard time following directions given orally. Sometimes I even have the students jot the list down on a List Sheet (Long, thin sheet I tape to their desk) and let them cross items off as they do them. I know this makes me feel good and it often works for students, too!
Hang in there! It can be frustrating, but if you have the directions written down... just point to them any time someone asks you to repeat them!
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Old 09-25-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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Can you put a kind, patience teacher in the making kind of student next to him- both to remind him of the directions and also to be a good role model. Also, I have many times made my "rushers" wait until least 5 other students have turned their papers in before they can. Many times a kid gets a thrill out of being the first one done and needs to break the habit.


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Old 09-26-2009, 06:54 PM
 
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After teaching students with ADD and emotional issues for many years, I have thrown the "He is just not paying attention or caring enough, why is it my problem?" concept out the window.



First, read his file.

Second, check with your special ed. office to see if the child has ever been referred for testing. If not, refer him.

In the meantime, try to shift your paradigm. Try not to assume the student is just "not listening," and tryto figure out why/what is stopping him from litening. Where is he seated? Should he be closer to you? What are the directions he is not following? Are they auditory or visual? When you are giving the directions, are you breaking them down step-by-step? What we assume as "regular" learners ourselves is that a student is simply not listening, when they may have really thought they were listening. They just don;t get it.

Have someone, not always him, restate your directions.

Instead of calling on students who raise their hands, pull their names from a hat, randomly. It helps to get those coasting-on-the-work-of-others kids to perk up.

Do not repeat your directions. If a student asks you to repeat a direction, just stand there for a second, then continue with your lesson. Try to rephrase the direction. If you have an incentive program in your classroom, "charge" for any time you have to repeat a direction. (make sure the direction is simple.)

A subtle desk-tap does wonders. As you give directions, or explain/teach, walk past this student and simply tap their desk or paper.

My basic assumption is that all fifth graders want to learn and want to please. Instead of assuming they are not paying attention, or being disrespectful, or being lazy, try to figure out why the heck such a young child might be acting this way. Make them accountable, but make sure you are being as clear as you can.
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Thank you...
Old 09-27-2009, 03:36 AM
 
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for all your suggestions. Some of them I have already tried, but will keep working.

He was tested last year and does not qualify for any types of services. He is also seated in the front of the classroom. I like the list idea, I think I might try that with him.

It is just so early in the year already, and I don't want this to become a habit for him, yet again!
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