This time we switch our attention to one of the trickiest parts of the job for any teacher; dealing with challenging and difficult pupils. While students’ behaviours can cause problems, by adopting certain strategies and leaning on their classroom experience, teachers can diffuse situations, enabling this to become one of the most rewarding aspects of the job. So how can teachers best approach these scenarios so that they don’t impact on other students and the delivery of the curriculum? We look at some of the strategies that teachers can implement…
Teachers will know their students well and will likely have built a certain degree of trust with them during years of educating them. They will have a good idea of who the disruptors are and will almost expect certain individuals to play up at times. While it is important to reinforce the rules and clamp down on any form of unacceptable behaviour, addressing those responsible in a positive way by recognising when they have followed instructions is one of the best strategies to achieve desired outcomes. A simple ‘thank you’ is a very powerful way of appreciating that positive change in behaviour.
There are reasons behind why students behave in the way that they do, which often stems from difficult family situations and backgrounds as well as the people they frequent. This is why it is absolutely crucial that teachers create a positive environment and inject that self-belief to make them feel special – and above all that they can achieve whatever they set their minds to. Teachers must always seek to praise and encourage while also pushing their students to attain even higher standards. The effort they put in and the skills they used to achieve success should be highlighted.
Personalise learning and focus on team dynamics
It is also important for teachers to vary their lesson plans and cater for different individuals, especially in terms of how individuals prefer to learn. While some won’t have difficulty listening and absorbing information, others may struggle to concentrate, which is why it is imperative to mix things up. For example, visual aids, images and art can be very effective in helping learners to assimilate information, while using different forms of multimedia content will boost student engagement. Examining the lyrics of songs is another great way to teach the English language.
Working in group settings towards common goals is another key strategy to be deployed. Not only does collaborative learning foster and enhance a sense of team achievement, it also ensures that students aren’t left to their own devices, which can increase the potential to disrupt. Team exercises and tasks will help build those all-important soft skills, such as communication, which will be so important when they come to enter the world of work. And being part of a group will help them experience and learn from diversity, with different perspectives and ways of thinking.
There is a time for teachers to be serious and let students know in no uncertain that bad behaviour cannot be tolerated, as well as ensure that they create a safe emotional and physical environment. Teachers must never lose their temper. But staying positive and making sure that learning is fun should always be the priority and that enthusiasm and passion for their wellbeing and development is infectious and will be picked up on by students. Even when the subject matter might not be the most riveting, there are always ways to liven things up and keep everyone motivated!
Dealing with difficult students can be tricky but also extremely rewarding. Looking for and bringing out the best in students can make all the difference.
Here is a recap of our SEVEN top tips to cope with challenging pupils:
- Set out the rules – keep them short and get the class involved in creating them
- Reward good behaviour – thank them for their cooperation and for paying attention
- Establish a positive environment – praise, encourage and challenge them to exceed goals
- Personalise learning – use a variety of different multimedia aids to inform and engage
- Use collaborative learning – team working helps build key soft skills such as communication
- Keep calm – listen to student concerns, address the situation but never lose your temper
- Have fun! Always smile and never forget that you’re inspiring the next generation
Are you looking for your next permanent or supply teaching assignment? Register with us