In this article, we will look into some of the most effective ways to deal with difficult students.
Managing disruptive behaviour in the classroom is tough for teachers. Even skilled educators find it hard to handle troublesome students. The aim is to spend more time inspiring students, but this can’t happen without a clear plan for setting rules and sticking to them. If your current approach isn’t working, consider these tips. First, establish clear and consistent rules in the classroom. Be firm, fair, and respectful when enforcing them. Secondly, building positive relationships with students, and understanding their needs can reduce misbehaviour. Thirdly, involve parents; communication with families can support students’ behaviour at home and school. Lastly, seek support from colleagues or mentors to share effective strategies.
Types of Difficult Students to Deal With
Some students in the class like to talk a lot and often interrupt others. This can be frustrating for students who are quiet and find it hard to join the conversation. It’s important to let everyone speak, including the talkative students. But, it’s also essential to make sure they don’t dominate the discussion too much.
To manage this, you can set some rules. For instance, you can limit the time for each person to speak. You can keep track of who has spoken and make sure everyone gets a chance before someone speaks again. Sometimes, you can politely interrupt and steer the conversation in a different direction. Another method is putting students in smaller groups, which might help the quieter ones feel more comfortable speaking up. It’s about finding a balance so everyone can participate and learn together.
To make sure students do their homework, teachers can start every class by talking about the homework assignment. When students haven’t done their homework, they might feel awkward or realize they’re missing out on valuable learning time in the first 10 minutes of class. This might motivate them to complete it next time.
To deal with such difficult students, teachers should also regularly check and grade the homework. If it’s a part of their grade, students are more likely to complete it. It’s important to remind students why homework is given: it helps them learn faster. So, by doing their homework, they’re investing in their own learning and improvement.
Coming to class late is a problem because it disrupts the learning process. When students are late, it interrupts the lesson, and we have to repeat things for them, which wastes everyone’s time. Sometimes, students might have a valid reason for being late, and it’s important to understand their situation.
However, if a student is always late without a good reason, you should talk to your supervisor about the school’s rules. One way to handle this is by making the consistently late student wait outside the classroom until the current activity is over. This helps maintain a smooth learning environment for everyone.
Students Who Think They Know It All
Teachers sometimes question their own knowledge to see if students understand the lessons. If a teacher is sure about what they are teaching, students will feel more confident too. But if a teacher is unsure, students can sense it. It’s okay for teachers to make mistakes sometimes, as long as they show they are experts in the subject overall. This helps students trust their teacher’s knowledge and feel more secure in their learning.
Students Who Are Disruptive
Handling disruptive students can be really challenging. These are students who often misbehave and disturb the class. One way to tackle this is by making them change their seats so they are not sitting together, which can reduce their disruptive behaviour. Also, it’s a good idea to have them sit closer to you, so you can keep an eye on them. To keep them engaged, try to change the activities frequently.
If the disruptive behaviour continues and becomes too much to handle, don’t hesitate to talk to your manager or a more experienced teacher for advice. It’s perfectly okay to ask for help when you need it.
6 General Ways to Deal with Difficult Students
Make Rules Clear
The first place to start to deal with difficult students is to make rules clear. When you’re a teacher, it’s important to tell your students exactly what you expect from them. This means being really clear about how they should behave. Tell them what good behaviour looks like and what happens if they don’t follow the rules.
It’s a good idea to get your students involved in making the rules. This means asking them for ideas about how everyone should behave in class. When they help create the rules, they tend to follow them better. At the start of the school year, get everyone to agree on these rules and even sign a paper to show they understand and agree. This makes them feel responsible for keeping the class a good place to learn.
Make sure your rules cover all the important things. For example, everyone should be kind to each other, respect their teachers, and take care of school property. Also, students should wait for instructions before doing something. These rules are important in almost all schools and help everyone get along better. Put these rules up in your classroom so everyone can see them every day.
Explain Why Rules are Important
It’s not just enough to have rules in class; it’s crucial to explain why they exist. As a teacher, it’s your responsibility to help students understand the reasons behind these rules. You don’t need to convince them just to get your way, but rather, you need to show them that rules are there for a purpose.
Rules are not random commands. They are in place to ensure everyone’s safety and to make learning more effective. By following these rules, students avoid getting into trouble and create a positive environment for everyone. Talking to your class about this helps them see that good behaviour isn’t just for the teacher’s benefit—it’s for everyone. This understanding builds strong relationships between teachers and students and makes the school experience better for everyone involved. Simply put, rules exist to keep everyone safe and to make sure everyone can learn without disruptions.
Make Sure Everyone Follows the Rules
First, tell students what you expect from them. Show them how to behave in different situations so they understand clearly. Only after explaining this, you can make sure everyone follows the rules.
Remember: Rules aren’t about what you like. Don’t say you like or don’t like what students do. This makes it seem like good behaviour is only to make you happy, which is not the point of rules.
When students don’t follow the rules, explain why it’s bad for them and others. Help them fix it. Don’t embarrass or shame them in front of others. Instead, teach them how their choices affect the class. Be patient while they learn. For students who keep breaking rules, try a plan to manage their behaviour. This plan helps track progress and shows what needs attention.
Appreciate Good Behaviour
It’s important to praise students when they behave well. This means telling them when they do a good job, just as much as telling them when they do something wrong. Praising students is really important because it motivates them. If you don’t appreciate their good behaviour, they might not try hard to do better.
You should always notice and commend students who set a good example for the rest of the class, even if they are just doing what’s expected. You should create a classroom environment where good behaviour is celebrated, and you should have a plan for how to recognize students when they meet or exceed expectations. When you do this, your students will want to be part of the “winner’s circle,” and you’ll find that you have to discipline them less because they see that hard work gets noticed and appreciated.
Stay Calm and Be Patient
It’s normal to feel frustrated or angry when students misbehave, especially when you’re stressed. But as a teacher, it’s important to stay calm and composed, especially in these situations. Your students look up to you for guidance and as a role model, even when they’re not behaving well.
If you feel your emotions rising, take a deep breath and step away from the situation, or remove the student causing the issue. It’s crucial not to let your emotions take over.
Communicate With The Family
It’s really important to talk to families about their child’s behaviour in school. Sometimes kids misbehave for reasons we don’t know about. When you share your concerns with parents, you might find out there are problems at home or other things affecting the child. Keep parents updated about how their child is doing in school. Also, focus on the good things the child does and any improvements they make.
When you talk to parents, be careful with your words. Be fair and give specific examples of what you’ve noticed. Parents might feel defensive, so approach the conversation gently. Try to agree on how to help the child together. Sometimes, the student might need special help or changes in their schoolwork, and parents can help you understand these needs. Families can be a big help in making sure the child does well in school.
Every child is different, coming from various backgrounds and carrying different burdens. Some might need more guidance and correction before they understand what’s expected of them. The best way to teach them proper behaviour is by showing it yourself. Be a good example, demonstrating the right way to behave and react, especially in challenging times.
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Cox, Janelle. “Tips for Handling Difficult Students.” ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/tips-on-handling-difficult-students-2081545.