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Behavior: was I talking to you?

Date: August 25th, 2016
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: You’ve got that one child who never talks, never speaks. They’re quiet. You ask a question, and then that child raises their hand. He raises his hand, and I’m thinking, “Oh, he’s gonna give the answer.” I go to call on him, and in slow motion another kid shouts out the answer.

Where do we go? We go right to the student who called out the answer. It’s like Steve Austin, the bionic man, my eyes go, “Tututututu-ughhh,” and I hone in, and I go, “Was I talking to you?”

What I should have done is step back, taking a breath, not even acknowledged that he blurted out the answer, and stayed right with the quite kid and said, “Go ahead. What’s the answer?” He gives me the answer and I say, “Fantastic!”

Then, I stop and I say to the student who had talked out, “Now it’s your turn.” We tend to always go and navigate towards the behavior that is giving us the most trouble. What if the function of that behavior is to gain my attention? It worked quite well. I’ve always got to be aware of that. What’s the function?