The young 14 year old boy looked at his friends sitting quietly in the class. He was bored…restless! Immediately, he started a conversation with the boy sitting closest to him.
Soon the chatter rose and disrupted the sleepy class.
As teachers, mentors or guides, we may all have situations were you find one child regularly and cheerfully disrupting a class. The exasperation, irritation and dismay would be conclude with a crisp instruction for “Silence!”. The aftermath of such an incident would be one of frustration and perhaps anger – “How can I keep this student from bothering the class”?
How many times are we actually looking to see whether the flaw lies with ourselves than the erring student? Maybe the manner we conduct the class is BORING (children are innocent when it comes to conveying their boredom as they seldom hesitate to display their state of mind)…maybe the child does not find the class stimulating or challenging….or maybe as a teacher, we do not engage or involve him enough in the class.
Once upon a time, I experienced the “opportunity” of having a student in my class who enjoyed disrupting class, playing pranks, laughing and joking.
As Naveen’s disruption grew more and more frequent, I was tempted to contact his parents and explain the challenge he was posing for me in class. But something stopped me and I continued speaking to him after class regarding the negative effect of his behaviour on our class. Unfortunately, despite repeated chats with him, his behaviour showed no improvement.
When the season for class leader elections arrived, to my deep concern, the naughtiest student was elected as the class leader by his class mates.
I was fraught with worry – how would the class be now with a class leader who enjoyed nothing more than disrupting the peace in the class room?
My concern and worry was unwarranted for if there was a student who personified how a student leader ought to be, it was Naveen.
Friendly, firm, responsible yet fun loving, dedicated and sincere, within days of becoming the student leader, the class experienced the strength of his leadership. He stopped disrupting the class completely and in fact actively supported me in maintaining discipline in the class. With the class’s main culprit of chaos on my side, I had nothing to feel concerned about…work was done, students were motivated, silence was maintained during class hours and harmony prevailed!
I realized that Naveen’s promotion from a student to a class leader was an eyeopener for me. It taught me that I had not shown the astuteness and patience to understand the smart, intelligent and bored child but had merely seen him as a noisy and naughty student.
This leadership role had provided him the stepping stone to boldly evolve into what he is capable of.
Naveen’s metamorphosis had taught me that children are naturally motivated and it is for us as adults to admire and encourage their optimism, motivate their drive to learn, desire to succeed, their courage to discover and investigate. Each child is special, has a unique personality and is gifted too.
Words of appreciation and praise are powerful tools to motivate.
Naveen’s distraction in class was an obvious signal for me to assess my communication style and ask myself – How can I make the class interesting and creative?
Each child in the class needs to be given the opportunity to lead and help others grow unless proven otherwise – Naveen was a perfect example of how the ability to lead is existent in every child. Every child has the potential to lead and this potential is not based on his/her academic or extracurricular brilliance, class behaviour or even confidence.
Celebrate every student’s success story – a trip to an orphanage during holidays for volunteering is also an achievement.
Positive and constructive language generates optimism and promotes self motivation.
Nurturing a child’s talent is like looking into a treasure trove, you never know what treasure awaits you! The patience you show is critical and invaluable for the child’s growth.
Appreciate, appreciate and appreciate what you admire and value in each student.
One of the primary ways that a student can avoid negative thinking is when responsibility, opportunity to make a positive difference to themselves and their environment is given.
Feedback peppered with words of praise and critical analysis could trigger thinking to a greater extent than mere criticism.
Periodical feedback from students can also give an insight into we may need to to focus on and to improve their learning enjoyment.
Last but not least, asking questions instead of only uttering statements would help us be better aware of students, people and situations to a greater degree. This would sharpen our existing listening skills as well.
Learning is continuous and in the case of a teacher…even more so.