Classroom management: 7 Ways to handle bad behavior in the classroom
Disciplining students with kind words and encouragement works better every time than stern reprimands or severe criticism.
Every classroom has its share of disruptive students. Knowing how to handle an aggressive child in the classroom is key to managing the classroom and maintaining your control as educators. If you can patiently sit down and analyse your classroom in a new light, there are plenty of things you can do to regain control.
None of our classroom management strategies for teachers involve becoming a fearsome dictator; classrooms don’t respond to that any more than countries do.
What you can do is get creative, clever and even compassionate with your class control. Here are a few ways to get your sanity back and regain a healthy class environment.
7 classroom management strategies to handle bad behaviour in the classroom
One: Take deep breaths and count to 10
Super obvious, but it doesn’t do any harm to remind you: that short pause calms and often diffuses a nasty outburst you instantly regret. Yes, you’re the teacher and yes, it’s your classroom, but anger has to be harnessed in rational, reasonable ways.
Two: Don’t make it personal
Whether you dislike a student for repeated attitude and behaviour issues or not, don’t let them know that unless you want to make things far worse. Make the behaviour the problem, not them personally. In fact, if at all possible, lead into any direct criticism by drawing attention to one of their good points – “I really like your enthusiasm in history and English, but you’ve got to stop messing around in math.”
It is also vital to understand if a student’s ‘misbehaviour’ in the classroom is a result of an altogether different issue – perhaps something like the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) condition.
Read our tips for managing ADHD in the classroom in our previous blog.
Three: Set an example
This follows on from our first point and, again, it might seem obvious. But how can you expect your students to behave like angels when you fly off the handle whenever provoked? Keep your cool under fire and you’ll gain respect that can work wonders for you in other ways.
Four: Foster a culture of reward
Back in the dim, dark past, we used to adopt a culture of fear and punishment in schools. Times have changed, kids have changed. These days, you’re far better off reinforcing good behaviour with appropriate rewards than punishing bad behaviour.
Most students want to be recognised; they want to be appreciated. Create a culture where they know they can be and you’re halfway to culling the bad stuff.
To increase the motivation for student achievement, rewards are given. But does this work? Find out in our previous blog post on the ‘Effects of rewards on students.’
Five: Listen to troublemakers
Correctly disciplining an aggressive child or an angry student can be tough. Remember, yelling and reprimanding solves nothing. Sit offenders down and have a quiet chat. Find out what triggered their behaviour, ask if they’re happy and if not, why not. Be calm, caring and compassionate and chances are, you’ll get a positive outcome.
Six: Talk about good and bad behavior
Make it a light-hearted class chat. Detail what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable conduct; spell it out because, honestly, some kids won’t know especially if they’re very young.
Seven: Watch out for disruptive students or cliques
If you start seeing small groups developing a disruptive mentality, explain what you don’t like about the situation and what you’d like them to do better. Sit them apart for a while if necessary.