Does your homeschool co-op class have a talker? Have no fear – I’ve got three ways to reach and engage your talkative student. (Day 3 of my series on handling the “difficult” student in your homeschool co-op.
6:30 AM. I’ve just finished my workout. The little guy’s still sleeping, so I’m angling for a shower and some writing time before he wakes up. I set the monitor on the bathroom counter and pull back the shower curtain.
I sigh, flip the switch on the monitor, and brush the sweat from my brow.
“Hi baby. Good morning, love.”
Hi mama. Hi baby. ABCs! ABCs! Find Blue Thomas. Thomas read ABCs. Read ABCs? Find Blue Thomas. Cup? Cup empty. Find Blue Thomas. Read ABCs. Cup. Cup. Cup!!!!!
That is my son’s SOP.
He’s two. We’re not dealing with super complex sentences, but there are lots and lots (and lots) of words. Even my mother noticed:
[Interrupting our conversation on the phone]
“Does he gabber like that all the time?”
*incomprehensible toddler babble from the background, punctuated with exclamations of “Ball!” and “Banana!”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
*inaudible prayer for sanity in motherhood*
Where my two year old is the chatter, my six year old is the challenger:
[Five minutes before we need to leave]
“B, please get your socks on. We’re heading out.”
I don’t need socks.
“It’s winter. Your feet will be cold. Please wear socks.”
Socks are unnecessary. I will not wear them. [slips bare feet into boots] There. My shoes are on. Let’s go.
Gardner would have a field day with my younger kids. My son is both kinesthetic and linguistic, learning with his body and thinking in words. My daughter is kinesthetic, linguistic, logical, and interpersonal, a mass of motion, conversation, and logical (?) reasoning.
And the rest of us? My oldest daughter, husband, and I just sort of cower in the corner, waiting for the storm to pass.
Or do I?
If you aren’t a linguistic, interpersonal, or logical learner, working with one can be harrowing.
The first two lean toward extroversion; the last one feeds on solving grand, sweeping questions. A simple, “because that’s the way it is” is seldom satisfying, and the chatty Cathy sharing your classroom needs a constant stream of dialogue. If the class is supposed to quiet, you can bet these learners are decidedly not.
Talking to themselves and their neighbors.
Asking a billion questions for which you have no answer.
Generally, one’s first inclination is to silence the distraction by moving it to a solitary space.
I tried that once. She only shouted across the classroom to where she sat before.
What do you do with a talker or a challenger? How do you harness that need for conversation?
Group work, for one. But you can also try the following:
Provide a topic, put students in pairs, and have them develop pros and cons for both sides. Give about ten minutes for discussion and preparation, then give each pair two minutes to present the issues.
Either write a hypothetical situation or problem on the board or pose a question out loud to the group. Offer a few clues to the answer, then let the class discover the answer through conversation and dialogue.
While there are several ways to approach this, the goal is the same: students work together to develop one cohesive, written response. They must consider all options and discuss a topic thoroughly in order to develop a strong argument.
Linguistic, interpersonal, and logical learners are an asset to the classroom. They may try your patience at first, but their love of language, desire for interaction, and thirst for knowledge make working with them a joy. Give them opportunities to talk about the topic at hand. Your classroom will still be noisy, but at least the noise will be on topic.
This is Day 3 of my series on handling the “difficult” student at your homeschool co-op. Want to catch up? Start here.