How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Responding to Bad Behavior
Bad behavior is not a good thing at all in a classroom and you cannot ignore it -- otherwise it will get worse. A problem is that it is easy for your response to be ineffective or even make the situation worse.
There are many ways of responding to bad behavior. Here are just a few.
Bad behavior, not bad person
Adopt an attitude that behavior can be bad and unacceptable, but this does not mean the person is bad. A bad person is unredeemable and cannot be changed. A basically good person can be separated from bad behavior, especially if you act as if this is what they really want.
Act, but do not react
Reacting means acting instinctively, without thought. Unfortunately, our instincts were largely sharpened in the relatively recent ecological past of the primate jungle, where aggression is an appropriate response. A natural response to bad behavior is anger, but unfortunately this only creates more problems, if not today then certainly in the future.
Acting means thinking first, and then acting in a way that will achieve a good result for the student, for you and for the school. This may not mean an immediate response, and giving a little time to cool down (and let them cool down) can be very productive. An effective approach is to hold back disruptive students at the end of the lesson.
Analyze, then respond
Seek first to understand the real reason why they are naughty, then design your actions to address the deeper motivations. Done well, this can be very effective.
Be consistent and fair
When you are responding to bad behavior, always be clearly fair. Treat each incident separately and be equal-handed with all. If you make rules then you must always follow them up. If you use a punishment with one child, you must be prepared to use it with others.
However, do remember that different responses work differently with different students. Customise what you do to have the appropriate effect. And always keep your cool, of course.
When they are not paying attention you can:
Some students often prefer to chat with their friends rather than join in the lesson. It is generally a bad idea to try and talk over side conversations.
When their jibes are directed at you, then you can defuse their comments in many ways.
When students threaten one another or otherwise cause fear or anger within the classroom,
Sometimes fights break out in the classroom. These can be of two very different sorts. One is due to bullying (and can be initiated by the victim 'snapping'), the other is pecking-order disputes. Neither is acceptable, of course, and must be dealt with carefully.