Question on students acting up in class and parental repsonse

Mark Lynn

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A couple of days ago I was talking with a former martial artist with a preteen child in the martial arts about some students in his child's class. He didn't agree with my input on what I felt the right thing to do was and I thought I ask others to see what other students, instructors, or parents thought.

So your child is taking a martial arts class and in the class the instructor is working with some other higher ranked students on the side. Your child is an advanced belt (brown) was given instruction on what he should do as were the other students. However there are some lower belts (green belts) that are fooling around on the side disrupting class.

1) Do you as a parent take action and tell the kids to knock it off?

2) Do you leave it to the instructor to handle?

In this case the parent felt they were justified in telling the kids to cut it out, not once but maybe up to three times. He believes that he is helping the instructor and it is the right thing to do for the other kids as well.

If you take part in this thread please also tell us if you are an instructor, parent or student along with your thoughts. I would like to see different prespectives on the matter.

Thanks
Mark
 

agemechanic03

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Hi Mark, First off, I am a student, but am planning on teaching youth when I get to my next base at the youth center. I believe it should be up to the instructor, but if it's your "own" kid, then yes, you should have the right to tell the kid to pay attention, it is your money right? But also at a very reasonable low level voice to keep from interrupting the rest of the class. I feel that if a parent starts telling other kids what to do, it will cause a disturbance in the class that will prolly get other parents involved. My $.02!
 

Guardian

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I've never taught kids, so my thoughts come from an outsider in that perspective. I feel that the instructor(s) should handle the problem while it's happening and the parents should get on with it after the class to reinforce what the instructor says. From what I've seen, it's a booger to keep little ones in line all the time.

G
 

morph4me

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I've taught kids and adults. In my class if you're sitting and watching you're doing just that, it's not up to the parents to conduct my class for me. The parents who tell the kids to stop fooling around are the same ones that try to make corrections from the sidelines, and I've asked parents to sit quietly or leave for doing just that. The instructor is responsible for his class, not the parents.
 

grydth

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I'm a practitioner, and also a parent of 2 daughters who are students.

Generally, I think you should leave it to the instructor. If every parent chimes in, that reduces the instructor's authority and produces disorder rather than order.

I will briefly gesture to or speak to my own children if I see they are not behaving.

I think if I were to see a dangerous situation developing outside the sensei's view - i.e. kids fooling around with weapons - I'd step in to prevent serious injury. I'd say if I were in the gallery and saw that 200 kicks thing from a recent thread going on, I'd put a stop to it pdq.

Most often, though, if you have a problem it is best to wait and seek out the instructor or owner after class.
 

kidswarrior

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I've taught kids and adults. In my class if you're sitting and watching you're doing just that, it's not up to the parents to conduct my class for me. The parents who tell the kids to stop fooling around are the same ones that try to make corrections from the sidelines, and I've asked parents to sit quietly or leave for doing just that. The instructor is responsible for his class, not the parents.
What morph said.
 

MBuzzy

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As a student and assistant instructor, I would say that it should be left to the instructor. It is always nice to have help, but if there isn't enough "adult supervision" in the class, maybe a few higher adult belts need to be brought in to help out. We have anywhere from 2-5 Cho Dans and Ee Dans come to kids class to keep an eye on them and make sure none of the kids are messing around....and honestly, it takes all of us on some nights.

The problem with parents getting involved is exactly what grydth and morph said. Once they start getting involved, it is a slippery slope, eventually they'll be coaching the whole class. They are welcome to watch and intervene is anything seriously wrong happens, but for the most part, leave it to the instructors.

Also, the front leaning rest method seems to have a GREAT effect. If the students are misbehaving and not doing what they are supposed to, they can wait for you in the push up position until you are ready for them. I've found the there is an inversely proportional relationship between push ups and goofing off.
 

Tez3

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I've taught kids and adults. In my class if you're sitting and watching you're doing just that, it's not up to the parents to conduct my class for me. The parents who tell the kids to stop fooling around are the same ones that try to make corrections from the sidelines, and I've asked parents to sit quietly or leave for doing just that. The instructor is responsible for his class, not the parents.


Absolutely spot on! You are demeaning and undermining your child's instructor if you start taking part in the class which is what you are doing if you start telling any student off, your child or not.

I am a female instructor and this is a subject that makes me mad, many of the children I teach have fathers who are soldiers, nice guys everyone but they seem to look down on me as an instructor. I'm second guessed, asked if I'm sure about something and often they feel they have to 'impose discipline' which to my mind is ridiculous when I'm teaching four year olds (we do Little Dragons age 4-7 as well as an older children's class) the mums incidentally and my chief instructor back me all the way. I have in the past resorted to asking for dads to volunteer so I can 'demonstrate' moves on them just so I can prove myself to them.
 

tshadowchaser

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parents speaking to children while class is going on is a distraction to the whole class. The children will start paying more attention to the parents to get approval or see what they can get away with ( it become a game for them).
The instructor needs full control of whats happening on the floor. Plus that the children must at some time learn responsibility and some discipline
 

Gordon Nore

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My sensei says this to parents bringing children to the class all the time: "Parental participation is welcomed... at home. Leave the teaching to the instructors, please."
 

Bobby135

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First off I am a student with no children (26 yo). Although I have worked with kids since I was one myself. First off I do not think the parents should have anything to do with the class while in progress. I believe that it is up to the instructor and the other students in the class. Higher rank students should assist when necessary, and even lower rank students should be able to assist. Granted nothing is as simple as when we are talking about it. Just my opinion.
 

bushidomartialarts

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As an instructor, I'd rather the parent not heckle, coach or otherwise distract from the bench. After class, if I felt the need to address the issue with the parent, I'd absolutely want support and reinforcement off the deck.

But during class? No, thanks.
 

kidswarrior

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I am a female instructor and this is a subject that makes me mad, many of the children I teach have fathers who are soldiers, nice guys everyone but they seem to look down on me as an instructor. I'm second guessed, asked if I'm sure about something and often they feel they have to 'impose discipline'
This is sad.

I have in the past resorted to asking for dads to volunteer so I can 'demonstrate' moves on them just so I can prove myself to them.
:D
 

MJS

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A couple of days ago I was talking with a former martial artist with a preteen child in the martial arts about some students in his child's class. He didn't agree with my input on what I felt the right thing to do was and I thought I ask others to see what other students, instructors, or parents thought.

So your child is taking a martial arts class and in the class the instructor is working with some other higher ranked students on the side. Your child is an advanced belt (brown) was given instruction on what he should do as were the other students. However there are some lower belts (green belts) that are fooling around on the side disrupting class.

1) Do you as a parent take action and tell the kids to knock it off?

2) Do you leave it to the instructor to handle?

In this case the parent felt they were justified in telling the kids to cut it out, not once but maybe up to three times. He believes that he is helping the instructor and it is the right thing to do for the other kids as well.

If you take part in this thread please also tell us if you are an instructor, parent or student along with your thoughts. I would like to see different prespectives on the matter.

Thanks
Mark

Instructor as well as student. As for the question...if the children in question do not belong to the parent who is viewing the class, then no, IMHO, they really don't have any right to say something to a child that is not theirs. I understand that the offending childs behavior is taking away from the rest of the group who is paying attention, but none the less, ultimately, it is the person teaching the class, that should be taking charge of anyone fooling around.

Have I had parents, in the past, tell their kids to stop fooling around? Yes. When that has happened, I have also stepped in, because as I said above, it is my job, as the teacher to teach.

Teaching is not an easy task. You really do have to prove yourself and it is another step in your martial arts journey. I've been fortunate to have a few asst. instructors during class time. Then again, there have been times when I've been by myself and have had a large kids class.

You learn by trial and error when teaching. To think that you can break up a class of 4 and 5 yr olds into seperate groups and expect them to work on their own until you come back, is wishful thinking. Just doesn't happen. Older kids...yes, it can be done, although you still need to keep an eye on whats going on.
 

MJS

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I've taught kids and adults. In my class if you're sitting and watching you're doing just that, it's not up to the parents to conduct my class for me. The parents who tell the kids to stop fooling around are the same ones that try to make corrections from the sidelines, and I've asked parents to sit quietly or leave for doing just that. The instructor is responsible for his class, not the parents.

Ah yes...I know what you mean. I've had those 'know it all' side line parents as well. They mean well...at least I think they do..lol...but still, it is a distraction. This is why, as I said, when a parent has said something to their child, I step in as well. I don't want to give the impression to the parent that I'm expecting or wanting them to continue to add input.
 

MarkBarlow

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I'll smile and make a joke to a parent the first time they try to teach from the sidelines. Something along the lines of, "When they're on the mat, they're mine" and shush them like the stereotypical librarian. After that, I tell them that if they can't behave they can't stay.

I've had one parent who couldn't/wouldn't get the message and I ended up kicking him and his kid out of the class. In my defense, this was a dad who would stand on the edge of the mat and scream at his 8 yr. old son to "Rip his head off" during randori. I felt bad about denying the child something he enjoyed but I couldn't inflict his father on the other kids and parents.
 

tradrockrat

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If you will promise to sit quietly and let me teach my class, I'll promise not to come over your house and tell you how to cook, and I promise not to come to your job and tell you how to file paperwork (or whatever your job entails)

IMHO it is the instructors job and no one else's to create and maintain order in the class - that includes the step of delegating authority and jobs in the class. In short, If I did not ask you to keep my students in line, please do not try to do that.

again, JMHO
 

Brandon Fisher

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Its the responsibility of the parents to let the instructor handle it. If there is an issue then take it up with the instructor after class.
 

Kacey

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I've had parents try it... not very often, as my class is mixed adults and children, and the adults and teens are very good at controlling the younger ones.

If you were in a different environment, and were a coach - would you allow a parent or other spectator to talk to your trainees? I wouldn't - and I don't see how teaching a martial arts class is any different.
 

searcher

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A couple of things here: as an instructor I always have an assistant instructor that helps keep the kids in check, I am not a baby-sitter. If a parent wants me to give their chld discipline, then they are in for a rude awakening. I am there to teach, not to be the disciplinarian for their kids.

Next, does this instructor not have any assistants? I have some pretty good ones and this def. helps out. Example, I had a group of 32 high school girls today and if it were not for my assistant, it would have been insane.

If a parent oversteps the bounds, they need to be spoken with. They can politely tell the kids to pay attention, but not to the point where THEY start to disrupt the class.


Just a few thoughts on this subject.
 
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