Tips for Managing Student Behavior

Mar 20, 2019 by

A teacher’s main objective is educating students. But in reality, there job goes far beyond this. Teachers often act as second-parents, counselors, sounding boards, and interventionists. A teacher can only reach a student who wants to be reached. Sure, they can try different approaches to teaching, small group activities, and one-on-one instruction to break through. But if a student is defiant, closed off, and unwilling to learn, this can be a tall order. Students who are misbehaved or exhibit behavioral issues may need a more specialized approach. And knowing where to start is key. Keep reading to discover tips for managing student behavior and how this promotes success in the classroom.

Consider Age Appropriate Behavior

While disrespectful or disruptive behavior is never acceptable in the classroom, some behavior is age appropriate. Elementary school students who are new to a structured classroom setting may not grasp the rules at first. They’re still working on self-control and empathy. Their attention spans are also very short. To accommodate their level of development, keep lessons short and engaging. Avoid too much time sitting in one spot. Allow students to get up and move around the classroom. Active lessons help young learners get their energy out, while also maintaining control of the classroom. Older students and teens are often more defiant and  sometimes lack the motivation to put forth effort. The same principles hold true for reaching these types of students. Try creating fun, interactive lessons that feel less like learning or more like experiencing new things. Being approachable and laid back verses harsh and stern may also help when trying to reach troubled teens.

Be Flexible

No two students are alike and no two classroom environments are either. This means flexibility is key when managing student behavior. If a class is accustomed to a laid back teacher who allows conversation during seat work, understand that it may take time for them to adjust to your quiet seat work approach. Your teaching style and approach may also change throughout the year or from one year to the next. Remaining flexible helps you accommodate individual student needs and differences while also keeping your sanity! There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to teaching. Avoid getting “set in your ways”. And try to be patient with students who are learning how your approach may differ from another teacher they’ve had.

Build Your Resources

They say knowledge is power. The more you know and understand about a child’s behavior, the better equipped you are to help and reach them. While educating yourself on different behavioral studies and findings is important, pooling resources is also helpful. Don’t limit yourself or pressure yourself to have all the answers. Reach out to the guidance counselor and other school resource officers. Attend workshops, read studies and books, and speak to other teachers who have struggled with the same types of issues. This RC ABA article is a great example of a behavioral study that could help transform your teaching style and reach a student in need.

In a perfect world, every class would respond exactly the same to your teaching style. All learners would be eager, receptive, and intuitive. But this isn’t how the world works and it’s certainly not how a traditional classroom works. You’re bound to encounter difficult behaviors, combative students, and the need for individualized instruction. Keeping an open mind and remaining patient during the process is key. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or educate yourself on the ever-changing world of education and child behaviors.

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