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The Private Session


What do you do when a student does something inappropriate in class?

One thing for sure, never get into a power struggle with him. The behaviour rarely improves. When a student misbehaves, he is usually expecting the teacher to react in a certain way. He knows he has an audience (his classmates) and he is often putting on a performance. This student is repeatedly behaving inappropriately or is regularly ignoring one (or more) of your procedures.


So how do we address this chronic misbehaviour?


One of the more effective ways to break a student (of any age) of an inappropriate behaviour is using the technique The Private Session.


There are two ways of implementing this technique:


THE PRIVATE PRACTICE SESSION

Let's say we are dealing with a compulsive talker. This is how we can implement this technique to address his misbehaviour.


Meet with the student privately and talk to him in a tone of concern, not frustration.


"I've noticed that you're having trouble remembering our procedure for raising your hand before speaking. Don't be too hard on yourself for forgetting. I'm an adult and I often forget things. But I know how embarrassing it can be to forget so often in front of your friends. So here's what I'm willing to do for you. I will give you my recess today and practice with you so that you will become really good at following that procedure and be less likely to forget. I'm happy to do that for you. See you at recess."


That's it.

In essence, you are pretending that you think that the student is just forgetting to raise his hand. The key is that you are not at all sarcastic and that you tell the student you are willing to give your own time to help him.


THE PRIVATE TALK SESSION

Another way to address misbehaviour is having a heart to heart talk with the student who misbehaves. This technique works even with the most notorious student in class.


Sit down with the student in private and genuinely ask about his wellbeing. You don't need to address his misbehaviour yet. Be sincere in your questions. More often than not, you will find that he is trying to seek attention in class, either from you or his classmates, because he is not getting enough from home.


The child who needs the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways.

When you have identified this problem, show that you care for him sincerely and you're there to give him the attention that he needs. However, he has to make a choice between positive or negative attention.


"Thank you for making me understand you better. Please know that I am here to help you in your studies. And I can give you the attention that you need. But you have to choose whether you want me to give you positive attention or negative attention. Would you prefer to receive compliments, praises, words of encouragement and such? Or would you like it if I continue to scold, reprimand, punish or even ignore you altogether? If you ask me, I'd love to give you positive attention because I think you deserve it and I would love to see your true potential."


Let the student reflect on the conversation and see the difference in his behaviour.


While some students are susceptible to self-improvement, some might take a little more work. Nevertheless, never give up on a child. You will never know the kind of influence you have on him in the long run.


#teachertips

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