QUESTION: I’m finally starting to implement DWS in my classroom and I’m really loving it. I made some great posters to help the kids and it’s going well. However I’m having a hard time helping the kids come up with strategies to avoid misbehaving. The biggest problem we have is talking when they’re not supposed to. We go through the questions about what level that behavior is and whether it’s appropriate, which they are able to answer just fine. But when I ask them what can they do next time (or when they need to list strategies on their reflection sheets), all they ever say is “don’t talk”, or “ignore others.” What can I suggest to these kids to help them stop talking? Thanks!
“Don’t talk” and “ignore others” are not procedures. Have them create and practice a procedure(s) by working in small groups.
The assignment is, “Your neighbor is talking and it is getting in the way of your learning. What procedure can your group come up with that you can use to remind the person that the person is letting an impulse direct that person’s behavior? What can we do to GENTLY REMIND the person to self-reflect?”
Each group will come up with some procedure. You can have the groups share.
Here is what you have done: (1) You have empowered the group. If someone is talking when the person should not be, you now EXPECT the group/class to handle the situation. In other words, you have placed the responsibility on the students, where it belongs. The problem/challenge is now theirs. (2) You have had the students create a procedure that will help redirect impulsive behaviors. (3) You were positive by replacing a negative (“Don’t talk” and “ignore others”) with something positive—a specific procedure they can use.
REMEMBER: It is simply not realistic to expect young people to learn a procedure and then continually remember to use it. To be successful, the teacher must be consistent by reinforcement and practice.