February 5th, 2020
Many children come in with behavioral issues that not only has drastic effects on their own academic progress, but can also disrupt the teaching environment for other students. Behavioral issues in students tends to happen through various phases as the child is growing up, however using the right strategy the situation can be handled easily. Mentioned below are few of the methods of handling behavioral issues in students:
Stay calm and act logically:
The first thing to focus on is that students who are displaying behavioral issues cannot be acting in that way without a specific reason. Therefore, try to stay calm instead of getting irritated and taking it out on the student because of the reason that this reaction would not resolve the issue due to which the student is acting out. The only thing it will result in is the student being encouraged into either acting out more, or forcing the student to suppress his/her emotions and behavior, which can have long-term negative impacts on their mental health. It is natural to be overcome with anger, frustration and resentment during these situations. However, that makes you more a victim to irrationality, thus you lose the ability to resolve the matter. Never resort to blame or ridicule.
Try to talk:
If you see a sudden change in the behavior of the student, for example he/she has gone quiet, or stopped participating in class you can step up and talk to them since chances are that they might be facing trouble in school or at home. Show them that you care and are willing to help. Provide them a safe space and surety that whatever they are willing to share will remain between the two of you. Most behavioral issues can be resolved by talking because if you can get the student to trust you and talk it out, the problem can be identified and easily resolved.
One thing that needs to be ensured to the student depicting behavioral problems is that their behavioral problem is the main issue, and not the student himself/herself. Assure the student that their behavioral problem is not personal to their relation as teacher and student. Students often perceive that the teacher dislikes them, which can cause behavioral problems and changes in behavior. The solution is to sit and talk to them separately instead of pinpointing them in front of others which can make them feel embarrassed in front of the whole class and lower their self-esteem. Explain to them that their actions and behavior have consequences and help is available once they state their issues instead of letting them think that you have a personal grudge against them.
Provide a solution:
Another common mistake made by teachers is that they simply turn towards pointing out that the student’s behavioral problem instead of providing any guidance as to how it can be dealt with. Every student requires guidance to make them understand that it is possible for them to change their behavior and the teacher does care for them. Show them a way to change their behavior, change their perspective. With the right words and actions, a teacher can change the behavior of the student towards positive reinforcement.
Talk to their parents:
This step should be taken when previous steps have failed to produce a positive outcome since directly going to the parents instead of talking to him/her first can sometimes offend your student. However, if the student continues to behave in a similar manner despite constant tries, then your last resort must be to contact the parents with the possibility that they might be able to explain the student’s behavioral problem. Talk to the parents openly and try coming up with a solution together. The main goal of setting up a meeting with the parents is to get to the root of the behavior and come up with resolving options for the student’s benefit. However, another reason you should contact the parents is if the student signals that their behavioral issue might be a cause of problems at home. In this situation, calling the parents and letting them know that their personal conflicts and behavior are affecting their child, as well as forming solutions for the betterment of the student might be the best way to tackle the situation at hand.
Positive reinforcement is when you reward a student for their positive behavior. Positive reinforcement is an effective way in handling behavioral problems in the student. If the student has stopped participating and contributing in class activities you can always encourage them and when they do, reward as a surplus for their behavior. This will also encourage the student ot participate more since he/she would be looking forward to an award the next time as well. Positive reinforcement helps you in directing the student’s behavior to a better and effective lifestyle.
Negative reinforcement is when something likable by the student is removed because of bad behavior. This makes the student realize that their actions do have consequences, which do not result in their favor. Without a doubt, positive reinforcement is more effective and preferred over negative reinforcement. However, for some students positive reinforcement is not effective after which a teach can redirect to negative reinforcement to try to change the student’s behavior for the better. For example, if the student is always aggressive with his/her fellow classmates and you have already tried talking to that student and being lenient wherever you could possibly be; negative reinforcement can prove helpful, you can complain to the student’s parents to make him/her realize their actions or even separate the student from the rest of the class. This might help the student realize that their behavior is not appropriate and should be changed if he/she wants to be a part of the class.
Involve the authorities:
This should only be considered an option when the behavior of the student is towards an extreme stage for you to handle alone. When unusual actions arise, your primary concern should be protection. When a student is not reacting to your attempts to correct their conduct, it may be time for administrators to be involved. Isolate the student from the incident at hand, and then call for help. If you cannot separate the student despite several tries, you might need to transfer the class away from the student for the protection and safety of everyone. After the incident, allow time to cool down for yourself and your class. Breathe and recover your composure, and make sure to write a detailed report describing the behavior. However, involving the authorities should always be a last resort if the situation becomes too violent and harms the safety and security of others.
In most cases, a student doesn’t feel the need to explain themselves or their reasons for acting out. All he/she needs is a little time to work through their problems on their own. You can play your part in this by being lenient to them in this duration. If they are unable to complete a task within the given deadline, give them an extra day to do it. This will help them by giving them the time to sort and solve their problem. Studies, homework, and assignments are important for a student’s mental growth. However, sometimes they do act as a burden, which can become a factor for increase in behavioral problems therefore; the teacher in these circumstances should adopt leniency.
If you are dealing with behavioral issues of students, make sure to keep a record of proper documentation of the habits and the strategies you used to change their negative behavior. Documentation is crucial to creating a behavior pattern, and if they need to be proactive, it’s relevant information for the management. Moreover, if the administration is not helpful or you are imposing questions on you, getting paperwork will shield you by detailing the measures that you have taken before contacting them.
Talk to other teachers:
This method also proves helpful in handling the student’s behavioral issue. If you are the first one to notice change in a student’s routine behavior and the other teachers have not, you can share your observations or even ask for suggestions. Most institutes do have teachers that specialize in dealing with students who have behavioral issues. You can also request other teachers to support you and provide leniency towards that student so that he/she can have the time they need to change their behavior in a positive environment
Being open minded:
Another thing to keep in mind is that not every student in a classroom comes from the same background and ethnicity. Behavioral problems in a student can also be an impact of his/her cultural traditions. For example, if a student is looking down at the floor instead of you when you are talking to him/her it may seem rude and defiant to you. However, there is a possibility that the same action is considered respectful in his culture. Hence, it is advised to look at behavioral issues from differing angles and cater to a student’s behavioral problem accordingly.
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