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According to Ackerman (2007), the reason students misbehave and do not comply to rules and “is to test their limits” (p. 21). Students like to see what they can get away with and if their misbehaviors will be challenged. So, it’s imperative that educators have a good understanding of the goals correlated to students’ disruptive behaviors. Dreikurs described the four behaviors as: attention, power, revenge and avoidance.
Seeking attention from teacher or peers is common among students. Especially for those students who like to be the center of attention and thrive off of getting others around them off task. One way to deal to intervene with those students who seek attention is to use close proximity control (Jones & Jones, 2016). I personally use this method quite often because the closer I am to the student the less disruptive he becomes.
Another reason why students misbehave is when they are seeking power. “Students who are seeking power want to control the classroom or situation” (Ackerman, 2007, p. 22). One of the effective strategies that has worked for me over the years is to provide the students with the power of choice. They are given the choice to comply with directive that was given or the consequence that proceeds for being noncompliant. Jones and Jones (2016) explains that when dealing with a student who engages in power struggles, it’s best to make the student feel that they are respected and not under attack. A situation will defuse quicker when a student feels like they have “some control while still achieving the teacher’s desired result” (Ackerman, 2007, p. 23). I do not believe in engaging in power struggles with children because it is ineffective and it causes the situation to escalate to another level that could have been avoided.
My experience with revenge is when a student wants to get back at another student for saying something that they did not like. As a result of trying to get revenge the student will become disruptive and noncompliant. Building positive and trusting relationship with students can deter them from engaging in revengeful behaviors. Being intentional about their well-being, interest, and family dynamics can be very useful to educators who deal with challenging behaviors. This past summer I hung out with one of the students that I serve. I took him to an amusement park, which he had never been and he had a great time. It brought me so much joy to see a smile on his face, which I rarely see at school. By being intentional and getting to know him outside of school, it built a trusting relationship between us. He is more apt to listen to me and trust that I am on his side.
Avoidance is a behavior that I encounter all too often. Students who struggle academically will deflect attention from their work and display some off-task behaviors. To intervene in this area Jones and Jones (2016) suggest having materials prepared for the students ahead of time and to provide them work that is on their academic level. The teacher would benefit from using differentiating instruction to decrease students engaging in avoidance simply because they can’t do the work that’s expected of them. As a Special Education teacher, I collaborate with the general education teachers with providing materials to those students who are working below grade level. By doing this it eliminates some disruptive behaviors from occurring in the general education setting.
Ackerman, B. (2007). PRAISE:Effectively guiding student behavior. Colorado Springs, CO: ACSI
Jones, V., & Jones, L. (2016). Comprehensive classroom management: Creating communities of
support and solving problems. (11thed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.