Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wielding the Desire for Attention

Like in any classroom, I have students that have a particularly high threshold for attention that they want to be satisfied. Some of them will do whatever is necessary to satisfy that craving. They'll make noise, they'll wiggle their body, slam the table, or wave their arms around all just to get attention. It annoys me because it is definitely a distraction to my lessons in that such gestures get my students to focus on those students who crave attention rather than the lesson content.

To prevent distractions which have their origin in the craving for attention, their craving needs to be satisfied through other more productive outlets. That's something that I learned recently. As I had mentioned in a previous post, I try to grab the interest of my students for vocabulary by making it competitive.

Normally, when I initiate the competition, I'll do something like read the definition, count to 3 and then, pick a student with their hand up to state which word the definition refers to. One day, instead of doing that, I called on another student to do this job for me.

This gives them that attention that they wanted, but now instead of distracting students in the class, they're helping move it along. It gives them the attention that they want because it puts them in front and center of the classroom and they are required to be listened to in order, by the students, for them to participate. I've done this with multiple students who are especially persistent attention seekers. They're definitely less distracting while they're taking over a component of my lesson.

Having said that, I need to think of more ways to include my students to take over parts of my lessons. Consider it an integrated behavior management technique.

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