Teaching is a challenging profession especially if the teacher is handling children. Children, when they want to have attention, will do anything just to have it. They do anything positively or negatively just to have the attention that he wants. Children most of the time do it positively, however some would do it negatively. Say for example, in a school setting, the child may seek for the attention of the teacher thus in class he misbehaves. He doesn’t really care as to what attention he would be getting, be it praise or a reprimand, for as long as he gets the attention, he likes it.
To a child an attention from an adult is very important. Sometimes, it is just but normal that children seek approval and attention but if this is too much, this could become a problem because the child would tend to be controlling. This action may then result in a situation where the child controls your life. The very reason for misbehavior in young children is to get attention, and in their later life, this may cause discipline problems (Severe, 2000). One of my 5th grade students, a male one, misbehaves that he is disturbing the class and distracts me as well.
When he does this, I reprimand him however what he does is that he behaves for a while and then misbehaves again. I wanted to figure out what seems to be the problem with this child and I found out that he just wants some attention. He has this negative-attention seeking behavior wherein he does tricks just to get anyone’s attention. Everyday he has new tricks that he plays so he can have the attention that he wants. One time he threw a crumpled paper towards his classmate just to get the attention of his classmate.
Another day this same student loudly talked to his classmate that distracted our discussion. Everyday he gets reprimands from me and he does the same thing again after a while. I started observing the child when he is playing with his friends. He also does tricks to get the attention of his playmates. I asked the other teachers who handled this child if they have observed this behavior and they said yes. This child really needs attention, no matter what he does and what he gets as long as he can have the attention that he wants.
He may act negatively just to get the attention he does not care. He wants attention. I observed this particular child from day to day and consulted some books and studies about this kind of behavior of a child and came up with a plan on how to decrease the negative-seeking behavior of this child. This plan would use the positive behavioral modification. The question however is, ‘Will positive behavioral modification decrease the amount of negative-seeking behavior of my 5th grade male student? ’
My plan of action was to employ a positive behavior modification wherein interventions would be done by using techniques such as counter-conditioning, reinforcement and shaping to modify one’s behavior. The first strategy that I employed is the ‘random positive attention’. In this kind of strategy, one must ignore the student’s attention-seeking behaviors while some positive attention would be given at the same time. Say for example if the child would make a noise, just try to look at him in the eye and smile at him.
This way he would notice that he is being given the attention. Another strategy is to give positive attention and approval to their behavior when appropriate. This would help the child understand his behavior better (How to handle Attention, 2008). This could be helpful because the child would realize that he is appreciated. This may help lessen his attention seeking behavior because he may feel he is given due credit for. He is gaining the attention that he needs from the people that he wants it from.
Say for example when the child perfects his score in his exam, the teacher praises him or if he fails the teacher gives him encouragement thus the child would feel that he has a worth in the class because the teacher noticed him. Another way to handle the attention seeking behavior is to appreciate his positive behaviors and do not give negative attention to his misbehavior (How to handle Attention, 2008). In this way the child may realize that he can only get the attention that he wants when he is doing well.
In this way he might change his mind on misbehaving he would try to do positive things to get recognized rather than misbehave and get nothing. Say for example when a child makes noise that disturbs the class, the teacher would simply look at him and smile, that would let this child realize that he is recognized but this is just a temporary recognition and when the child keeps quiet the teacher should acknowledge this in front of the class that the child would feel that he is more appreciated when he is doing the things that are expected of him.
Another way to handle the attention seeking child is to make him realize that there are other students who also need the teacher’s attention. He might then realize that he is getting the equal attention that the other children are getting. In this way he may learn to behave in an appropriate way. Say for example when this child sees that the teacher is giving enough attention to the well behaved student he may try to imitate that behavior thus decreasing his negative attention seeking behavior. Another way is to give due credits to the child when he is doing well in class. Give him praise in front of the class.
This may make the child realize that he is getting the attention of the teacher when he is doing well in class thus this may make him more motivated in studying his lessons. Instead of investing his time bullying around, he may realize that he may take time on studying his lessons and participate in class. Say for example when the child delivered a good speech in class give him due credit by not just saying that it was wonderful but by further asking the child how he was able to come up with the good speech and that he has to keep it up. Other children may seek attention because they simply want to fell that they are also important.
So another intervention would be letting them know that they are important but there are also other students who also need the attention of the teacher. In this way a child may realize that he is not the only student that needs the attention of the teacher. In this way a child may lessen his misbehaviors and learn to consider others. Give the child tasks that you are confident that he can accomplish. If he does, it would make him feel proud about himself and he may fell that the teacher trusts him and that he is important because he was given the task.
Another intervention would be, ignore the negative behavior of the child when appropriate. Sometimes children have tantrums, whining, swearing and arguing, and these kinds of behaviors are not harmful to either the child or the other people concerned. This behavior may be ignored and the child may realize that he cannot get attention from this kind of an act thus resulting to the decrease of the negative seeking behavior of the child. A child when he doesn’t get the attention that he needs, he may think of other ways to get the attention from the person that he wants it from.
The results were actually positive. I have discovered a lot of things in the case of this child. I learned that a child would really do whatever it takes just to get the attention that he wants. The child would not care if it’s positive or negative attention that he gets as long as he gets that attention then he is happy with it. He would do the same things over and over again if he does not get what he wanted thus we would be on a cycle and the child would not change. With the applied interventions the child’s attitude slowly changed for the better.
He was starting to reflect on his actions because he does not misbehave frequently in class. He also became participative in the class. The child’s negative-seeking attention was not really changed but it was somehow slowly decreasing. Changes in attitudes are not that easy to achieve thus it needs patience to be able to achieve the outcome that we wanted. Changes in attitudes does not come overnight thus we need to give time for the child to improve. As the teacher of this child, I learned that my reprimand were not effective as we may got through the same cycle everyday.
That if I always give an equal negative attention to the negative-seeking behavior of the child, I might just be tolerating the attitude that he is showing. I also learned that every child is unique. There may be a lot of interventions that are available however this may not be applicable to every child having this kind of problem. As a result of what I learned, I may not have reprimanded the child as I do everyday. The child may just like this kind of attention that he is getting from me but this would not help him change his behavior. The child may just do the same thing everyday.
This study may help not just teachers but parents as well who have this kind of child. The children may just need something that they were not able to have either from their teachers or from their parents. A quantity time may not mean a quality time thus what we adults need to look into is the time that we spend with the children. Let us be sensitive to our children’s needs. If the child misbehaves, there might be a corresponding reason for that misbehavior and so we need to know that first before we decide what punishment to give because our reprimands may make the situation worse.
Courtney from Study Moose
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