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#1537573 - 10/17/10 09:05 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: TimR]
danshure Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: TimR

1. Feel good self help books like the Covey series have no practical application to piano instruction. They're too general. Read them if you want, but don't expect results.

Although I wouldn't classify Covey's material as "feel good" (it's not really anything like self help books by Wayne Dyer etc) Covey's material IS easily applied to teaching - in fact he has a direct reference to teaching children in his section on Stewardship Delegation. The OP's question was for a reference in alternative to behavioral psych. Covey is basically as anti-behavioral psych as you can get. But I applied his Stewardship Delegation idea very tangibly to teaching music in this blog post. (I recall one forum member saying how "boring" the article was - although, it wasn't written to be entertaining, it was written to outline a framework for teaching). I agree that his material is very general, but that's the point, that the "habits" can be universally applied to all areas of life.

Originally Posted By: TimR

2. Behavioral psychology approaches work for modifying behavior. So does parenting. Psychology just abstracts the underlying principles from parenting and makes good parenting understandable and teachable. Much of response to child behavior is nonintuitive and maintains the behavior instead of reducing it, just as much of piano practice is nonintuitive and will be done wrong unless corrected. Teachers learn classroom management techniques during their education, and all of them are based on these principles. Piano teachers may not be exposed to this type of pedagogy depending on their background. Certainly a performance major will not.

Although I take it to be you're saying that a behavioral approach in this case could be warranted as a quick approach to alter the child's lack of practice and bad behavior, and I agree it would probably work on the surface, the CHRONIC LONG TERM problem has still not been addressed. It's like "curing" a chronic illness temporarily with medication. You haven't cured anything, just stopped the symptoms.

I agree that Behavioral Psych works to change behavior. What I do not agree with, is that this is really what's best in the long run. In extreme cases it may be called for, but only as a last resort. Isn't the goal to get a student that plays, practices, learns and enjoys music on their own? Without having to have this external motivation. Sure, you can get the desired behavior - but what really are the long term results of this sort of teaching?

Originally Posted By: TimR

3. Cognitive behavior approaches CAN work very well for letting a teacher gain enough control over their own responses to implement effective teaching techniques. But they often don't. When I worked for state mental hospitals, one of my jobs was teaching classes in these for staff and patients. (higher functioning patients, of course) The patients had trouble understanding the concepts, but to some extent could apply them; the staff had no trouble with the concepts but mostly declined to use them. They liked getting angry unnecessarily. Maybe I'd have eventually figured a solution but mechanical engineering came along.

Basically agree with this. I found cognitive psych to be a great tool for getting in touch with thought/feeling connections - basically as an aid to feeling more positive emotions/less negative - but not much beyond that by way of working with other people.
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#1537837 - 10/18/10 08:28 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Is this a "bribe" too? "I'll pay you a monthly fee to teach my teenager to play piano, but she has no interest in playing and will not be practicing so don't even mention it to us. I want it to be fun for her." (Obviously it's something you don't want to do.) I think this is just a poor job offer.

I don't see a job offer as a "bribe". A 13 year old says "I'm quitting piano because when I get home from school I don't want practice interfering with my video game/free time" and parent says, "Oh, that's too bad. I was just planning to offer to pay you for your practice time, after all it is work" (and the parent notices the 13 year old does have some excitement when he has mastered particular pieces he likes).

Parent may also ask "Is there any other instrument, or extracurricular activity you would like to try?" And basically gets the same answer that no, I just don't want my free time interrupted, I do my homework and work hard enough at school.

As a parent you may say that my child has no interest in piano. Or you may see that they have interest, but lack motivation to continue the work.

I suppose there are the type that say sternly "As long as you live under my roof you have to practice piano 30 minutes each day!". And others battle it out each day with the 13 year old. And others simply allow the child to continue lessons without practice, or stop lessons altogether.

At least with a "job offer" the 13 year old has some say in the matter. "I really wanted my free time, but since you'll pay me I guess I can manage to practice after all."

It is important to me that my child continue this wholesome activity. And it's also based on my experience of having no one encourage me to practice or to continue lessons when I was that age (or bother to tune the damn piano). So yes, it matters to me, more that it matters to my child. He is obviously not going to be a piano major. But he continues to see results from his work. It matters to me. And I'm not spending much more money because he was always begging for me to buy games for him that he now uses his own money to purchase.

Also after you have a child of your own/job of your own/marriage of your own you may see your golden ideals get bent.
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And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
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#1537858 - 10/18/10 09:09 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
"bribe: persuade (a person etc.) to act especially illegally or dishonestly in one's favor by a gift of money , services, etc." Oxford English Dictionary.

Some have stretched the word "bribe" beyond it's meaning...and are using it when simple persuasion is what is meant. There needs to be a priciple being compromised in order for it to be a bribe. An element of illegality or dishonesty.

What principle is being compromised? If you simply mean bribe to mean "persuade" then I can see why it makes sense to you, even though it is an inaccurate use of the word, or exaggeration at best.


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (10/18/10 09:09 AM)
Edit Reason: spelling
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

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#1537859 - 10/18/10 09:11 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Avguste Antonov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 75
Loc: Grapevine,Texas, USA
Young kids are always difficult to keep interested. I myself have quite a few of similar students.
What I found best to be working is a combination of tough and fun. All my students and parents know that I am a tough teacher and that I expect a lot. At the same time, I am also becoming more fun and talk to the kids more.
Asking them how was their day, how was school and such.
I also use stickies, memory charts (for end of the year) and so forth.
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#1537862 - 10/18/10 09:13 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Ben Crosland Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 418
Loc: Worcester, UK
I encouraged my 7 (now 8) year old daughter to practise by offering her a star on a chart for each practice session. She gets 10p for every star she's achieved on her chart at the end of the week, and can achieve them for various other things, depending on what behaviour we are currently trying to encourage. The total is basically her pocket money for the week.

Oh, and brace yourself, David - HOMEWORK IS ALSO ON THE CHART !!!

The result? It has motivated her enough to kick-start regular practice, and she's really enjoying it. Meaningless psychobabble notwithstanding, I don't notice any increased sense of distrust in our relationship - she's happy with the arrangement (once the routine was established, it's like money for nothing to her), and I'm happy that she's practising the piano regularly.

The thing is, she is very musical and *loves* playing the piano - however, she, like many other children, doesn't motivate herself to do it very often. If a little encouragement is what it takes, then so be it.



Edited by Ben Crosland (10/18/10 09:14 AM)
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#1537916 - 10/18/10 11:04 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11549
Loc: Canada
This discussion is getting into personal values and that just doesn't work. Opposing approaches by different people can and do work. It depends on a lot of things.

I might as well say "Brace yourself, Ben. Not only did my children not get rewards for doing homework, they also could choose whether to attend school." My children are now young adults so I am not just a young person spouting ideals. Since I got the educational psychology, behaviour mod etc. in teacher training and saw what I saw in the field, it's not without a knowledge base either. But it does not mean that what worked for me is for everyone. The important thing is that our guidance should be thought through.

My own stance is similar to David's and Danshure's. The analogy of needing to get up in time to go to work as an adult doesn't go far enough. It begins with our GOALS as adults. The goal is to have food and shelter, the means is employment, and the means for keeping that employment is to get up on time.

Yes, our children can follow our instructions blindly, and *end up* with habits where they will *end up* with the good things in life. I prefer that they learn to choose, know their values, know how to prioritize by knowing what their priorities are. Being a follower has its dangers. And what happens if things don't pan out as you expect, and you haven't thought out your own deep seated goals and values?

Here there is a 15 year old girl who knows what she wants, and she has stated clearly what her wishes are. It does not matter what she says about her goals and values, they are being ignored by the parent who is guiding her toward adulthood. If, as was suggested (David? Danshure?) she begins practicing because something has been found that she values, that seems like a good thing. If she goes contrary to her feelings, or if she goes contrary to her personal values for the sake of a bribe, that is disturbing. There are too many confused people in this world who are not in touch with themselves. It just doesn't seem like a good thing.

These are personal values. On a teaching perspective, I have found that when students become invested in their learning, "owning" it, they do much better than if they have been forced. I have tutored kids with "problems" - in their view, their studies are a thing their teacher wants and they go through the motions of complying, thinking that this is what school studies are about. They invest their energy cleverly in making complex deals in trading games, or working out dance moves on the street with friends, yet seem "lacking intelligence" in school. I tend to agree with the two D's, that external motivation can have a limited effect.

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#1537930 - 10/18/10 11:21 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: keystring]
Ben Crosland Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 418
Loc: Worcester, UK
Originally Posted By: keystring



Here there is a 15 year old girl who knows what she wants, and she has stated clearly what her wishes are.


Sorry if I'm being thick, but where has this bit come from? Before david_a mentioned bribing teenagers, I can't find a single reference specifically to teenagers in the whole thread? I took it from the OP that the student in question was a young child?
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#1537943 - 10/18/10 11:31 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11549
Loc: Canada
I think I mixed up threads. There is a similar theme in two of them in regards to teaching. One has a 15 year old girl, and the other doesn't. Sorry.

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#1537971 - 10/18/10 12:11 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Paying someone for a service that requires their expertise and paying a child to do something expected of them and is part of their education are two different things.

We give our children an allowance, but it is not tied to chores or behavior. Those things are expected as they are part of the family and everyone must contribute to the family life. If we asked them to do a job for which we might normally hire someone, we would pay them, but not for everyday things.

Practice and homework are everyday things. We set a regular schedule and expect them to abide by it. As a teacher, I have the same expectations of my students, but I also make sure they have clear goals and the tools with which to accomplish those goals. Practicing isn't something they get to choose to do. It's something they MUST do.

The students I have had that didn't practice did not do so because the parents did not follow through with the expectation. Everyone has to be on the same page.
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#1537974 - 10/18/10 12:12 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Feminicricket,
I think there are two issues here. One is rude behavior and the other is incentives/motivation.

Regarding rude behavior: when a student is in my studio, I sternly correct any rude behavior. I have had to do this with 3 different students. I say "NO. You are not allowed to be rude to me." Very stern voice, and it startles them.

The first time I did it, I worried later what I would hear from the parent. This last time I corrected an 8 year old girl for rudeness, I matter of factly told the parent "I corrected her one time for using a rude tone with me" and briefly told what happened. (I had told the child to use "hand lotion" after she blew her nose. She said in an extremely rude tone "It's hand SANITIZER". The parent said "Yes, she is correcting my pronunciation all the time". I matter of factly told the parent that kids learn what is acceptable behavior during lessons, that I've corrected other kids, and the behavior improves.

Anyway if a kid slouched over my piano I would get VERY stern, letting them know that while they are in my studio they must be respectful toward me and my propery. And a kid whining "AGAIN?!" when asked to play something...I would stop them in their tracks. Correct the behavior. They can shape up or whine to the parent and stop lessons.




Edited by Ann in Kentucky (10/18/10 01:04 PM)
Edit Reason: clarity
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

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#1537991 - 10/18/10 12:42 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: keystring]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Originally Posted By: keystring
...in their view, their studies are a thing their teacher wants and they go through the motions of complying, thinking that this is what school studies are about. They invest their energy cleverly in making complex deals in trading games, or working out dance moves on the street with friends, yet seem "lacking intelligence" in school...
Quote:
Yes, our children can follow our instructions blindly, and *end up* with habits where they will *end up* with the good things in life. I prefer that they learn to choose, know their values, know how to prioritize by knowing what their priorities are. Being a follower has its dangers. And what happens if things don't pan out as you expect, and you haven't thought out your own deep seated goals and values?
Keystring, you have very eloquently and effectively said the things that I wanted to be able to say but was not able to put into words. Thank you for a well-written post.


I tend to agree that this thread has gradually resolved into a discussion of the relative merits of goals and personal values, and therefore has the potential to go around and around endlessly without a satisfying conclusion.

I think with teen students this very issue (goals & values) becomes part of teaching and learning as well. With little children, not every student may be sensitive to (or even aware of) external vs. internal motivation, recognizing their own values and goals apart from those of the adults in their life, and issues of personal integrity. (I was, very intensely so, from a very early age; but I may have been a strange little boy. smile ) But as students get older, it gradually becomes apparent to me that there are two sets of values in the room, two sets of goals for the future; two voices are in on the decisions - not equal voices, but no longer just one voice either.

If a student spends five minutes thinking and acting like a responsible intelligent adult, to me that's worth far more than some B flat major scales and sonatinas. And if trying out five minutes as a responsible adult leads them to "maybe piano is not for me", I'll take that as it comes. Sometimes it might be a bit of a rebellion, just trying out the idea "My goals & values are my own". But sometimes it's also true.


Some teenagers are kind of "looking in two directions", ahead to adulthood and back to childhood. It can be hard to decide how to proceed with them. If I'm in doubt, I have a mental yardstick that I use for myself. I currently have another student who's fifty-ish and an engineer. If I wouldn't use some particular approach with her, I hesitate to use it with a teenager either.
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#1538011 - 10/18/10 01:10 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Minniemay,
I would agree that the way you are handling practice is ideal. Requiring daily practice worked for us when my child was under age 12. So what I'm doing now is a compromise. The main problem is that I started my son late in piano (age 10). He'd had violin for 6 months at age 6, and a year of guitar at age 8. If he'd started piano at age 8, and gotten more accomplished it may have helped him really identify himself as a pianist...and be motivational.

I think the incentives are an option when requiring daily practice is not working so well.

Anyway, in truth, I think you are doing a better parenting job. I'm just doing the best I can, instead of doing the best.
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

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#1538016 - 10/18/10 01:19 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Does anyone remember the child "Veruka" on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? The first post describing this child has me thinking of that child (yelling "I want it NOW!!") and I am grateful that I have my own studio instead of feeling pressured by an administrator to accept a child who misbehaves.
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

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#1538027 - 10/18/10 01:29 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4869
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Does anyone remember the child "Veruka" on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? The first post describing this child has me thinking of that child (yelling "I want it NOW!!") and I am grateful that I have my own studio instead of feeling pressured by an administrator to accept a child who misbehaves.


"verruca" in Italian means "wart". Interesting choice of names, eh?
_________________________
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Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#1538090 - 10/18/10 02:28 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Casinitaly, thanks for the correct spelling. Yes, I had heard it meant wart. LOL! Perfect name for that kind of kid!
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

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#1538167 - 10/18/10 04:10 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
david_a Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
I just read this morning (in a review of a new biography of Roald Dahl) that one of the other Charlie & The Chocolate Factory children was originally to have been named Herpes Trout.

I get the impression that Dahl was as weird as some of his characters. smile
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#1538474 - 10/18/10 11:32 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
MsAdrienne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/06
Posts: 283
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Does anyone remember the child "Veruka" on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? The first post describing this child has me thinking of that child (yelling "I want it NOW!!") and I am grateful that I have my own studio instead of feeling pressured by an administrator to accept a child who misbehaves.


Ann, this is great... we watched the original 1971 Willy Wonka movie several times last week when our little ones were under the weather and their dad was out of town... anyhow, now whenever little Miss A is whiny and/or obnoxious, I tease her and ask if she sounds like anyone from the movie. She gets this big smirk and says . . "Verruca...????" But oh, man, DO NOT call her that. YeeeIKES... smile

To the OP ~ I wish I had good advice! I've had to just be matter-of-fact in those situations and say, OK, when you are ready to play/try/count/clap/whatever was requested go ahead. I will wait. Then I just sit there and wait. And wait. And wait, with no outward emotion, just plain matter-of-fact (which is somehow impossible for me to do with my OWN darling children).

I don't talk, cajole, anything (unless the student is being destructive). Usually it gets the student to do SOMEthing. Nothing more irritating than the slumping and acting like it's torture. Then again, maybe she is not mature enough for formal lessons, despite her age. ?
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#1538552 - 10/19/10 03:44 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
david_a Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
I'm just doing the best I can, instead of doing the best.
If every parent in the world was honest in this way, things would be better. smile

The fact that you can say this out loud makes me think you're probably a better mother than quite a few I've met.
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#1538580 - 10/19/10 06:06 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4869
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Casinitaly, thanks for the correct spelling. Yes, I had heard it meant wart. LOL! Perfect name for that kind of kid!


I have no idea how they spelled the name for the film, I just took the Italian word! smile
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Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#1538668 - 10/19/10 09:40 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
Feminicricket Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Feminicricket,
I think there are two issues here. One is rude behavior and the other is incentives/motivation.

Regarding rude behavior: when a student is in my studio, I sternly correct any rude behavior.

The first time I did it, I worried later what I would hear from the parent.


You know Ann, I have had the same thing happen where I corrected rude behaviour before and worried later that I would hear from the parent. They are not in class and would hear the child`s version of what took place on that day. I used to have a kid who used to stomp her foot and cry evertime I made her play something 2 times. When I told her to stop such behavior at once or I`ll have her parent called in, I got a letter from her mom telling me to be mindful about what I say to her child. Another boy talked back at me rudely in class and I asked him "Is that the way you talk to your teacher?" He said sorry but then that was the last I saw him in my class. My boyfriend who used to teach music in a university( stopped because he could not handle constantly rude kids)always told me not to hesitate to correct a child`s behaviour because that is what teachers are supposed to do. Unfortunately, parents tend to not understand this because they were not in class to see their child`s conduct in class. Pity isn`t it? I commend you for correcting rude behaviour. I really believe that sometimes little ones don`t know that they are being rude and it is our duty as teachers to teach them to be polite. Partly to blame are family sitcoms where children talk back and are being rude to their parents and then the laughing box goes"Ha ha ha !" in the background. I used to have a little boy who used to say "Yeah right!" and "Oh Boy!" while rolling his eyes when I asked him to do something. Where do they learn these things?
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#1538670 - 10/19/10 09:43 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Feminicricket Offline
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Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
I have never seen "Charlie and the Choc factory". Is it good?
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#1538673 - 10/19/10 09:49 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Ben Crosland Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 418
Loc: Worcester, UK
When I was doing peripatetic teaching in a primary school, I was horrified by how rude and disruptive the kids were, at least when I was teaching them in groups.

I was perplexed by this, as they didn't seem to be so bad in their classrooms, from what I could tell. I was curious to know what it was that made them see me as fair game for this kind of disrespect - I don't tolerate bad behaviour, I'm never afraid to tell kids off, if needs be, and I don't come across as weak or anxious in front a class, afaik.

One thing that eventually struck me as being a possible factor: I had introduced myself as, and allowed the children to call me by my first name. I have no idea if this is what made the difference, but one thing's for sure - next peri job I take on, the kids are going to be calling me 'Mr. Crosland'...


Edited by Ben Crosland (10/19/10 09:51 AM)
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#1538682 - 10/19/10 10:02 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Ben Crosland]
Feminicricket Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
When I was doing peripatetic teaching in a primary school, I was horrified by how rude and disruptive the kids were, at least when I was teaching them in groups.

I was perplexed by this, as they didn't seem to be so bad in their classrooms, from what I could tell. I was curious to know what it was that made them see me as fair game for this kind of disrespect - I don't tolerate bad behaviour, I'm never afraid to tell kids off, if needs be, and I don't come across as weak or anxious in front a class, afaik.

One thing that eventually struck me as being a possible factor: I had introduced myself as, and allowed the children to call me by my first name. I have no idea if this is what made the difference, but one thing's for sure - next peri job I take on, the kids are going to be calling me 'Mr. Crosland'...

Good for you Mr.Crosland! Teach them right.
_________________________
LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.

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#1538768 - 10/19/10 01:03 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Originally Posted By: Feminicricket
I have never seen "Charlie and the Choc factory". Is it good?
The book is very good. There are two movies, one with Gene Wilder and the other with Johnny Depp. Neither movie was quite what I expected, but then how could they be from a story with so many strange things? (Note that the newer movie changes and adds to the story significantly.)
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#1540171 - 10/21/10 11:51 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Alreadyinuse Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/10
Posts: 31
Loc: Montreal
I am not a piano teacher but I am a parent and I just wanted to add that I don’t think you should expect the child to practice if the mother doesn’t care and if the mother just wants the child to have fun. I know that in many ways the child will have more fun improving but many parents have philosophies that are as strongly held as the philosophies of many people on this forum. They do not believe in “pushing” their children but they do want to “expose” them to cultural experiences such as musical education, dance etc. to broaden their minds.

I do no actually subscribe this approach, but MANY of my perfectly nice friends do. They send their kids to ballet once a week, and have been for 5 years. I go to the year end recital and you never saw such a chaotic, ungraceful collection of kids in tutus in your life. The teacher is a professional ballet dancer and could teach the kids. However, kids quit the first year she was teaching because she corrected them in class. The teacher reformed her thinking on what the class was about for the kids and parents. The kids did not want to be good. They wanted to have fun dancing around to nice music. Their parents had no ballet goals for them, only that they have a fun after school activity that was different. So the implicit agreement is "I will bring my child to you once a week, she will have fun pretending to learn ballet and you will have fun pretending to teach her, and we will make cherished videos at the end of the year of their essentially untutored efforts and we will all be happy and enroll next year."

That is what this parent is likely asking of you, and it is what the school is asking of you so it is what you should do. Have fun, play games, some of them at the piano, some standing up and dancing to music, clapping rhythms, singing, learning notes. Don’t worry about pace, achievement, performance or anything else. Have fun and be her once-a-week after school activity.

Someone on this board gave good advice that I have been using with my own daughter to keep her practicing when a piece needs work. We move miniature "my little ponies" of which we have six from the left to the right of the piano. She rolls the die to determine how many times she is going to play through a difficult section. Then she places the correct number of ponies on the left of the piano. After each repetition, the little ponies "dance" around in wild appreciation, and one is selected to move to the other side of the piano. When they are all on the right, we leave that section and sometimes the piece. My daughter loves performing for the little ponies (who are unstinting in their appreciation, while I am more considered) and she loves the fact that the die sometimes comes up 1 or 2 (although ours seems to be unbalanced because it comes up SIXES a LOT!)

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#1540230 - 10/21/10 12:50 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Alreadyinuse]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11406
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Alreadyinuse
So the implicit agreement is "I will bring my child to you once a week, she will have fun pretending to learn ballet and you will have fun pretending to teach her, and we will make cherished videos at the end of the year of their essentially untutored efforts and we will all be happy and enroll next year."


I understand what you are saying and that you don't agree with it, but as a teacher I care very much for my art and I think if one asks for a higher standard, one will get it. Certainly there are those that do not agree and they study with someone who doesn't care about piano. My students enjoy the success that they have from their hard work, and they learn discipline, not chaos, is what brings a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.
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#1540255 - 10/21/10 01:29 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Alreadyinuse]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Originally Posted By: Alreadyinuse
That is what this parent is likely asking of you, and it is what the school is asking of you so it is what you should do.
That would be all right, if music didn't matter to me. And if music didn't matter to me, then I would be a plumber and make some actual money. frown

Fake lessons in anything are a waste of time and money. Letting children think they're learning something, when in fact they're not, is harmful. If you want a babysitter, then call the position "babysitter", and hire a responsible teenager at minimum wage.
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#1540326 - 10/21/10 02:49 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: david_a]
Alreadyinuse Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/10
Posts: 31
Loc: Montreal
[/quote]That would be all right, if music didn't matter to me. And if music didn't matter to me, then I would be a plumber and make some actual money. frown [/quote]

Maybe the original poster can find a better position, and being a teacher for this school that wants to retain students that don't want to practice is just the first option that came along. In which case, if it is very frustrating, it would be worth adhering to higher principles and risking the student and parent quitting, and risking the school's wrath and reduction in her income . But if the OP needs this job, reframing what the job is may help her to tolerate or even enjoy the lessons, and help the kid enjoy them too. And everyone will be happy.

I am a professor and when I began teaching I suffered through relentless questions of the type "Are you teaching us this because we have to know it or is this just you saying? Like is this on the exam?" I found this so demoralizing I asked the Chair if I could teach only Honors students. Now I have a great time teaching super motivated kids to whom I can relate. But there are many other people in my department who have been able to cognitively reframe their teaching task and who have skills I don't, and they teach the regular students and are good at it, so everyone's happy.

In the case of the OP, I think it would be useful for her to cognitively reframe what her job is according to the parent (who is paying) and the school (who has hired her) and figure out a way to enjoy it. (Easy for me to say when I couldn't do it myself, but others have.) Realistically, there are worse afterschool activities than a very slow paced introduction to piano. If the child were not in the OP's studio, who knows, maybe they'd be in front of the TV, so the lessons -- even watered down -- are adding value to that kid's life.

Anyway, I'm not saying this is right; I'm just throwing in this perspective, which is widely held among the parents I know.

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#1540534 - 10/21/10 08:36 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Lollipop]
Feminicricket Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Lollipop
Feminicricket - Sounds like Mom will not be supportive. Since you don't really have a choice about teaching this child, I guess you'll have to make the best of it. Can a student learn to play piano in 30 minutes per week (without practicing)? Yes, actually. They may be 99 by the time they get to hands together, though. wink But I suspect this child's whiny attitude and frustration is due in part to the lack of success she feels. To a certain extent, mom is right - it needs to be fun.

So, for thirty minutes each week, play games, do flashcards, dance, whatever. Remove all expectations. Review the previous week's piece. (Do NOT give more than one.) If the child could pass the piece in one week by practicing it every day, then perhaps she can pass it in one month, by practicing it with you once a week. But you will somehow need to stay encouraging. Find something you like and harp on it. Wow - beautiful hand position! Hey! You only made 4 mistakes in that measure; let's try again and see if you can make only 3!

I think the key with her will be to make the steps so incremental that you have something to celebrate each week. And as the student begins to feel successful, she will move toward the piano more on her own.

I don't know what level she is at - I am assuming that she is still pretty low skill-wise - if practicing has been an ongoing issue. If so, that's good news. It's easier to improve from the lower levels. However, resist the urge to pass her on something too soon. (Although "good enough" might have to do.) You may even need to back up, but choosing a "new" book that repeats some of the concepts she should have learned previously but didn't. I don't think in this situation that I would even mention practicing at home. Consider it a gift if it happens.

Along with her ONE piece, you can give her other "assignments". Teach her how to practice good hand position by playing 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 three times in C position every day, for example. Time her. Show her it takes less than a minute. Ask her to try to find one minute for you every day. That's just an example, that may or may not be appropriate for your student. But I think if you can get her used to feeling capable and successful at the piano, it may become more fun.

Also, you may be in a tough position if another teacher in your studio "failed" with this student. Your commiseration with the other teacher might subconsciously keep you from succeeding. The other teacher may be giving you extra baggage to carry. Try to distance yourself from the other teacher and put yourself firmly on the child's side.

Easy to say from my arm-chair! I just think you probably need to spend extra time prepping, and lower your expectations for awhile. I hope you'll eventually be pleasantly surprised.


Thank you. Your approach of giving 1-2 pieces worked. The mother actually took the trouble of seeing that her daughter learned to read notes. Today, the girl was focused, played much better than last week and even wanted to play the piece again by herself. She was motivated in her lessons and I too feel like I got somewhere with her.
_________________________
LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.

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#1540544 - 10/21/10 08:53 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Alreadyinuse]
Feminicricket Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Alreadyinuse
[/quote]

Maybe the original poster can find a better position, and being a teacher for this school that wants to retain students that don't want to practice is just the first option that came along. In which case, if it is very frustrating, it would be worth adhering to higher principles and risking the student and parent quitting, and risking the school's wrath and reduction in her income . But if the OP needs this job, reframing what the job is may help her to tolerate or even enjoy the lessons, and help the kid enjoy them too. And everyone will be happy.

I am a professor and when I began teaching I suffered through relentless questions of the type "Are you teaching us this because we have to know it or is this just you saying? Like is this on the exam?" I found this so demoralizing I asked the Chair if I could teach only Honors students. Now I have a great time teaching super motivated kids to whom I can relate. But there are many other people in my department who have been able to cognitively reframe their teaching task and who have skills I don't, and they teach the regular students and are good at it, so everyone's happy.

In the case of the OP, I think it would be useful for her to cognitively reframe what her job is according to the parent (who is paying) and the school (who has hired her) and figure out a way to enjoy it. (Easy for me to say when I couldn't do it myself, but others have.) Realistically, there are worse afterschool activities than a very slow paced introduction to piano. If the child were not in the OP's studio, who knows, maybe they'd be in front of the TV, so the lessons -- even watered down -- are adding value to that kid's life.

Anyway, I'm not saying this is right; I'm just throwing in this perspective, which is widely held among the parents I know.

All I am trying to do is humble myself to say that my way of teaching is not necessarily alright for these students but I want to do something for them as their teacher. Music is my passion and I find it hard to pass up a student without giving my best and that is why I am asking the expert advice of all the wonderful teachers here in this this thread. When it comes to teaching piano, there is no one size fits all. I have always been a strict but kind teacher and am trying not to be too strict with the ones who just want to have fun. I am trying to change my teaching methods to suit these students. I appreciate your input as a parent and understand that most of your friends want their kids to go for lessons just to have fun and it has given me something to think about.
_________________________
LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.

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