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#388769 - 03/28/08 11:25 PM How to handle kids with little self control
DojiSan Offline

Registered: 12/25/06
Posts: 24
I am teaching about 12 students at a private school ages 5-9. I teach them tuesday and thursday right after school which is around 4 pm. I have been teaching them for about 4 months now. The issue i am having is that all of them have problem paying attention and focusing. I have done everything I can to get them to pay attention to me. I tried the fun way, and I tried the strict way, where if they as much look somewhere else I made them do 10 push ups as punishment.

I don't want to give up on them, but it seems like 1 hour before class, the school feeds like like 20 spoonful of sugar! Here is an example, one student kept poking another student and making noises. I told him that if he continued that I would take one of his stripe away. He eagerly said yes when I asked him to stop, but as soon as I turned around he started goofing off again. So, I made him do push ups and again he says he will pay attention. But before I even get the class to "set" he moves next to his classmate and pokes him again! Then two others would start dancing for some reason and then another one would suddenly just go to another spot!!

One class i spent with them just sitting down, criss cross, and not saying anything. We did this for like 8 minutes and I talked about how great leaders pay attention etx and how it would help them in life.etc went great!! But the minute I stand them all up, few will start goofing off again! moving around, asking to go to the bathroom, complaining that their stomach is hurting, needing to drink water..arrggg! I tried everything...even when i give them stars if they manage to pay attention even for a few seconds, that does not desparate for any suggestions... sorry about the long post..

#388770 - 03/29/08 08:59 AM Re: How to handle kids with little self control [Re: DojiSan]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Keep them busy. Kids that age can be hard to keep in line. Give them martial-related games, and wear them out. Here are some ideas I have used:
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#388771 - 03/29/08 09:50 AM Re: How to handle kids with little self control [Re: DojiSan]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3119
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Dojisan:

By definition children have little "self control". If they did they would be little adults!!! It will not please you to hear it, but you have a "perfectly normal" class in many respects. You have several issues happening simultainously.

1) They have been sitting ALL day long, this is likely (LITERALLY) the first physical anything they have done or had since their heads left the pillow that morning. Suggestion one, DRAIN them physically for the first 10 minutes, hopping, running, whatever you can imagine. If it has a martial component/sneaky context all the better. Have them do 100 punches.

The idea is to give them a physical outlet, get them into their bodies, and out of their heads. Having them do the big gross physical motions is part of what you are trying to do right?

2) The age range is too BIG. You cannot put kinder garden kids with second, third graders and try and work with them as a single group. It will not work for the kids on either end of the age range. The "games" used for the kinder gardeners are not the right ones for the 2nd, 3rd graders.
You cannot teach the same way to that big an age difference. Very different approaches... same information, just a different speed.

You have to split the group, or divide the exercises so they you have lots of circle drills. (you or one of THEM in the center). If you're losing just one or two when you have to waste time attending to them the entire group is not being taught. In a line that can be bad. In a circle kids tend to do less because "everyone" is able to see them doing "X".

3) As for the talking, there are many approaches, if you can make YOURS work, you win. Ever tried the "NOISE game"? "...Ok class you can make as much noise as YOU want UNTIL I raise my hand.... after that you must be absolutely 100% quiet or you sit down. The winners are the ones standing. Run 2,3, 4 rounds of it.... Should get you 5 (maybe 10) minutes of less chatter. Perhaps more?

4) Have you spoken with any of the teachers of the school re: their specific protocols for disruptive behavior(s)? Several places I teach have them and I borrow theirs. We are a bone fide class, genuine teachers not ~...just the hour they can fool around... and learn pretend karottty~

5)Also remember we cannot have ADULT expectations of the kids. They chatter. You should hear what is happening with the COLLEGE students today. They literally can no longer be silent or still either.

6) As for the touching that's an easy fix. Most gym teachers have little squares/circles/triangles. You can use paper plates if need be. Or you can cut up your own pieces of a sticky mat, etc. You put them down, such that the kids physically CANNOT touch one another sitting/standing on them. Place them far enough apart.

Touching (without permission/instruction) gets them in time out IMMEDIATELY. 1 minute per year age of the child. If they get in time out you send home a standard form note, and ask the parents to sign it. ".... little johnny was being disruptive in my class today we thought you would like to know about this. Would you please remind johnny about correct classroom behavior..."

Or you can write a fast note specific if the behavior was disruptive enough. "...Maryjane refused to stop talking for 8 minutes straight (and continued to defy me by talking even while sitting out) and disrupted my class... please speak to her about appropriate behavior for my class"

7) The other likelyhood is that you could well have multiple children with assorted medical/psychological diagnosis. ADD, ADHD, etc., etc. Regardless of the particular label, the behaviors follow a certain generic pattern.

Are certain children the consistant problem for you? Are there specific behaviors, beyond the chatty and touching you described?

Where are things falling apart in your intended curricilium? If you can give us an idea what it looks like perhaps others can help as well?

Lastly, are you familiar with "spring fever"?

When time allows,

#388772 - 04/08/08 09:27 AM Re: How to handle kids with little self control [Re: Ronin1966]
Raul Perez Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 2806
Loc: Lake Ronkonkoma, NY, USA
Recently we've encountered quite a "spirited" group of white belt students. Some with behavior issues. Came to a point where we (the instructors) were focusing too much on the bad ones and the good ones were not receiving the needed attention. So we took a stern stance on the 3 strike rule.

In the beginning of each class we reiterate the rules - 1 warning, second warning you take a seat with your parents (3-5 minutes), third warning you leave the floor for the day.

Make this very clear and concise especially for the parents watching. So far it has worked out and some of the "bad" ones have actually turned almost a complete 180 since being booted off the floor 3 or 4 times.

Methodology is this... I'd rather lose a bad one than 3 good ones.
"I'm gonna come at you like a spider monkey"

#388773 - 04/08/08 01:11 PM Re: How to handle kids with little self control [Re: Raul Perez]
tkd_high_green Offline

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 1031
Loc: Vermont
We do something similar, first warning pushups, second warning they have to go stand in the corner.

We have one special needs student who gets very easily distracted, but in his case, one of the adult students has volunteered to help out and be his partner.

The biggest thing I've found is to just keep them moving. They don't start getting into trouble until they have time to get into trouble.

#388774 - 04/14/08 10:22 PM Re: How to handle kids with little self control [Re: tkd_high_green]
TKD_X Offline

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 786
you could give them an incentive. student of the day award sticker might work. you can get good kick, good punches, etc. stickers from century. kids of that age are easily impressed. tell them that if they behave well enough you will show them your black belt kata/poomse/form/whatever you call it. the kids i teach like it when i kick over a wavemaster. you could do an impressive board break.

these are the more positive ways. i recommend this over giving pushups, timeout, etc. because it is a private school. realistically, these kids are privilaged. i wouldn't think you want them to go home and cry about the mean karate teacher who made them do pushups. then word gets out that your too strict and things get complicated. also i think it would be more rewarding to have positive experiences and not have to give pushups. MattJ's syllabus looks really good for dealing with extra energy too.
Are you ok!?!? It was an accident! No really! I promise!

#388775 - 04/15/08 03:57 PM Re: How to handle kids with little self control [Re: DojiSan]
JMWcorwin Offline

Registered: 07/13/07
Posts: 731
Loc: SoCal, USA
One word... SHINAI!!!!!!!

Kidding of course. But the thought does fly through the dark side of my brain from time to time.
There are no PERFECT techniques, only perfect execution for the situation at hand. ~Corwin

#388776 - 04/15/08 11:28 PM Re: How to handle kids with little self control [Re: DojiSan]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
not saying this is the correct way or not, but I can honestly say as a kid in karate class, discipline wasn't as much a problem in the 70's. goofing-off meant getting hit or humbled with punishment. It just didn't happen much since there were deterrents that kids could understand.

'self-control' is a new term. back then, kids were 'adult-controled'.

I myself personally, do not use fear, hitting or humilation as a means of discipline....but I do respect the fact that my elders used methods that worked.

#388777 - 04/16/08 10:01 AM Re: How to handle kids with little self control [Re: Raul Perez]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3119
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Raul:

How about one strike ?!

And what do you do with the kids who's "hardwiring" is bad? They want to do well, but literally cannot remember (literally) what you told them by the third sentence???

Active, otherwise healthy kids with no short term recall? Very energetic kids with severe hyperactivity...?

What then sire?


#388778 - 04/16/08 10:07 AM Re: How to handle kids with little self control [Re: Ed_Morris]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3119
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Ed:

Back in the 70's there were no kids per se. Teens yes, the occasional youth (ie pre teen), but not a single 3,4,5,6 year old child.

Its got to be identical to what the teachers of legend faced on Okinawa, in some variation. "... KIDS what the heck do we teach them..."

Great observation re: "adult controlled"


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