Instructors>Student issues>Inattention

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Not all children, or adults, are alike in their learning abilities. Some have serious difficulties in paying attention, trying, or learning because of subtle differences in their nervous system structure or function. Several kinds of intellectual processes and different kinds of attentional processes exist.

It is possible to be gifted in some areas while being impaired in other areas. Some kids may pay attention and perform when alone but be distracting and dysfunctional when in a group.

Some children may need to be examined by a qualified professional.. If an instructor notices a child exhibiting some of the following behaviors on a constant basis, the instructor may need to point out the observation to the child's parents.

Some student behaviors in to watch for in class, especially when they indicate a change in behavior, are:


  • Unhappy
  • Discouraged
  • Depressed
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Irritable excitable or unstable mood


  • Short attention span (almost always better in some situations than in others)
  • Not trying
  • Passive stares
  • Daydreams
  • Impulsive or erratic behavior
  • Overlooks details
  • Obsession
  • Forgetful
  • Trouble with order or sequence
  • Not understanding or not following instructions
  • Struggles with expressive language
  • Right-side left-side confusion
  • Inefficient learning (almost always good at some things while poor at others)

Social behavior

  • Talking out
  • Disruptive
  • Oppositional
  • Attention-seeking
  • Silly
  • Hypersensitive
  • Shy
  • Withdrawn


  • Overactive
  • Wiggly, squirmy
  • Stiff
  • Awkward
  • Sloppy
  • Loose (especially hands)
  • Weak
  • Easily fatigued
  • Sluggish
  • Slow poor orientation to space
  • Direction
  • Distance
  • Extreme right-side vs. left-side differences
  • Mixed dominance (e.g., right-handed, left-footed, left-eyed)
  • Odd movements of eyes, mouth, neck, head, hands (especially if on one side of the body). Movements may be repetitive or occur during exertion.

  • Thackrey. M. (2002) “Won’t” may be “Can’t”. Taekwondo Today. (Fall 2002)

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