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I have a sort of general question that I am hoping to get some help on. I am in my first Phase of student teaching and I am looking for some help on some challenging students. I am specifically talking about the ones who not matter what the task, will abuse the science materials and not use them in the proper way. These few students like to test me, as well as my mentor teacher, in most directions and instructions that we give. Has anyone else experienced this before? Any suggestions on how to eliminate the behavior/distraction and get them focused back on the science??
945 Activity Points
What age or grade level are you referring to? You could have a potential safety issue here, if students are not using the materials appropriately or if they are engaged in disruptive behavior. What kind of safety agreement did your mentor teacher use to emphasize appropriate lab practices?
10110 Activity Points
I don't know if a safety lesson was already taught but it's never a problem to go back and reteach lab safety rules. Students can also sign a Lab Safety contract. I would have a place for their parents to sign as well so that when and if you need to call a parent about safety issues, they can recall the safety contract they signed.
It's happened very rarely that a student misused science equipment intentionally. When it did happen, we stopped the lab, asked students what was wrong with this picture? (No safety goggles, not measuring liquids with the proper equipment, etc.) I repeated that it is all about keeping them safe and if students can't follow the safety guidelines, they will not be able to participate, only observe, and may not know the correct sequence of events or the outcome of the experiment on the test. Therefore, it will affect their grade.
92329 Activity Points
First off, let me put your mind at ease. EVERYONE has encountered these students! I wish I could give you a single, good answer but each case of this kind of behaviour is based on many things which you and your mentor teacher probably have a better handle on than me. One strategy is that you might want to ask other teachers how they have handled these students. Maybe even check with the counselors.
Having said this - I do have a general approach to dealing with student behaviour: I usually employ a "3 strike rule". The first time (Strike One) I will take them aside and reason with them in a calm manner but tell them directly what they are doing wrong and how it needs to stop. The second time, I will pull them out of the class individually to have a more stern chat with them. This time I will tell them that I have already tried reasoning with them and they didn't really understand. I would even say, "Strike Two" and ask them if they know baseball. At this point in time I would usually outline what will happen on Strike Three. First off, they are definitely "Out". Here you have several options: call home, banned from the next lab, no chance to choose who they work with, paper lab for them instead of hands-on, etc; . It is very important that you follow through on "Strike Three" - no excuses from the student, no begging, they have been warned and it is now time to face the consequences.
Hope this helps!
4174 Activity Points
I am a currently a senior in college and studying to be a special education teacher. In my current class for special education, I am learning a lot about behavior management. A lot of times when students are doing an undesired behavior, they are trying to communicate something to you. One of my favorite approaches for working with students like this is the constructivist approach. By doing some research on this approach you can learn many short and long-term interventions that could work great with your students! These interventions could help create a positive science experience for your students and decrease their desire to abuse the materials.
3729 Activity Points
As someone who works with teens with behavioral issues, I think the biggest key is getting to know them as a person. Asking them questions not even related to school. If you show them that you care about them as a person, they'll see this and be more responsive to you. If this doesn't work, maybe talk to the parents and see if the child is going through something at home or if they know any strategies to use to deal with the misbehavior. Hope this helps a bit!
4032 Activity Points
Thank you all so much for your input! I am not sure if there was a safety lesson taught or not, that will be something I will have to ask my mentor teacher. In terms of them being unsafe, I may have mislead you by the way of my wording to make you think that they were using them in such an unsafe way that they would be putting other in harms way, but just were simply not using them for the investigations purpose when certain tools are used for multiple reasons. I will be sure to take all of this into consideration and use the method of reviewing safety rules and agreements through the school year when students are choosing to misuse equipment. Thanks again!
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