There are a lot of issues that can arise within a classroom environment, and as teachers we have to learn how to deal with these issues quickly and efficiently. Even the smallest issue can really disrupt the layout of the day, and disturb the working efforts of other pupils within the classroom. It can prove to be incredibly overwhelming, but it is simply an average part of our day-to-day lives in a classroom environment.
One of the main problems that we face is that when a student does show behavioural issues we have to find out the root cause of the issue at hand. It can be difficult because there could be a number of different causes, and the same reaction from two different pupils could have completely different causes altogether. There are several things that you can do to help you work out this root cause, and they are:
- Notes: If you have the time, you should make notes about the types of behaviour that your students exhibit. By making these notes you will have a record as to whether or not it is always the same type of behaviour, or whether the behaviour is evolving and changing into something new. One example is that, in a classroom with multiple students, they can pick up behavioural issues from other students.
- Triggers: After you can clearly see what sort of behaviour your student is exhibiting, and how often they are exhibiting it, you should attempt to work out whether there are any specific triggers that bring on the unwanted behaviour. By noticing these triggers, you might be able to see the student’s behaviour change before, during, and after the placement of the trigger. If the trigger is something that can be changed in a classroom setting, you can make a plan to avoid it altogether.
In the modern-day world, we also have to approach the situation from the viewpoint of our pupil’s parents. From their viewpoint it is easy to see that disruptive pupils get a lot of attention, and they take away from the day for other pupils within the classroom. One disruptive pupil can affect the layout of the whole day. To try and show parents that you are on their side you should make an increased effort to both prioritise and praise pupils that do work efficiently in the classroom. With older students you could write in their planner or journal, and with younger students you could give them a sticker or a small certificate.
The thing that you have to remember is that disruptive pupils do require a lot of attention, but their needs to be a balance between the attention that we show incredibly unruly pupils, and the attention and praise that we give to well-behaved pupils. By getting the balance right the layout of the day won’t be disrupted as much as it would be if the tables were tipped towards the disruptive pupils. Depending on the nature of the issue, there are several things that you could do to change the outcome and nip it in the bud immediately, they include:
- Inappropriate language: There are two ways to effectively deal with inappropriate language as a teacher. But, before you can do that you need to find the root issue of the inappropriate language. Usually inappropriate language is exhibited for one of two reasons, either a student wanting to gather attention, or due to the nature of the student’s own home environment. If you can determine that the inappropriate language is due to one of those reasons, then you should sit the student down for a one-to-one talk. Explain that their language is directly affecting their peers, and try to find out more information as to what the cause might be.
- Debate: As a teacher it is almost guaranteed that you will come across a student that likes a deba003te. This is where the student turns every conversation with the teacher into a debate, and it often ends up turning into an argument if it is not dealt with quickly. The best thing to do as a teacher is to avoid any unnecessary power struggles as soon as a student exhibits debate-like behaviour. You should make every effort to talk to the pupil outside of the classroom environment, and explain how their debating affects your ability to communicate with them within the natural classroom environment.
- Refusal: It is also commonplace to see a student that refuses to do anything that you ask them to do. Simply because it is you, as their teacher, asking them to do it. If you do encounter a student that refuses to do their work, simply offer them a choice. The choice that you offer them should include consequences if they do not do what you want them to do, and by offering the student a choice you give them a little bit of control over the situation – while still giving them the ultimatum to do what you want them to do.
The very nature of successfully handling disruptive pupils is actually all about developing a working relationship with that pupil, and just like every relationship that we form throughout our lives, there is no one size fits all standard. We have to change our own nature, and look for different solutions, only by doing that will we be able to deal with any challenge that is presented to us in the world of teaching.