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Survival Pointers In Normal Experience (SPINE)

  1. Speak straight to them.
  2. Do not use threats you cannot carry out.
  3. Divide the class into smaller sections and tackle the problem section by section starting from the most difficult. Once the toughest group is subdued the other groups will withdraw from their mischief.
  4. Hold the majority with some task while you tackle a smaller group.
  5. The golden rule is 'only one talks'. If I talk, you listen. If you talk, all of us listen.
  6. Go after the boys for behaviour, the girls will comply.
  7. If the boys ask 'Why didn't you punish the girls for talking?' say 'You keep quiet, let me listen to the girls talk. If they do talk, I'll punish them.'
  8. In group-work, say 'I can distinguish between talking about the subject and talking about something else.'
  9. Generally, most will keep quiet when required. If some persist on talking, tell them this story.

  10. When a rock falls down a cliff, Superman could stop the rock from falling. But the pebbles that fall with the rock, because the rock causes them to fall, Superman is not able to stop them from falling. They will continue to make noise until they come to rest at the bottom of the cliff.
  11. Dismiss row by row. Forfeit the noisy rows.
  12. Use the rule 'For the first shall be last, the last first'. Those who show signs of eagerness to leave the class will be the last to do so.
  13. When someone misbehaves, tell him to stand at the corner for a minute, making him count the 60 seconds from 60 to 1. If the order is wrong, reset and get him to start again from 60.
  14. When you need help say, 'Help me', or 'Help the school', or 'Help society' or 'Count yourself privileged to be able to help'.
  15. At the beginning of the class, say 'I want five minutes of silence. The reason why you are noisy is because you have not experienced what silence is. You are given this opportunity to experience it.' or 'You are afraid of silence. That explains why you are noisy. Experience silence and you will no longer be afraid of silence.'
  16. At the beginning of the class, explain to them the importance of silence.
  17. At the beginning of the class, tell them 'Only those who promise to keep quiet may sit.'
  18. Whenever there is too much noise, get the class to stand and get them to sit, the quietiest row first.
  19. Allow them to fall and capitalise on it.
  20. Draw a bar graph on the board to show the level of noise made by each row. Use terms like 'Nuclear Explosion, Aeroplane departing, Traffic, to Whispers, finally to Graveyard' to denote the range from highest to the lowest.
  21. Use whatever sense left in them to win them over.
  22. Say 'You should be a shade better each day, otherwise you are wasting your time.' Nothing is permanent except change.
  23. Tell them 'Aren't you going to grow up, or are you going to remain the same in your behaviour?'
  24. Remember stubborn stains require multiple scrubbing. With each scrub, a layer is removed, in time most will be removed.
  25. If students talk back, say 'I know you even dare to talk back at your parents.'
  26. Sometimes students would try to correct the misbehaviour of their mates, but say 'This is my problem, let me solve it. You cannot take the law into your hands.'
  27. When called up for an act of mischief, a student would say 'But he started first'. Say 'Since you didn't report his misconduct, you are to be blamed.'
  28. Say 'Don't tell another person to keep quiet - it becomes noisier. Tell yourself quietly to keep quiet.'
  29. Say 'In any discussion, you are to speak to the people in the group, I do not wish to listen to your discussion.'
  30. When the class is noisy, say 'One must die that others may live.' Require one to accept punishment on behalf of the class, maybe a girl for the girls and a boy for the boys.
  31. Watch out for opportunity to show kindness, this paves the way to an open channel of communication later on.
  32. Tell them what you disapprove and what society disapproves.
  33. Tell them that most people are good, otherwise the HDB would be building prisons instead.
  34. If they act childishly, say 'This kind of behaviour should have been corrected in the primary school.'
  35. Be frank.
  36. Say 'You pay to get education, I'm paid to give you education, let's not waste time.'
  37. The government would rather spend money on you than on the elderly in order that you could earn a good salary and help the government to help the elderly poor. Since the government has trusted you, you should feel responsible to get the most of education.
  38. Speak like one with authority. Say 'I'm in charge' or 'Someone ought to be in charge.'
  39. Say 'If you are not satisfied with the way I conduct the class, go find somewhere you could do whatever you like. Come back and tell me, I would like to recommend others to go there.'
  40. Say 'If you are not prepared to accept rules, live in the jungle. When you finally do, you'll realise the jungle has their own rules.'
  41. Say 'Is it fair that the good students be punished together with you. If so, they will stop being good and join you.'
  42. If they start to talk or leave the class when the bell goes, say 'Are you controlled by the bell?'
  43. Get the majority to disapprove the misconduct of the minority.
  44. Get the support of the majority to purge the minority of their misconduct. Ask the majority 'Do we approve this kind of behaviour?'
  45. Get the toughest to submit to you. Get him to watch out for misconduct on your behalf.
  46. Use the Control-Alternate-Delete method. If the class is noisy, get all out of the class and then get them in by fives or so.
  47. 'The government advocates good behaviour and punishes bad behaviour.' Tell them this.
  48. Before you goreng* them, you'll have to tenderise them first.
  49. Group discipline: The group is responsible for the behaviour of everyone in the group. If one student is punished, the whole group will be punished.
  50. When students say 'later' it means 'never'. Insist on the job assigned completed immediately or it will never be done.
  51. Whenever a behavioural change is desired, make the situation an issue, either by insistence or otherwise, to enable student to remember to behave in the manner desired. A mere telling will not work.
  52. Make an undesired behaviour an issue too, your confrontation with the student has a lasting effect. Remember to remain firm, unyielding and authoritative and the child will yield to you.
  53. A soft sound, either of a pencil dropping or a beep from the computer, could cause an uproar. Tell the student 'A spark could cause an uncontrollable fire' and 'A little noise could cause the shouts of a crowd of hooligans'.
  54. Tell the student who misbehaves, "You are a classic character. In my years of teaching I've never failed to meet a character like you, at least once a year. When I ask you why you did this, you'll say 'I didn't do it, he did it.'" And to the next student who misbehaves, say "You are classic character number two, ......"
  55. Students when asked "Why did you do this to him?", will often answer "He did it to me first." So tell them, "If I ask you 'Why did you kill him? You'll tell me 'He killed me first.'"
  56. If students use vulgarity, say, "Are you trying to tell me that vulgarity is used commonly in your house? I'm not interested in knowing that."

  57. Say also, "The kind of words you use tells the kind of home you come from, the company you keep, the level of your command of the language, the level of your skill in managing yourself and others, the people you will offend, the people who are watching you and the kind of family you will create. If you do not believe in vulgarity, the world will become a better place to live. If you believe vulgarity has no place in this world, then take every step to stop using it. Vulgarity will not stop without you taking the step to stop it."

Home Affairs Pointers Preparing Youths (HAPPY)



Avoid the Pitfalls

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Created and maintained by Tony Lau
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Updated 24th May, 1999