Billy (could be boy or girl) starts making bizarre noises. You swing by and your least intrusive teaching strategies to deal with classroom power struggles - the rule reminder.
And then it starts!
You remind Billy about the rules. The rule is simple. Don't make noises that disrupt others. This is one of the behaviour management strategies you employ and it normally works.
As you move on and restart teaching, Billy mumbles something about your being something not nice (maybe worse). Worse still, Billy continues calling out, with the aim of annoying others.
Students nearby are starting to focus on Billy. Or rather they want to watch what YOU are going to do about Billy.
Now is the turning point. You are going to need to employ all your effective behaviour management strategies to stop this situation from exploding up in your face.
You could flare up, get into Billy's face and start huffing and puffing. "What did you call me you little pip squeak?" (I'm not sure kids understand what a pip squeak is anymore, but you get the image.
If you really want to flare up, you could even shout it so they whole class can hear.
This behaviour management strategy starts the classroom power struggles.
You can't look weak. But neither can Billy.
Equally as important, you can't let non compliance stand.
However, also not wanting to look weak the Billy won't back down in front of peers.
The only way to resolve this type of behaviour management power struggle is to have a winner and a loser. This has now become a battle with two distinct sides. NOT GOOD.
Neither side wants to conceded. Often, as a way of resolving the issue, the student is sent to the office. Although it never is a satisfactory resolution.
The winner is simply the one who looks less bad. Behaviour management based on power struggles to deal with disruptive students seldom work.
You just need an agreed position. Even if it is a tacit agreement. Even if it is a begrudging agreement by the student. Your challenge is to stop this battle and resume teaching.
Like behaviour management strategies are those that stop the behaviour so you can return to teaching.
Stop the battle from escalating by NOT dealing with side issues and secondary behaviours. Never get drawn into dealing with student posturing. These are the behaviours that stop you from returning to teaching.
It is more important to let the class know your primary goal is to value add to their day by teaching.
Start your relief teaching day by letting kids know your goals.
After class, talk to offending students about the behaviour but don't start a battle.
"You behaviour tells me that I am not doing a very good job getting you interested. I can't let you disrupt the class. I am going to work harder, and you can help by letting me know what you are willing to do differently. "
Would you like more strategies that improve behaviour management in your classroom?
This course is fantastic- I've picked up some great strategies that I can't wait to try- and I've been teaching for 15 years! The videos of Bob Brandis and what he talks about are sensible, clear and easy to put into practise. (Melanie)
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