Tackling Behavioral Problems

Handling behavioral problems in children is a very sensitive issue because behavioral problems arise from emotional stress experienced by kids. Here are some of the steps you can take to help them.

Classroom Rules

Keep Communication Channels Open

Children are very emotional and do not understand all that is going on around them in school or at home. Adults in their life – teachers as well as parents – are often unwilling to explain things to them, assuming they are too young to understand. Yes, they may be too young to understand from an adult’s perspective, but they can understand at their own level. And this is what you as a teacher should try to do. Here are some pointers to how you can help a child by keeping communication channel open

  • Make it clear in the class again and again that if any student has any problem they can come to you for help.

  • Always be willing to listen to what a student has to share. If you snub them they may stop sharing vital information too.

  • If the child is too shy to speak in front of classmates, have a one-on-one discussion outside the class.

  • If you are unable to talk to a child because you have lesson to complete, allocate some time during your free periods like recess, lunch break, leisure, etc. It will be a time well invested.

Establishing Classroom Rules

First day of school often decides how rest of the year will turn out to be. To be in control of your class as well as your workload through the year, you should spend some time establishing classroom rules on the first day. These rules will set a benchmark for what you expect from your students. Here are some suggestions −

  • Everyone should have their books, notebooks, sharpened pencils or pens, erasers and anything else they need for the class ready before you reach the class.

  • Washroom breaks will not be given 5 minutes after teaching begins.

  • During the class, anyone who wishes to speak must raise their hand and speak only when asked to.

  • There should be complete silence when lessons are being taught.

  • If you are getting late for the class, the monitor should ensure silence in the class so that other classes are not disturbed.

Besides setting the rules, you should be clear about when and by how much you would break those rules. However, you need not make the students aware of those exceptions; it is for your own benefit only.

Following Routines

Children perform the best when they know what is expected of them. So establish daily routines for your class at the beginning. If you are the class teacher, you must set routines for the whole day. Schools are very good at outlining rules for teachers, students and even parents. So most of your work is already done; you just need to ensure that the class gets into the habit of following the rules set by the school.

Still there will be some areas where you need to outline the routine and stick to them, like −

  • Switching off lights when the whole class is going out.
  • Writing date and day on the board every morning.
  • Class attendance at the beginning of each period.
  • Always standing height-wise when going out.
  • Changing places every Monday morning.

Make different student in-charges to ensure daily feedback on how much the routines are being followed. The moment you detect a slackness on the part of students, pull them up. If you leave it in the hope it will rectify itself, it will deteriorate with time rather than improve.

Enforcing Discipline

Setting protocols for classroom behavior is not sufficient. You have to ensure that those rules are followed as well. Here are some suggested measures to enforce discipline in class.

  • If a child has broken rules or failed to follow routines, give appropriate non-corporal punishment.

  • Ask the class to decide upon punishments for each act of indiscipline collectively. Put them in place by the end of first week of the school.

  • Have one student speak about any one rule for 5 minutes to keep them refreshed in everyone’s mind.

  • Appoint student in-charges to get feedback on class behavior in your absence.

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