4 Challenging Student Behaviors (4/4): SHOW-OFFS

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Exhibitionist/Show-off

The show-offs are just as much in need of help as shy children, but they rarely elicit the
same kind of sympathetic attention. Their problem is also one of uneasiness, and in
trying to prove their importance, they do all the wrong things. Their behavior will range
from monopolizing the class discussion to interfering with the work of the other children
(being bossy, pushing, interrupting). They may deliberately use a wrong word for the
sake of a laugh. They are conscious of the effect they are having and so have difficulty
concentrating on what they are doing. They may exaggerate instructions or tasks, such
that if you ask them to take a step back, they take five. They often like to play teacher,
demanding high expectations of their peers without reciprocation and monitoring and/
or calling out other students on their behavior. They may cry or pout if they don’t get
their way and purposely play do an activity the wrong way in response. They may over-participate in activities, wanting to do or say more than the rest of the class, without
respect to fairness. They may do dance moves and cartwheels during instructions and
love to be in the limelight. They say things like “look at me!” and can be tattle-tales,
aggressive and loud. Sometimes these students overcompensate for low self-esteem;
sometimes they are just oblivious to the needs of others.
Sometimes the teacher may be forced to ask the disruptive child to go back to her seat.
Not punishment, but the consequences of unacceptable behavior will teach a student
that creative work demands consideration and teamwork.
Suggestions:
● Give attention only to desired behaviors; more attention when they are quiet,
focused and respectful
● Use the student as an example to explain a game/activity
● Give them a focused role or task outside the activity to keep them busy or help
them feel important without allowing them to distract others
● Give them adequate time to warm-up, be loud, and expend energy
● Make leadership opportunities a reward for respectful behavior
● Remind them of the specifics of respectful behavior (teach and practice the
concept of “step up, step back”) and use positive reinforcement
● Use teamwork activities/games to prompt “we” discussions about sharing time
and space
● Teach comedy and improv, as well as audience etiquette, discuss the different
behaviors required in both, and insist on the latter to earn participation in the
former
● Establish times to take turns doing things and insist on them waiting their turn
● Remind them of appropriate behavior and speech in the classroom
● Give them opportunities to teach the class a skill or talent and compliment them
when they are helpful and courteous leaders

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