There are some words that are ridiculously important to teach your students the meaning of. And one of those words may really surprise you. If my students didn’t know the meaning of this word, we would have a ton more disruptive behaviors and many of my behavior plans wouldn’t work as well. I really caught you’re attention, haven’t I? That would is ignore and if you can teach your students the skill or ignoring you are on the track to successful behavior management!
Why is ignoring so important?
Attention behaviors can pop up in a classroom like flip flops on the first day of warm weather. So many inappropriate and disruptive behaviors that our kids engage in are to get attention. And while you are doing you due diligence good-teacher mood and making sure you are teaching your students appropriate and prosocial replacement behaviors you also will want to ensure that the negative behaviors no longer result in attention. Sounds simple enough but when you have a class filled with eager attention-givers (ie. your other students), it won’t be so easy of a task.
This intervention is called planned ignoring and can be an effective method of decreasing inappropriate responses. The key to the success of this intervention is consistency. Many behaviors are done to get attention from peers. So you want to ensure as much as possible that the consistency of the intervention reaches all areas including peers.
Use modeling, role playing, reinforcement, and direct instruction to teach the skill of ignoring. My students LOVE role playing with this concept. One person pretends to have a “bad” behavior and we all practice ignoring. They find it absolutely hilarious. When it comes time to really ignore a behavior, prompt your students. This is also a good way to cue to your student with the behavior that his responses right now are not okay. Say, “If you scream out the a bad word, we are going to ignore you.” Provide subtle praise for the students who are ignoring. Avoid making a big scene out of the “ignoring” because that way the student will end up with ton of attention anyways. After the lesson or group activity, provide direct praise to every student who successfully ignored! Soon your student who is being disruptive will learn that attention will not come from his negative behaviors but only from the replacement behavior you are teaching him!