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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Korean Kids and the 'Mom' figure

"What are you afraid of?"

"Getting a bad grade on a test."
"Poisonous insects."
"Snakes."
"My Mother."

This week, one student caused me a lot of stress. He ran around with scissors, he stood on the whiteboard and wiggled it. (For dramatic effect, the screws came out and it fell over, almost knocking out another student.) The class became unsafe. I heard the boy sees a therapist with his family, and has some form of ADD. He gets angry when I ask him a simple question; he whines or growls and scuffs his shoes against the floor.

I told my boss I couldn't take it. "Time out" didn't even work. I couldn't rationalize with him. The class became chaotic, and the other students fed off the energy.

My boss phoned his Mother and had a little chat. The next day, he was another person altogether. He came into class meek and lifeless. He forgot his book and sat silently, with a lowered head, not saying anything but, "yes teacher. No teacher." After class I told him I would be very sad if he left, but that he needed to show me respect. He wrapped his arms around me, with his head on my shoulder. He looked like he might cry. It was a sweet, unexpected moment.

But I don't want a fearful student who knows his Mother is eyeing him, at home, on the CGV camera. I just need to be able to manage him. I wonder what next class will hold. Any disciplinary advice, teachers?

6 comments:

supersoulfly said...

It is all about consistency. Have clear boundries that are agreed upon. Everytime that a line is crossed be consistent with the consequences. Also you need to promote his good behaviour. If he is acting accordingly, something as simple as a pat on the back can go a long way. Children, especially with ADD, need stimulation. Vary your teaching style. Have the kids get up and walk around. Make sure they are participating in someway. Use your hands alot when you are talking. Have them move their hands too when they talk. Make teaching interactive. Instead of having them open their books to a certain page, have them clap two times in a circle, then open their books. Mundane activites bring out the worst in ADD kids.

MUD said...

Ritalin on the four hour dose level works wonders. Mom Gives them a pill in the morning and they are good for up to 4 hours. The school nurse gives them a second dose right before lunch. Their appetite is not suppressed this way and they can be themselves at home. I wouldn't give it to them on the weekend of school holidays. It worked for our son and it has consistently has worked for students of my wife for 27 years. My son said it allowed him to listen to one stimulus at a time and gave him focus. His Hyper activity came from the stimulation from a bunch of sources and he, on Ritalin, could narrow down the focuses and learn and do well. Is it a cure, no, only an aide. MUD

Gdog said...

One of my favorite classroom management techniques is using non verbal communication and proximity.

I like to walk around the class when I teach and try not to stay in the same spot. This lets students know that the teacher won't just be standing in one spot I will be aware of what they are up to.

Combining this with non verbal communication, if a student is acting out of line, I'll walk up to them and stand in front of them, and look them straight in the eye without saying a word. Whatever you do, don't open your mouth. Just stand still, and look at the student, maybe cross your arms for effect. The student will be so confused as to what you are thinking and should stop. The class will know what's going on so they will stop too. Just take your time and wait. Be patient. You can always stand there, with a few fingers touching their desk. Keep calm and bring on the poker face! I always have to try so hard not to laugh.

I know this might not work with every class, but pausing and waiting is one of the best things you can do. Save your voice and don't try to go against the grain.

If I'm ever sending a student out after a couple warnings, I will not embarass him/her in front of the class. I'll whisper to them that I "need to speak with them outside". I just stand and wait for them to come with me outside, then I get them to explain to ME, why they are outside.

You could always try positive reinforcement too. I have created a "Star Club" in my class, where good kids get their names on the board. At the end of the class, there is a draw for a prize. This is something that has worked for me with some students in particular who would always disrupt the class. Knowing that there is a reward is something that they can control themselves, so they try very hard to get into that club.

Anyways, good luck with that student. He definitely sounds like a real piece of work! :)

John from Daejeon said...

My first class here in S. Korea was with bratty little girls who enjoyed crying at a drop of a hat over any little thing. No teacher here in the hagwon is able to control these terrors. I thought I'd be fired post haste, but I later found out that I am quite well liked, even though I don't always talk in Korean to them and buy them pizza like the awesome last native English teacher did. The kids may not like it, but the parents love that I am actually trying to help them learn English and not practicing my Korean on them.

Here in the hagwon system, you can't afford to lose kids whose parents are paying a very pretty penny to give them a leg up on the hordes of kids being born worldwide by the second. Last week we lost a great teacher when she blew up at some pretty bad kids and said something in slang to them (the joys of being under the watchful eye of CCTV). We aren't allowed to discipline these kids because they are our meal tickets, and losing even one affects the bottom line. This isn't public school.

The kids know that I can't call their parents and report their bad behaviour like the Korean teachers. So, what now works for me, is that I no longer take the abuse. I stop class, and I have the offender accompany me to the director who then calls their parents. So, the child now has to apologize to the director and their parents. I don't like to do it, but it is very effective.

supersoulfly said...

It is all about consistency. Have clear boundries that are agreed upon. Everytime that a line is crossed be consistent with the consequences. Also you need to promote his good behaviour. If he is acting accordingly, something as simple as a pat on the back can go a long way. Children, especially with ADD, need stimulation. Vary your teaching style. Have the kids get up and walk around. Make sure they are participating in someway. Use your hands alot when you are talking. Have them move their hands too when they talk. Make teaching interactive. Instead of having them open their books to a certain page, have them clap two times in a circle, then open their books. Mundane activites bring out the worst in ADD kids.

Eva Karrin McKinnon said...

Yes, he needs more ACTIVE things in class. I try, but we have material to get through, and the noise level soars so high that I have a raging headache once they leave the class. I do the finger pressed to lips thing and they shush for a one or two minutes tops.

A good idea: Bring GDOG, Supersoulfly, Mud and John to stand in the corner of the room with their arms crossed, as an intimidation tactic.

I'm just not scary enough.

Seriously, THANK YOU for your advice though!!! Very well thought out and helpful.