Do you ever have one of those days when you collect your class after lunch, only to find you have half a dozen children who want to complain about every little thing that happened during the break? This can really eat into valuable learning time and can be draining for teachers to deal with day after day.
Want a more positive start to the afternoon?
Here’s our guide to training your class out of tale telling.
Why do kids tell tales?
The biggest gain for pupils who tell tales is attention.
Children learn that when they tell tales, their peers react by protesting or becoming upset. They also learn that adults often react to such tales by completely stopping what they were doing to investigate the problem.
If we want our students to only raise genuine issues, we need to work out ways to give more attention to those behaviours we want to see instead.
Make sure your focus is on the good stuff.
Actively seek out the behaviours you want to promote, such as sharing, politeness, helpfulness, kindness, honesty, determination and co-operation. Ensure that all adults in school role model and teach the behaviours they want to see more of from the children.
Following this sort of approach encourages pupils to focus on positive, rather than negative, experiences.
Create a positive shift
The following ideas are practical ways you can get children to focus on positive, rather than negative, experiences.
- Enlist pupils to look for desirable behaviours.
- Do this by appointing a number of playground monitors and train them to look for what is going well. Get them to document these activities with a digital camera or an iPad to photograph positive interactions and create a class display.
- At carpet time, chose a pupil to tick the names of all of the pupils who show good listening or good sitting on a class list.
- Create a worry box system where pupils can leave a note of unresolved issues for you to deal with at a time that is more appropriate. Actively teach children which issues can wait until later and make sure you regularly check the box and address concerns.
Remember: the behaviours that the adults chose to focus on will grow, whereas behaviours that are starved of attention will diminish.