Ideas For Curbing Tattling
Jill: Tommy keeps making faces at me! Tommy: Jill stole my pencil! Jack: Tommy is throwing erasers at me! Does this sound familiar? Children love to tattle, and unnecessary tattling can take away from class time. Some children tattle for attention; however, that does not mean that the tattling should go ignored. There are some cases when a student is in trouble, and needs the teacher to help him or her sort out their problem. Maybe there's a bully in class and the child is being picked on. Whatever the case, a teacher should never ignore a student's plea for help. For those that simply want to tattle to gain attention, there are certain strategies and ideas that you can implement to reduce the bickering back and forth.
The Right Response Counts
"The response to tattling depends on several issues. A certain level
of sensitivity is required when deciding the best method to handle a tattling
situation. As a teacher, try to think and be aware of what is going on in
the child's mind. A simple teacher response such as "Is this tattle
meant to keep someone out of danger or to get them in trouble?," or
"Thank you for telling me," or "I�ll look into it" is
often all that is required."
"Tattle No More!"
"My third and fourth graders use to tattle all day long. I told them
that I could not listen to that many tattles a day. Instead of saying no
tattles, I told them they could have one tattle a day. I explained that
it was more that fair because, I would still have to listen to 28 tattles.
Once they tattled, they could not tattle again until the next day. They
were so protective of that one tattle, that most of them didn't use it.
In a couple of weeks the problem disappeared. :)"
Start Out Right!
"At the beginning of the school year and at each quarter, discuss
with your students the difference between telling to inform and tattling.
Role-play with your students various situations to determine safety issues
that would require teacher knowledge and involvement. In addition, discuss
the numerous tattling situations which only has the goal of getting someone
"Take advantage of the observing skills involved when a student reports
a tattle to you! The learning possibilities that present themselves are
there! Discuss with your students the art of catching classmates being good
and demonstrating positive interactions with their peers. Encourage the
use of positive statements and use them often."
A "Tattling Box"
"The concept of a tattling box often helps to cut down the number of tattles. The box is not meant for issues of information regarding students well being or safety. A shoebox with an opening is placed in the classroom. The students write down the problem and a brief description of what happened. Empty the box periodically throughout the day, and consult with the students as needed."