I’ve had the wonderful privilege and opportunity to observe many, many, children in their classrooms countless times. I’ve also noticed an oft-repeated pattern: The teacher complains that the student is very distractible. When the teacher tells the entire class to take out their math books, he doesn’t. When the teacher tells all students to turn to page 56 in the math book, and perhaps even writes the page number on the blackboard (or white board), this child is clueless. When the teacher gives instructions to do examples 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 11, and 21 and posts this information on the board write next to the words Math – page 56, this student barely has his book on the desk. Is the problem only distractibility? Is there any other problem that might be causing the seeming inattention?
Interestingly, I’ve noticed that frequently, there is a totally different problem at the root cause. What is it? The student is clueless about how the class works! What some people might call common-sense, could be a lack in classroom-behavior skills. Classroom-behaviors are those unspoken rules about how the teacher runs her classroom.
What are some classroom-behavior skills? When the teacher tells all students to take out a book, it means every single student is expected to take it out. No one needs a separate invitation. The teacher might post the information on the board, and students are expected to refer to it if they are confused or spaced out for a moment.