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All It Takes Is One ...


Robert Pondiscio comments on the significance of a new study providing evidence that a single disruptive student can decrease the achievement levels of an entire class:

I have long believed that the time on-task lost to disruption and behavior problems is almost certainly one of the under-discussed root causes of the achievement gap. This study does a great service by confirming what many teachers and parents have intuited for years: disruption matters and has a negative effect on all students.

Clay Burrell draws attention to the policy implications:

The study seems to seriously undermine the validity of any attempt to evaluate (and pay, retain, and promote) teachers based on their class performance on standardized tests.

Disruptive behavior can be a big problem in the classroom. However, it is important to get to the root of why the student is being disruptive as opposed to just isolating the student causing the problem. They could be having a hard time understanding the material that you are covering or they could be bored with the lesson delivery methodology. One way to make learning easier and to keep students engaged in their education is to provide them with lesson plans that are full of active learning activities like science fair projects.

Teacher's Guide: It may not be that simple in many cases. I didn't go into in my short post, but apparently, as for the root cause of disruptive student behavior, the study points to exposure to violence in the home. The implication is that this is as much (if not more) a social problem than an instructional problem. See the Pondiscio's post linked above for a more detailed discussion of the findings.

Joanne Jacobs has also posted on this and there's a whole lotta ugly coming out of the woodwork. The study's authors were looking specifically at the impact of domestic violence on children exposed to it and to their peers. Main point being, kids are affected and we should be looking at interventions to prevent this kind of effect. There are some things that the study did not actually state (the study was silent on exactly the nature of incidents that sparked discipline) that people have picked up and run with. In other words the carefully chosen study terminology (troubled) to refer to those students who have experienced domestic violence, quickly became "disruptive" (even though only SOME of the children showed disciplinary events--others showed reading and math deficits, while others were unaffected), and the solution became removal of those kids. Both kids and parents have been the recipients of blame and outrage.

Teacher's Guide is right--care must always be taken in diagnosing the root causes of disruptive (or other problem) behavior, as well as in determining appropriate courses of action. Lily Tomlin has a character who says, "why don't people like that just stay home?" Although when she says it, it's funny.

Margo/Mom and Anthony. Studies are so one dimensional and nowadays there are many factors that contribute to behavior, whether it be positive or disruptive.

And when you think about it, who isn't affected by disruption? The fact that the disruption causes a chain reaction by other students to the extent that it does, that is something to be concerned about because the kids most likely feel threatened and scared. It is there way of coping.

It seems that the schools need to promote more parent involvement and responsibility.

Another factor to consider is Universal Intelligence. Deepak Chopra's work talks about how we are influenced by eneregy frequencies and this has been researched and proven over and over again. We often don't have control over what happens.. Quantum Physics is at hand! In fact, a new study came out last month (wish I could give you the resource but don't remember where I read it) that our lives are influenced by not just who we know, but who they know... and we do not have to know the 3rd party.

This subject would certainly make for outstanding psychology science fair projects!

So what is the answer? Love to hear your responses.

Madeline, M.S.Ed, M.S. Human Services Counseling

I have been teaching reluctant and struggling students for most of my 25 year career. There are many reasons why students are disruptive in class, most of which I have no control over.

I've found though since I've been using Web 2.0 tools in my classroom these last three years, behaviour has improved. Students are more engaged and more productive. Since they spend so much time text messaging, visiting Facebook, Myspace, etc on-line, they are very comfortable using Web 2.o tools. In fact, they tell me that they would like to use it in more classes.

Now, I know that using Web 2.0 technology in the classroom doesn't solve all the problems, but it really has helped my students be better students in my class. Since they feel comfortable in my class, I have their ear and can teach them to make better choices for better outcomes.

If anyone is interested in my Web 2.0 tool kit, I'd be happy to share it with you. Maybe it can help you as it has helped me.

I've created a Slideshare presentation that I've posted on my blog www.teachersatrisk.com. I'd be delighted to send it to anyone if they think it would be useful.


We have just added your latest post "All It Takes Is One ..." to our Directory of Science . You can check the inclusion of the post here . We are delighted to invite you to submit all your future posts to the directory and get a huge base of visitors to your website.

Warm Regards

Scienz.info Team


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