Testy Lab Behavior

I have a few students who test me, as well as my mentor teacher, in most directions and instructions that we give and will abuse the science materials. Any suggestions on how to address this behavior?
– D., Maryland

Let me put your mind at ease. Everyone has encountered these students! I wish I could give you a single answer but this kind of behavior could be based on so many factors that you and your mentor probably have a better idea of what’s driving them than me. You might want to ask other teachers how they have handled these students. Perhaps check with the school counsellors.

I employed a Three Strike Rule to deal with student behavior. On Strike One, I would take the students aside and calmly, but directly tell them what they were doing wrong and that it needed to stop. For Strike Two I would pull each student out of the class individually to have a stern chat, reminding them of our previous discussions. I would even say, “Strike Two,” and ask them if they knew baseball. If there was a Strike Three, offenders would be ‘Out!’ Here you have several options: call home, ban them from the next lab, not allow them to choose who to work with, assign worksheets instead of hands-on labs, and so on. It is very important that you follow through on Strike Three regardless of excuses or begging. It is time to face the consequences.

Hope this helps!

Photo Credit: stuartpilbrow at Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

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1 Response to Testy Lab Behavior

  1. Vicky Rubio says:

    Young people is always testing the older ones. It is a matter of vibration. If you take care of your health, they will feel that you are at the same speed that they are and won’t cast you out so easily. Once you get that point, show them that you love what you teach as much as you love yourself, prepare your classes with interest in learning new things to answer your own questions, then they will listen what you have prepared. They will give it a try. They will change the position from judges to curious. That will help them to trust and develop their own future.They need help to visualize the next step in life and you are the pathway, they know it.

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