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Teaching Strategies: Slow Down a Rushing Student

Janelle Cox

What do you do with a student that rushes through their work? What teaching strategies do you use to combat this issue?

It seems like every classroom has those few students who seem like they are in a race to see who finishes first. For some reason, students think if they finish first they will win a reward. What they don’t realize is it’s just the opposite of that. As teachers, we want all of our students to produce quality work, and that takes time.

If this is something that you are struggling with in your classroom, then follow these teaching strategies to slow down those students who are always rushing through their work.

Teaching Strategies: Quality Work Takes Time

Sometimes just telling students how long you think the assignment should take them can do the trick. Before you assign the task, tell students, “This activity should take you ten minutes to complete.” If you see a student that is finished before the ten minutes is up, then simply go to their desk and quickly check their work and give them feedback on how they could improve their work.

Give Students a “Speeding Ticket”

This is by far one of the most effective teaching strategies to get students to slow down. If you see a student finish an assignment too early, then you write them a speeding ticket. This ticket must go home with them and be signed by their parents. Then, the students must redo the assignment in their free time. You can print free speeding tickets from Teachers Pay Teachers.

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Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning is a strategy that can be extremely helpful for students who rush thought their work. This structure encourages students to slow down because they must work together as a team in order to complete a task. So the student who is always rushing has no choice but to work together to complete the assignment.

Explain Your Thinking

When students are forced to explain their thinking process, they are forced to slow down. Before you assign a task, inform students that they must explain how they got their answer. When students know that they not only have to answer the question, but tell you and show you how they got the answer, you will find that it will make them slow down and take their time.

Just Keep Working

Another highly effective strategy to slow down students is to not let them hand in their assignments until everyone in class is finished. If students finish early then they know that they have to either (a) read a book, or (b) finish their morning work. When the teacher signals that time is up and everyone must be completed with their assignment, then students pass their papers to the front of the room. This is an orderly and efficient way to turn papers in, and it avoids the rush to be done first.

Praise Quality Work

When students know what is expected of them, and when they are consistently hearing their teacher praise great, quality work, they will in turn try harder and take their time. For students who really struggle, have them start small by choosing one assignment to really try and take their time at. Then, make sure you praise him/her for all of their hard work.

Be persistent and consistent in everything that you do. Make sure that students know your expectations ahead of time. This will help students understand that you will not tolerate students who rush through their work.

How do you get your speedy students to slow down? Do you have any teaching strategies that you can share with us? Please leave your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear from you.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the elementary education expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or visit her website at Empoweringk6educators.