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August 2012


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Sonya Shaver <[log in to unmask]>
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Sonya Shaver <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 27 Aug 2012 14:19:14 -0400
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How old is this child?  A lot depends on the child's age.  I probably have
a different perspective than others, but I really shy away from the idea of
rewards for good behavior, and from the idea of working towards unrelated
prizes.  I have more of an Alfie Kohn approach with kids.  I want the goal
that they work towards to be the thrill of discovery and the sense of real
success at their own accomplishments.  This is what I love about FLL.  It's
just totally set up for this to be an exciting and engaging activity in
which the kids take the lead, are in charge, and have accountability for
following through.  And then they get to be amazed at themselves and what
they accomplish!

So, if this were me, I would start by finding out some information first.
 Does this child have any challenges like a learning disability or is it
possible he fits somewhere on the autism or Asperger's spectrum?  That
might change how I would proceed, and I would probably seek help from his
parents for ideas on that.  If not, I would look at other things too.  Is
he really bright and easily bored?  Does he *want* to be there?  Or is this
something his parents just signed him up for?  Does he have close
friendships with anyone else on the team?

If he wants to be there, and is really interested in being an active and
engaged team member, then I would simply treat him as if he already were
that.  I would hold that vision of him, and treat him respectfully, and
model for him how I want him to speak to me and how I expect him to treat
others.  I wouldn't let him take my attention away from others to the point
where it takes away from others' experience of the team.  I would set clear
boundaries, but I would just say things like, "It's not okay to speak to
Timmy that way," and then I would turn and talk to Timmy in a respectful
way, modeling that for him, and then move on.  I wouldn't dwell, I wouldn't
send him out of the room, etc.  I would treat him like I would expect my
spouse or my co-worker or my supervisor at work to treat me.

One idea might be to give different team members certain roles or jobs that
you rotate at different practices.  We have done that before.  Sort of like
putting each person in charge of one thing per session or per week, or even
for the whole season.  It gives them a sense of leadership, a feeling that
their job is important and their presence is needed.  And I mean real
roles, not busy work, different things that need to be done.  So, everyone
still works on and helps out with all facets of the challenge, but there is
one person who makes sure that it all gets done, and holds his fellow
teammates accountable.  For example, put one person in charge of internet
research, one person in charge of interviews, another in charge of checking
the game updates every day and reporting them back to the team.  You could
do this for the whole season or change it up.

It's hard to know how much of a problem it is without examples of how the
child is behaving, but if I really felt like it was too much for me to do
on my own, and it was affecting everyone's FLL experience, I wouldn't
hesitate to ask one of his parents to come to practices and volunteer as an
extra adult, just to have an extra set of hands.  Then you could maybe
break up into smaller groups, have one group work on research and the other
on the robot, then switch.  That might keep kids engaged and getting along
better with smaller group interactions.  But I wouldn't single out the
child, and I wouldn't make any deals like "if you don't do this, then XYZ
will happen", I would feel like that would just reinforce his image as the
disruptive kid.

I would think about what motivates me at work.  What makes me want to be
engaged in my job and do well.  Research shows it isn't reward systems,
that is temporary, and productivity actually dips down even lower than
before the incentive program was introduced.

Good luck!  I feel like volunteering your time mentoring these kids is a
great contribution, and who knows, maybe he will be an engineer one day
because of you.  :)

Nanobots Coach

On Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 12:09 PM, John Barrett <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> How do you deal with a team member who thrives on negative attention?

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