Friday, February 7, 2014

Ignore method

 I am pretty sure this teaching method was not taught in college.
Some professionals might frown on my method I used on this one particular student, but to each his own.

So this 6th grader is adorable and has potential to be bright. When you uncover the outer layers you realize that this student craves positive attention and will wither at the thought that he has disappointed someone. For instance, on our way back from lunch one day he was mildly clowning around; the assistant principal caught him and reamed him a new one. Well, the poor thing was completely useless the rest of the class period because he was licking his wounds. 

After failing Q1 I decided to step up my game with this young man because he was too smart to fail. I think it's safe to say that every time he picked up his pencil he would quiver in fear I would catch a mistake. You see I wasn't out to get him I just really wanted to help him reach his true potential. Well, he wasn't doing so hot at the end of Q2. I decided to back off a little. Instead of having his desk right by me I put him as far away as possible. I did not check for understanding with him or ask if he needed help. I let him on his own to figure things out. In fact I directly told the student my plan of action.

"Since October I have watched you like a hawk and not much has changed. So now I am going to ignore you and if you need help you know where to find me." The shocked looked on his face and his "huh" said it all. The mama bird was leaving the baby bird to figure it out on his own. If he wants to fly he knows what to do. 

For the next two weeks he sat in the far left corner of the classroom. He rarely asked for help and did not talk to others, he just did his work. At week three during a lesson on author's purpose he sought me out for questioning on an assignment. Each day he would become more confident in his work and would ask questions or check to make sure he was doing it right. You could almost see his feathers fluffing up. The end of week four was approaching when the baby bird made his move. He ever so gently came to me at my desk and sweetly asked if he could return to his desk by the front. I responded by saying of course. 

This brings us to present day where the baby bird is still by my desk. I do not hover over him like before. I let him struggle and make countless mistakes. He knows what to do and how to fix them now. 

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