The “Lazy” Boy

The “Lazy” Boy

I’ve invited my college students to share their stories of success in using positive classroom strategies as guest authors. In this post, Marili Hernandez tells us how she has used positive feedback in her Internship classroom to turn around the attitude of a “lazy boy”. It shows the amazing power of being positive!

There is a little boy in my 2nd grade class who since September has never wanted to do his work. Not only did he resist any work, he wouldn’t even tell the teacher his choice of lunch. This happened every morning.  When he was given work and he did not complete it, the teacher called him lazy and told him she would pull him out of all the activities planned for the day so that he could finish his work. He still refused to his work, even with this threat and punishment. It seemed like he just didn’t care, but I’m sure he does care because he’s seven and all seven-year-olds want to be involved and included.

In the last couple of weeks, I have been taking on more responsibility in the classroom and I began to question myself, wondering if I would be able to reach this child. So I began to focus on him to see what I could achieve. I changed his seat to the front of the room and observed him carefully. I involved him more in my lessons by having him closer and little by little I began applying positive reinforcement. When he lifted his pencil and wrote his name I said, “Great start! Are you ready to learn?” He said, “Yes!” and I gave him a high five. When he completed his first question, I walked over and said, “You are on a roll today to complete your work! You should be happy with yourself!” I gave him another high five and a pat on his shoulder.

Little by little, he has been completing most of his work! When I do not give the positive comments, I notice that he does not complete the work. I am hoping that eventually he will need less attention to keep going, but for now, it is very rewarding to see him ready and eager to work.  

If you have a success story you’d like to share, please let me know! And tell us in the comments what has worked for you to get disengaged children to start participating in learning activities.