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Classroom Management, Uncategorized   |   Feb 17, 2012

Tattling Tips and Solutions

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Tattling Tips and Solutions

By Angela Watson

If you’re exhausted from students constantly tattling on each other (and what elementary school teacher ISN’T?), check out the tips I shared in this radio interview hosted by Charity Prestonof TBA Today Blog Talk Radio.  Here are the questions I addressed in this 15 minute broadcast:

1) What causes children to feel the need to tell on each other?

2) How can we encourage kids to talk to one another about their problems instead of involving the teacher?

3) How can we teach kids the difference between tattling and telling?

4) What’s the best way to respond to instances when students DO continue to tattle?



(If you can’t see/access the embedded audio above, go here to listen.)

The program airs live every Sunday night at 8 pm EST and there are some wonderful guests and topics coming up! Click here to check out upcoming TBA radio episodes and play previously recorded episodes.

How do you handle tattling in the classroom? Share your ideas in the comments!

Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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  1. Great question, Angela!
    My first response when a student comes to complain about another student is: what did you do about your problem? And, depending on what they say I will follow up with: have you talked with the child you had the problem? Usually, by having the two children go off to a corner of the classroom to talk about their problem they are able to solve it on their own. I guess this doesn’t address the question of how to stop tattling and how to explain the difference between telling and tattling but I let the children know that if they can’t solve a problem on their own after a couple of attempts then they need to get help from an adult. So, that would be telling. I think I will pose your question to my students when I’m back in the classroom on Tuesday. I am looking forward to what they have to say about it.

  2. An interesting topic! As you know, kids will be kids; they want assurance from adults that they are upright. I’ll be listening to this interview to see if I can get new insights.

  3. I have always taught children the following: If you are giving me this information to get someone “INTO” trouble, then you are tattling. BUT, if you are giving me this information to get someone “OUT” of trouble, then you are telling. I toss out a few examples and see that they have understanding.
    Examples could include – telling the teacher that Suzie didn’t put her toys away in the block area. Are they telling me so that she will get into trouble with me (tattling), or so she will get out of harm or trouble (telling)? If they tell the teacher that Johnny is pushing other children on the playground equipment, they are “telling” so that Johnny and other children will be kept OUT of trouble or harm

  4. Wonderful ideas. I like how you try to incorporate the class into taking care of each other and explain the differences between being bossy and helpful. Great!

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