A learner who doesn’t follow the pace of the lesson
It’s quite common in classes with very young learners (aged 7-8) to have students who do not follow the teacher’s rules and particularly the pace of the lesson. This year I’ve been challenged with such a student who seems unwilling to follow the stages of each lesson and he insists on finishing the tasks at his own pace, he starts doing activities before I give explanations, he sometimes skips intentionally the tasks the whole class is supposed to do because he’s bored.
On the one hand I can sympathise with that little learner as he’s making his first steps in a learning environment. He isn’t able to distinguish the difference between home and school yet. On the other hand, his behavior is annoying for the rest of the class which have to wait for his turn to move to the next task or finish it on time. Some of his classmates feel frustrated and they always put the blame on him for not enjoying the lesson as much as they would like. At first , I spoke to him in person. I didn’t take him to the office; instead we stayed in the classroom in order to feel more comfortable and above all to be in his “second home”, as most of us consider schools to be. We talked about the classroom, what his opinion is about it, about the colours of the walls, the posters, the way the desks are arranged. My aim was to make him feel familiar with the environment and its role which is totally different from the one of his home. It’s a place where he has to collaborate with other children, follow some rules, and realize my authority in this place. Then I offered him a seat in front of my desk so as to have close eye contact during the lesson. This way I do not have to call out his name anytime he’s not following me, but I just raise my voice and see him into his eyes.
It took quite a long time for the student to get used to the idea of me as the authority. He left behind his selfish behavior as soon as he realized that he belongs in a group and should stick to the rules.
I tried to solve the problem by aiming at the reasons of such behaviour and not on the specific behaviour itself. Moreover, I managed not to involve the rest of the class. What worried me was the fact that I had to rearrange the seating of the students and exclude him , in some way, from his classmates by having him sit close to me. I believe that he won’t feel insulted as these are temporary measures and he’s going to be ready to assert his rights really soon.