Every classroom has that one student – or perhaps, more than one – who demands extra attention. A centerpiece of a successful curriculum includes children learning to be part of a group, without forfeiting self. And a significant proportion of any educator’s time should be spent helping each child develop socially, which includes not needing or demanding too much attention. This is a skill that will serve them well throughout their lives.

But let’s face it. Often, this is easier said than done. What can you do to help a child learn to require less individual teacher time?

Involve Other Children

Remind students who demand attention at inappropriate times to look at the other people in the room and see that someone else was already talking – or that the group was otherwise involved when they interrupted.

  • Say something like, “You need to listen and know when Sarah is finished, and then it will be your turn to talk.” Or, “You need to wait till I finish explaining these directions to the class, then raise your hand and I will come and assist you.”
  • Consider asking another student to help. They may be able to assist the child in some way, or lend them an ear while you finish what you need to do. Peers helping peers can be very empowering to everyone involved.

Try the Ripple Effect

The ripple effect occurs when you effectively correct one child’s behavior, and it positively influences others.

  • The ripple effect works best when you clearly name the unacceptable behavior.

    Especially as kids get older, respect for their teacher and classmates leads to higher motivation to cooperate and learn.

A Few More Tips

While you can’t avoid having students who tend to monopolize your time, what matters is what you do with that little extra attention you do give them. The right strategy can have an excellent long-term payoff.

  • Be patient, compassionate and understanding.

    If you have to, take a deep breath, count to 10 or do whatever it takes to calm down yourself. In worse case scenarios, you may have to ask another teacher to watch your class while you excuse yourself and step out for a few minutes to regroup.

  • Be consistent.

    Consistency in your approach and expectations is critical, especially for students with ADD/ADHD or behavioral problems. They need a structured schedule that remains the same, as much as possible, every day. Keep rules simple and consequences clear – and be sure to follow through. Setting small, simple goals for students who struggle offers more opportunities for them to succeed.

  • Facilitate and celebrate success.

    Create learning situations that allow students to succeed. Once a child gets a taste of success, they will want to experience it more and more. Acknowledge and recognize every positive step, whether great or small.

At Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services, your success is our priority. We can help you grow your expertise and, if this summer is your time to pursue a career change, manage your job search. School-based therapy is all we do, offering opportunities in public, private and charter schools across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, Texas and Washington, D.C. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.


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