How to deal with students with behavioral problems

How to deal with students with behavioral problems
How to deal with students with behavioral problems

As a teacher, you will work with a large number of students with different strengths and weaknesses. Some will have behavioral problems, so you will have a hard time dealing with them in the classroom. In such cases, it is important to address the behavior right now. You can take steps so that the learner can recover. In the long run, apply sanctions to discourage unwanted behavior in the classroom. To begin with, strive to prevent similar problems by setting clear rules and enforcing them.


Part 1 of 3: face the present moment

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Step 1. Identify when a behavior poses a threat

Some behaviors are annoying, but not dangerous. For example, a student may chat during class or refuse to participate. You can handle these situations in a more moderate way than dangerous behavior. But, it is advisable to treat the latter without delay and directly.

  • When a learner hurts another student or hurts himself, you have to intervene right away.
  • If a student threatens their classmate, intervene. Even if he is unlikely to follow through on his threat, prevention is better than cure.

Step 2. Start with simple gestures

Apply this formula, as it often eliminates disruptive behavior. For example, if a student is chatting in class, simply move closer to their table. In most cases, this strategy helps stop the disruptive behavior. If it doesn't work, step up your actions accordingly.

  • If you get close to the student, try tapping on their table. If this method doesn't work, tell him to stop talking.
  • Whenever possible, always try to deal with a behavioral problem without attracting too much attention. The learner may get angry and react if you embarrass them or report them in front of the class.
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Step 3. Isolate a student from his classmates

If one of your students becomes dangerous, you may need to isolate them for the safety of others. If he is physically assaulting someone, it is essential to ensure the safety of other students.

  • It is advisable to ask an adult person to accompany the students out of the classroom. This is more practical than getting the aggressive student out. If you have an assistant, you can ask them to take the other learners to a safe place.
  • If you wish, isolate the student in question in the hallway and lead him to the office of the principal, nurses or guidance counselor. During this time, have someone watch your class.
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Step 4. Distract a student who is disturbing the class

When a student is angry, the distraction can help prevent them from becoming violent. Learners, especially younger ones, may find it difficult to control their emotions. If you distract them by making them forget their anger, they are less likely to have a fit.

  • Acknowledge the student's anger by speaking quietly to him. For example, you can tell her something like: “Jacques, you are angry because Marie took the toy you wanted and I understand it. "
  • Then try to change the subject. Divert the student's attention by talking about other topics of interest. Say something like this: “Jacques, you like to paint, don't you? Try drawing pictures with Marie while you let Jane play with the Lego bricks. "
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Step 5. Recall the rules to be followed in class

When a student behaves badly, tell them the rules right away. It is important to make sure that he understands that the rules in force in your establishment will be applied.

  • If you don't already have a list of classroom rules, try creating one and posting it on the wall. You will be able to consult it easily when a student rebels.
  • Whenever a student misbehaves in class, remind them of the rules. Here's an example: “Hugo, do you remember rule number four? It is forbidden to chat in class. "
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Step 6. Ignore the behavior in question if possible

Learners often behave in a way that draws attention to themselves. If there is nothing to worry about, it is better to ignore the problematic behavior.

  • Don't react if one of them scribbles in class, talks too freely, or engages in other behavior that can easily be ignored. It is easier for a student to behave better if they do not draw attention to themselves because they have done wrong.
  • However, avoid ignoring risky behaviors. If a learner does something that could hurt him or one of his classmates, it is important to react immediately.

Step 7. Leave the choice to the student

Allowing her to make a choice will help her calm down and focus on her studies. Make sure he makes a choice that allows him to achieve the desired result, while giving him the opportunity to take responsibility for his actions. This may make them feel more constrained to play by the rules.

For example, suppose a student is disturbed by his neighbor talking to him. Tell him that he can choose to change seats himself so as not to be too distracted, or choose a new seat for him

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Step 8. Clearly explain the consequences

Any student who behaves badly in class should be aware of the consequences of their behavior. You must make it clear to him the consequences of his conduct. If it continues, apply the sanction provided for in the regulations.

  • For example, you could say something like, “If you don't finish this activity in class now, you will have to do it during the break. So he can stop his behavior and follow the rules.
  • Be aware, however, that not all students will respond to this warning systematically. Some can continue and in such cases you must apply the penalty. Indeed, it is important that they associate negative actions and consequences.
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Step 9. Teach a student to apologize

A sincere apology can help resolve conflicts caused by negative behavior. When a learner behaves badly, ask him and everyone else involved to get up from their seat for a discussion. Encourage him to get to the root of the problem and talk openly with him, giving him advice on how to prevent similar situations from happening again in the future. This is one way to encourage him to offer a sincere and concrete apology.

The apologies to be made depend on the behavior of the student and the person to whom they are addressed. A learner who hits a fellow student should apologize to the latter. If he disrupts the class, he must apologize to the class and if he has disrespected you, he must apologize to you

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Step 10. Use physical restraint only when necessary

It can be dangerous to use physical restraint, since you must not injure a student, even accidentally. You should only use physical restraint if a student harms a fellow student or injures himself. Always use as little force as possible when using this method.

Part 2 of 3: Reduce Behavior Problems

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Step 1. Document instances of improper conduct

By noting student behaviors as they occur, you can get a sense of how they are changing. This will allow you to know when a student is more likely to behave badly. In addition, you can identify the triggers that may be at the root of his bad behavior.

  • In a notebook, write down the problem. Explain in great detail the behavior, when it happened and all the circumstances surrounding the event.
  • Look for a trend. Does the person appear to be behaving inappropriately in class at any particular time of day? Maybe this happens just before recess. This could be because she can't wait to get out of class. In this case, you can teach him to regulate his energy.
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Step 2. Watch students carefully when they are at risk of losing their temper

As soon as you know when your students tend to behave badly, watch them more closely during this time. This can help to eliminate problematic behavior.

  • You can watch your students more closely at certain times of the day. For example, you may need to increase supervision when they are working in groups just before recess.
  • If you have an assistant, ask them to help you. Ask him to watch the students closely when they are in danger of rebelling.
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Step 3. Reinforce positive behaviors

Students tend to prefer positive reinforcement over negative reinforcement. So instead of always berating them for their bad behavior, try to praise them for anything positive they do.

  • Always encourage them to play by the rules. Praise them as soon as they are behaving well. Many learners need to be praised and seek the approval of their teacher. Those with behavioral problems are more likely to change if they start to win their teacher's favor by following the rules.
  • For example, say something like this: "Pascal, I really liked the fact that you waited until I finished my explanation before asking a question. This makes it easier to run the course when everyone takes turns speaking. "
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Step 4. Identify any underlying issues

Very often learners rebel for a reason. Make sure you determine the underlying issues so that you can correct them appropriately.

  • A student who behaves badly may have a health problem, a problem at home, a mental disorder, or difficulty in studying. If her behavior does not improve after regular surgery, there may be another problem.
  • Sometimes it is necessary to have a frank discussion with a learner whose behavior is not improving. You can ask open-ended questions, for example, "Is there a reason you have trouble concentrating in class?" In this way, you give him the opportunity to open up about what is preventing him from succeeding in his studies.

Part 3 of 3: take preventative measures

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Step 1. Clearly explain the rules to be followed in your classroom

This is a great way to encourage positive behavior from the first class. As a teacher, you wouldn't like to start the school year with students who don't know how to behave in class.

  • Review the rules on the first lesson. Take the time to explain everything to them clearly. Allow them to share their questions with you later.
  • Distribute a program detailing the rules to be followed in class. In this way, they will be able to consult the regulations for themselves.
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Step 2. Give them special attention

If the atmosphere in the classroom is impersonal, students may be more inclined to engage in risky behavior. Make sure that each of them feels they have an individual relationship with you. That way, they'll be more likely to respect you and follow your rules.

  • Make an effort to know the names of each of them. If necessary, you can use a register with their photos until you know all the names.
  • Chat with your students when they enter the classroom. Ask them to tell you about their weekends or their after-school plans.
  • Schedule time outside of class. Encourage students to come and chat with you during these hours if they want to bring up another topic or need help with homework.
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Step 3. Keep the communication open

Students often rebel when they do not know where to turn or when they are angry. Establish an open communication system that allows them to share their problems directly with you.

  • Be nice to all of your learners. Greet them as soon as they enter the classroom and wish them a good day after class.
  • Show courtesy and kindness to them. If they feel comfortable with you, they may not hesitate to share their problems with you.
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Step 4. Know that they can express their needs this way

Avoid getting frustrated or angry when your learners behave badly. Often times, they do this because they have a problem. They may have difficulty at home or not be able to keep up with the pace of class. In most cases, they're trying to be mean, so empathize. They need to be given the attention they need to thrive.


  • The strategy for dealing with behavior problems may vary from student to student.
  • Understand that not all methods work for all students.
  • As a teacher, you must get to know your students and strive to find what is best for them.

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