Challenging behaviour is any behaviour that:

  • Interferes with a child’s cognitive, social and emotional development.
  • Is harmful to a child, his peers or adults.
  • Puts a child at high risk for later social problems or school failure (Chandler and Dalquist, 1997).

Six Tips for managing challenging behaviours in the classroom:

  1. School educationKnow the student’s strengths and build on them as this offers opportunities for success
  2. Encourage the teacher to be aware of his/her ‘buttons’; do not let students push them. Remember that should you get angry or raise your voice, you are modelling the very behaviour you are trying to eliminate
  3. Tell students what they are expected to do, not what not to do. For example say “please walk” rather than “don’t run”
  4. Give opportunities to choose but also be aware of how many choices they can handle
  5. Be patient; look for small changes, these will tell you if you are on the right track so that you do not get discouraged
  6. Share the children’s successes with parents/ guardians

Even when the teacher uses preventative methods consistently, challenging behaviours do not disappear completely. The basis of all guidance is a caring and compassionate relationship. When the student knows that you care, that student will respond more positively to your teaching.

Written by Norma Nicholson
Author, speaker, educator, children and youth expert


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