We’ve all had that one student. You know the student I’m talking about.
He (or she) is off task from the moment class begins. Maybe the student wanders around the classroom, talks with classmates, or sits there… doing nothing.
How can you take attendance, collect assignments, and make announcements when you’re worried about that one student?
In 2007, in urban South Carolina, Allan Allday created a technique to get that one student on task.
Allday knew that proactively giving that student attention would probably reduce problem behavior.
So, he first had teachers maintain their daily routine as he secretly tracked the students’ behavior.
His data showed that Jon, Tim, and Kay, (the target students from different schools) were on task only about 45 percent of the time.
More than half the time when the other students were doing a warm-up, they were doing their own thing.
After compiling data, it was time for his experiment.
Allday instructed teachers to Simply greet the student at the door by using their name and supplying a positive statement. (Ex: “Good morning Jon, I like those shoes!” or “Hello Kay, I’m glad you’re here today.”)
He purposely left it up to the teachers to use their own positive message.
Sounds simple right?
Allday then tracked on task behavior for six weeks. The results were astounding!
On task engagement increased from 45 percent to 72 percent.
(This is one of the 8 Factors of Engagement. Read more here.)
This also reduced the amount of time it took for students to get started on activities.
And it only took 3 seconds!
Today’s Actionable Advice
Use this 3 second hack with your most disengaged student. Remember the 3 steps:
1. Greet students at the door
2. Use their name
3. Supply a positive statement (Ex: Hi Emily, you look like you are ready to learn today!)
I go in to detail on why this works in Chapter 7 of Class Hacker.
If you think this 3 second hack is cool (or don’t) check out my book because it will take you more than 3 seconds to read it.