How to Manage Students who Display Task Refusal

Behaviour ManagementBob, can you help me with this behaviour management situation, please? The class came in with a project to continue working on so I had no lesson to give. This girl decided she wasn't going to do any work.

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I was also thinking that as a teacher you need to think about the function of the behaviour. I would say from the scenario it may be either the student trying to avoid the work, possibly because she doesn’t understand the task or doesn’t feel capable of completing it. In this case peer tutoring would certainly be the solution I would look for. But I would also be thinking that the other behavioural possibility is power, in which case it needs to be dealt with differently. Minimal attention would be best. Lastly, while I agree that the direct supervision is certainly the responsibility of the teacher in charge the overarching theme is that student management is everybody’s business. As a classroom teacher I want to know if there have been any issues with my class in the absence of myself. Then I can address expectations for the next time there is a relief teacher on the class.


    You are perfectly correct Carolyn. Misbehaviour is CAUSE and EFFECT. We all too often deal with the symptoms without treating the disease. Relief teachers often don’t have that luxury however.

    Misbehaviour caused by power is common. Power should not be confused with authority. In this case teacher authority should kick in so a student will have power only if the teacher hands it over. In this case the power is in the interaction. The teacher needs to use authority to manage the interaction.

    I understand the need to leave feedback as long as the relief teacher accepts responsibility and is not asking the class teacher for an “easy out”. If the relief teacher defers to the classroom teacher for the discipline of the class, the kids will believe the relief teacher needs support. That is not a good situation.

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