My students don’t tattle. They just don’t.
At the beginning of the year, my students tattle at the appropriate level for their developmental stage. However, instances of tattling quickly slip to almost zero.
Easy steps to stop tattling in the classroom:
- Teach students that unless it involves safety, it’s probably tattling. It’s important to establish the difference between tattling and a legitimate report of an urgent matter.
- Explain to the class that you are actually pretty smart and will notice most instances of wrongdoing without being informed through tattling.
- Tell students that you expect them to focus on learning, not tattling. If a student tattles, assign extra learning opportunities to make up for time spent tattling. A good learning opportunity might be using the dictionary to define tattling, then using the word in a sentence.
- Do not allow comments that begin with another child’s name. Not only does this cut down on tattling, it forces children to use more sophisticated sentence structure.
- Teach your students that by not tattling, they become more loyal to each other. Would your students like to be in a classroom full of spies? No? Well, that’s what happens if they all tattle on each other. Everyone becomes an informant.
- If a child tells on another student, assign the tattlee an appropriate sentence to write, such as “I will not throw paper airplanes.” Then, have the tattler write “I will not tattle.”
- Do not allow children to tattle after recess. Explain to students that what happens at recess does not belong in the classroom. Tell your students to let the recess monitor deal with recess-related tattling issues. Suggest that students use recess time wisely: get away from the offending student and do something fun instead.
Don’t worry: your students will tell you what you really need to know. You won’t miss out on important information about bullying or safety problems. You will simply gain more teaching time and a better classroom climate.