How To Address Behaviour

Always remember: You are the adult!

In light of the shocking statistics I highlighted in my recent article about problematic behaviour, teacher training and career longevity, the Classroom Management Solutions Series is focusing on easy-to-use strategies for teachers to use in their classrooms. If you are new to the field or find yourself throwing your hands up wondering “What on earth can I do?!”, here are a few tips to make sure you give you and your students the best chance for success.

Don’t try and reason with kids

When we try and reason and argue with kids, we react rather than respond to their behaviour. It is important to remember that they are just kids. This is not to demean their ideas and opinions, but when we manage large classes full of kids, you need to know that you are the adult and the one in charge. The second you attempt to argue with a child, you lose!

Avoid disciplining the whole class

What if your entire staff team was made to work late because one of your colleagues showed up late to a staff meeting? There is no justice in this! Yet for some reason schools are often places where entire groups of children are disciplined because of the choices of one or two pupils. Make sure that your discipline is just and suitable, and your consequences as natural as possible for the individual(s) who made a silly choice!

Give them choices

Some students like to argue. If we phrase our requests with a number of choices, it puts us in control of the situation, builds trust, and allows the student(s) a feeling of autonomy and agency.

One student I worked with did not like being asked to join our group for music lessons. Knowing this, I pre-planned my requests for him to join our group. I said, “Fred, you can (1) stay seated in the back of the room and do nothing, (2) play with the dinosaurs on the floor, (3) play with the dinosaurs at your table, or (4) join us.”

This helped build trust between the student and I, and it also helped him know I would give him time to make a decision. I did this consistently and our music lessons became his favourite time of the week! I even wrote a song called The ‘NO’ Song for him where he got to shout “NO!” for the entire song.

If a student is refusing to move from a situation, give them a choice for how long they can stay in whichever space they’re “stuck” in – 1 minute, 3-minutes, or 5-minutes. I find this to be helpful with students who need time to unwind, or to just be alone for a few minutes.

This series will continue next week - Don't forget to subscribe and email me if you have any questions.