Teachers in many countries of the world encounter children who disrupt the class, demand attention and have difficulty attending to anything for more than a few minutes. These children have special needs – some may be hyperactive while others have emotional needs that aren’t being met outside the classroom. They express their feelings through movement – jumping up, falling off their seats, poking others sitting near them, talking, humming, making faces or drawing on everything. It’s very difficult for them to listen for more than a few minutes. This article suggests several solutions that might help the student and everyone in the classroom.
Although these children’s feelings are very real – they are a problem for teachers with classes of twenty, thirty or forty English second language children. Classes in some countries have fifty or sixty students.
First, before making a student’s program different from that of the others or having them do things that vary from the norm, it’s important to talk to the parents and the school administration. These changes can backfire if they aren’t handled carefully.
How Can a Teacher Meet the Needs of Such Children?
Let’s suggest a few possibilities. The student who likes to draw is a little easier to manage and to help.
– They can be given extra time for drawing if they complete their assignment. The length of the assignment should be adjusted to whatever is appropriate for them.
– A delayed reward, however, may be too distant for them as they usually live in the present. Try giving them one small assignment, something that is a part of what the others are doing, and let them add an illustration.
The Student Who Is Always in Motion Needs to Be Allowed to Move as Much as Possible.
– Allowing a child to walk to the washroom, run around the school or walk the length of the school hall and back can be helpful.
– Make the student the “Expert” in something such as setting up a projector, tidying some shelves, watering the plants, looking after a special projects table, or collecting papers. One student can’t be given all of the special jobs as all children love to do them. They can, however, be given one job that they are responsible for.
– Computers are a wonderful outlet for these children. Even a very hyperactive child will work at a computer for ten, fifteen or twenty minutes and then enjoy the reward activities that many programs offer.
A Workplace with Less Visual and Audio Stimulation
Providing a place in the classroom that is set apart from the others may help some children who are distracted by everything that is happening around them. It’s a good idea to let others sit in that workplace sometimes to avoid making the child feel isolated or rejected. Such a seat should only be used for a part of the lesson or the day. A student who needs this small change in his or her surroundings should be with the others students for most of the time.
Rewards are very helpful when dealing with very active or disruptive students, but it’s important that the other students have an opportunity to receive them too. It’s difficult to avoid rewarding the disruptive child for inappropriate behavior. Using a classroom computer is a big reward for most students.
These ideas take a lot of teacher time and thought. Anything that you do that makes your day more enjoyable and productive will be worthwhile. Try combinations of the above ideas and adapt them to your situation.