Monday, September 19, 2011

1, 2, 3 strikes...and you're out

In my classroom, I try to only deal in positive behavior because I think that 98% of my attention should be given to the people who are genuinely trying to learn.  And of course the challenge is to engage everyone, so that 100% of the class wants to be there and learn English in a productive, cooperative kind of way.  I do this mainly through my reward/motivational system that I use.  However, there are times that this fails and I'm forced to pay attention to disruptive people, as was the case yesterday.  Here is what happened:

Strike 1: When I start class, I expect everyone to stop talking.  These 4 boys continued their conversation despite me looking clearly at them and waiting for them to stop.  I foresaw further problems, so I split them up by moving 2 boys to the front of the class.  The 2 boys remaining at the back improved their behavior so there were no further problems.  The 2 boys at the front were a different story.

Strike 2: The lesson continues and I'm doing a short grammar lesson.  I expect silence when I'm doing this except when I'm asking for some feedback.  Of course, if someone is confused they can ask their partner for help, but it's usually obvious when it's not idle chit-chat.  These 2 boys at the front were chit-chatting away, quite loudly so that is was enough to distract other students.

I said to them, "This is #2.  #1 was moving to the front.  If #3, goodbye and I will mark you absent."  The lesson continues.

Strike #3: We were playing a game that involved each team giving an answer.  I don't mind a little banter back and forth between the teams as long as I can hear the answers clearly.  These 2 boys were being obnoxiously loud so I told them to be quiet because I couldn't hear the answers from the other teams.  This was strike 2.9.  A minute later, they are being way louder than is appropriate in a classroom (yelling), so I asked them to leave.

I like the 3 strikes because almost nobody gets to 3, even kids.  In fact, most people calm down and act appropriately after the first warning. After the second one, students get the seriousness of it and usually feel quite bad about it and most of them apologize to me after class.  Anyway, if you're struggling with discipline, try it out and see if it works for you.

Readers: what do you do for discipline in your class?


Dan said...

Make them write an apology before coming back. Make them work to get back into the class. This could be a simple letter of apology, an account of what they did wrong, or even a description of why they think you over-reacted. Anything to get them thinking about why this happened and a little extra English practice while they are doing it.

MsCaroline said...

Is this typical behavior for Uni students in Korea? I taught Uni in the States for five years and never saw this kind of behavior in Uni students. High school students, yes, but never Uni. Are discipline and motivation typically issues for Uni instructors in Korea? I'd like to hear more about any cultural constructs or expectations that result in this type of behavior. My expectation as an instructor in the US is that students are paying for their education and and also want to get good grades. While they might skip class or fall asleep, I never experienced overtly inappropriate/rude/defiant behaviors in the college classroom.

Jackie Bolen said...

Freshman Korean uni students are at about a middle school in North America maturity level. I think it's because they don't socialize but only study. So, if you factor this into your lesson planning and classroom management, life will be much easier.

By the time students are seniors, they are more like the average uni student in the USA.