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Behavior: blurting out answers

Date: May 29th, 2014
By: Polly Bath

Watch this video [2:29] for my tip on handling the kid who blurts out answers instead of waiting to be called on.

I ask a question in my class and Emily raises her hand. (Emily never raises her hand, even though I know she knows the answers.)

Then, Vicky blurts the answer out.

Now, what are we most inclined to do?

Our instant response is to turn to Vicki and say “Was I talking to you?” And then we have a bit of an exchange with Vicki.

Meanwhile, Emily is sitting there, and she’s never going to raise her hand again.

The best way would have been not to give Vicky any attention at all.

Rather, to say to Emily, “Go ahead, Emily, what’s the answer?”

Emily gives me an answer and I say, “Fantastic, thanks so much. Did you all hear what Emily said? Emily had the right answer. OK, hold on one second. Vicky what is it that you had to say?”

If Vicky’s going to talk out, she’s going to talk out when I tell her it’s OK. That’s what I want to teach her. I have to respond to her in a way that I don’t take the spotlight off Emily.

The problem with Vicky is that she created a disruption at that moment or an interruption. So, I had to call her on that. I couldn’t just ignore her, but I’m not going to shift gears and call her on it right away.

See, we are so quick to go after the kid who’s giving us the behavior, versus trying to just keep ourselves focused on what’s going on. We let that kid derail us. As soon as they derail us, they have us.