“All students misbehave in school. You just have to show them that you’re in charge. Students in your class are out of control because your lessons are not interesting. Maybe, you need to offer them a reward so they will sit still for part of your lesson.”
This is usually bad advice offered to teachers to help them deal with their students’ bad-behaviors. It’s bad advice because it assumes that a teacher can control a child’s behavior, which is not always possible. It also presumes that the educator is boring and should bribe their students to encourage proper behavior.
None of these things work; children who act up do so for specific reasons. It’s up to the teacher to identify the root cause of the misbehavior and to find ways of deescalating that behavior in the classroom.
Typically the three main causes of misbehavior occurs because these children:
Crave attention: These kids are the ones who constantly speak out without permission in school. They are known for interrupting their teacher’s lesson inorder to force their instructor and classmates to pay attention to their antics.
The best way of dealing with attention-seeking students is to acknowledge their presents in the classroom right away, and given them a brief opportunity to share something about last night’s homework or their thoughts on today’s lesson. When the child misbehaves, resist the temptation to lecture, nag, scold, or yell. Negative reactions will only fuel the student’s misbehavior. Instead, let the child know that the attention s/he is seeking is not positive and will result in a timeout or a disciplinary consequence.
Avoid classwork: These children generally rarely complete their school work; instead, they look for distractions to avoid work altogether. Their lack of productivity and their need for diversion can disrupt their classmates’ learning time.
These types of students benefit from consistent monitoring. Once the instructor completes his or her whole class lecture, the teacher has to immediately check-in with these children throughout the class period to ensure they are on task. Eventually, the student will get the idea he or she is being monitored and will find it difficult to avoid his or her class assignments
Seek Power: Children who seek power are individuals that need to argue and are not afraid of confrontations with adults. When students become upset, they may not be able to control their own anger and can get extremely violent.
When dealing with a student in this situation, it’s best to respond to the student in a ‘neutral’, calm voice and keep responses brief. Short responses give these type of kid less control over the interaction and can also prevent educators from inadvertently ‘rewarding’ misbehaving students with lots of negative adult attention.
All educators do their best to de-escalate all misbehaviors in their classroom. No matter how carefully teachers try to create a positive learning environment, students will still misbehave. They will forget classroom rules or expectations. Sometimes, they just want to test the limits of a teacher’s patience. Misbehavior will happen and the only thing an educator can do is to be ready for it.
- Avoiding Power Struggles with Students: The dos and don’ts of dealing with classroom confrontations By Robert McNeely
- Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net