It’s sad when student misbehavior dominates a class. I can think of a few teachers I had growing up who had a challenging time dealing with student misbehavior. I’m regretful that my misbehavior caused some of my teachers to become frustrated with their job. I wish that I could find all them and apologize. Student misbehavior something that all teachers have to deal with. Properly dealing with it takes time and practice. Aspiring teachers and new teachers must understand this. The students will not always sit quietly taking in your wonderful lesson.
Students will make poor decisions and as a leader, you will have to respond. It will be challenging and frustrating discovering who your are as a classroom leader when it comes to correcting behavior. Clearly, you have to do it, because if you don’t, you will have an elephant in your classroom that restricts teaching and learning. I want to share with you a cycle that allows this elephant to exist in your classroom:
1. Student Misbehavior
A student or students make a decision that interrupts the learning environment.
2. Teacher’s attempt to control misbehavior
The teacher addresses the issue with the student(s). This may be met with:
- Debate – The student is in fight mode and begins to ask the teacher rhetorical questions
- Deny – The student denies any wrongdoing
- Deflect – The student points out wrongdoing of others and questions why the teacher is talking
3. Student persistence in continued misbehavior
The attempted correction was not successful and the unwanted behavior continues. This is the pivotal moment in the cycle. Obviously, something different needs to happen to address the misbehavior.
4. Teacher retreating in frustration
At this stage, frustration is high due to the refusal of the student to correct behavior. Also, the teacher may ignore or compromise with misbehavior students in hopes that things get better.
5. An increase in student misbehavior
The door is now open to more student misbehavior. Students who normally make great decisions may even participate. Teaching and learning is severely restricted.
This is obviously a difficult environment for everybody. Moreover, no one wins. I encourage you to constantly seek professional development in this area. Obviously, the more tools you have, the better. During my last 5 years in the classroom, I adopted Love and Logic Principles. They helped me to deal with poor decisions and hold students accountable while also maintaining my sanity. Finally, what are your go-to strategies for addressing student misbehavior? Share by leaving a comment.
Source: The Elephant in the Classroom: The impact of misbehavior on classroom climate, (Nancy J. Ratliff Et Al.)
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