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Child Behavior in the Classroom

by Angeliki Coconi, studioD

All teachers are faced with a large number of challenges within the classroom but are ultimately rewarded in a variety of ways. Teaching is a bit of a roller coaster ride, but the high points provide reason enough to stick with it. The difficulty comes with finding the best way to deal with the inevitable problems. In every classroom, problematic behavior is bound to occur.

The Problem With Reputation

According to Science Daily, one of the fundamental problems linked to a child’s behavior is rooted in reputation. Depending on the child’s classroom behavior, he is likely to develop a certain reputation among the teachers and other children. This makes it harder for the child to start behaving well. A study carried out by Professor Maggie MacLure and Professor Liz Jones of Manchester University showed that a bad reputation will often lead to teachers reading the child’s daily behavior as a “problem” – behavior that might otherwise be looked past when displayed by other children.

Behavioral Influences

According to the New York University School of Medicine, there are certain factors that separate a child’s behavior determined by the immediate situation with behavior determined by influences that lie beyond the immediate. For this reason, a “poor” reputation developing around certain kids and not others is almost inevitable. These factors will likely include problems at school, on the journey to school, with friends outside of school and so on. Included in this list should also be the specific and individual vulnerabilities of the child. For this reason, some children are bound to handle situations differently from others. This is when the labeling of “naughty” child and “good” child takes place.

Understanding the Problem

In an article published by PBS Teachers, written by Amy McCart and Anna Turnbull, it is suggested that before trying to prevent or provide a solution to any negative behavior, the teacher should attempt to understand it. Understanding the cause of a certain behavioral problem is the first step toward solving it. Problematic students are most likely simply communicating a need. This could be the need to escape a situation they don’t feel comfortable in, or the need to obtain something.

Promoting Desired Behavior

Often, according to PBS, the need that the child is trying communicate is the attention of the teacher. To promote good behavior among all students, it is important that you provide attention to generally desired behavior and not bad behavior. If a student who finds it difficult to sit still manages to sit in his chair for a whole hour, make it clear that he’s made you proud. Give him a sticker or a piece of candy. Reward is a powerful force and, when implemented correctly, it works to gear children toward what is expected of them in the classroom.

About the Author

Angeliki Coconi started writing in 1999 with the theater comedy "Loop," produced in Athens. In 2001 she wrote and produced another comedy, "Modern Cinderella." In 2006 she was awarded a Master of Science in literature from the University of Edinburgh. In 2009 Coconi obtained the Postgraduate Certificate in Screenwriting from Napier University of Edinburgh.

Photo Credits

  • Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images