July 12, 2006
When a student is off task or misbehaving, you can often remedy the problem by complimenting another student, near the offender, for being on task, quiet, etc. -- highlight whatever you like. Usually this praise brings immediate improvement. If it doesn't, compliment a student on the other side of his/her desk. The offender will usually stop the misbehavior. Then, you should compliment the offender for the good job s/he is doing. You have now: 1) allowed the child to be responsible for his/her own behavior; 2) turned a negative situation into a positive one; 3) given the student a way out without embarrassing him/herself; 4) established the fact that you are in control; and 5) made yourself look pretty cool to the whole class. Students will appreciate the fact that you took action and that you did not embarrass their friend. It's an easy way to get the message across without any collateral damage. Try it.