Strategies for Teaching Students With Behavioral Problems

Teaching students with behavior problems creates a higher demand on the teacher. Though some teachers are specially trained to handle special needs children who need more of the teacher’s time, the average classroom is likely to contain one or more students who demand more attention due to behavioral difficulties. In some cases, principals, guidance counselors and other educators must address these problems. Yet, in some cases, hormones, challenges with peers and home life struggles can make even a “good kid” troublesome for a period of time.

Who needs to learn these Strategies?

For this reason, all teachers need to learn how to teach students with behavior problems. No matter if the child is one student in a classroom with a concern or if the classroom is designed for children with these complex behavioral issues, the methods to teaching and avoiding complications or outbursts are sometimes the same. When teachers learn how to avoid situations that can push the button on these children, it is possible to ensure the classroom’s lesson plan is fully explored and all students get equal attention.

Prior to an occurrence

One of the best strategies for teaching in an environment like this is to learn methods that help to prevent the occurrence of behavioral issues. While every student’s needs are different, there are some simple steps teachers can take to help to prevent problems as a group.

  • Increase the amount of supervision present during high-risk periods. When misbehavior is likely to occur such as during group work sessions or at specific times of the day, adding additional supervision can be a helpful step in preventing problems.
  • Ensure tasks are manageable. To avoid driving stress factors that can cause a child to begin to misbehave, ensure that all tasks given are those that can provide the student with small bits of information at one time. By dividing a lesson in chunks, it is less likely to overwhelm the student. The child is more willing to undertake the tasks at this point.
  • Offer choices whenever possible. Rather than making it a strict classroom routine, provide the students with choices. This way, behaviors can improve, especially when choices are given as a reward. For example, students can choose which project they work on rather than having to focus on a specific project.
  • Ensure children reach out for help. In some cases, behavior issues occur because the child does not know how he or she can receive help or does not, for some reason, feel that help is available. By ensuring children can reach out for the help they need, it is possible to minimize some of the risks for outbursts.

Prevention is always the best step, but it is not always possible to stop every occurrence of poor behavior.

Handling in-the-moment concerns

When behavioral problems begin to occur, it is important for teachers to react in the right manner. Still, the education must go on. The following strategies can be beneficial in these situations:

  • Apologize. Apologies help to repair the social conflicts between two individuals. Ensure that apologizes are encouraged by all offending parties.
  • Ignore. In some cases, the teacher ignores the behavior, meaning he or she does not react to it.
  • Reduce privilege access. After defining the privileges that students have, the teacher sets in place a rule system for taking those away. For example, things like having free time or being able to talk with friends are removed when rules are broken by the individual.
  • Praise. Praising positive behavior (not just expected behavior) is also a way of managing negative outcomes. Teachers are seen as attention-giving by students. They get that attention in a positive or a negative way. When teachers praise students more readily than scold, the student learns that to get attention he or she must act positively.

Dealing with conflict in the classroom is never easy. Teaching students with behavior problems may be something that all teachers have to do, though. By getting parents involved, putting time aside to understand the cause of the problem and deal with it, and by engaging children in positive rewards, it may be possible to reduce some of the risk that behavior problems will get in the way of educational plans.

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