How Do You Teach Students With Behavioral Problems?

‘Behaviour is the mirror in which everyone shows their image’- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Behaviours say a lot about the persona of a being. It is something which lasts long, very long. Merely by observing someone’s behaviour. You can predict, How benign and responsible that person is going to be. In this article we shall see How Do You Teach Students With Behavioral Problems?

Usually, the school classrooms are not homogenous. One may have a desire to be the next Einstein while the other one might be looking up to Picasso as their role model. One might have great admiration for philanthropists but the other might be looking down on them. When we come across such cases. It is just then that we understand that each student is unique in the way they think, see or approach a problem.

In the same way, each one of them might be going through different issues at a time. One might have been facing health issues while the other one might be going through hard times at home.

Cumulatively, these circumstances become the reasons for different behaviours of students.

It is not very surprising that you have one or more such students in the class, whose behaviour is not supportive of the overall classroom.

But before we start, let’s know the exact meaning of a teacher.

How Do You Teach Students With Behavioral Problems?

Who is a teacher?

If you ask this question to someone they would usually say, a teacher is someone who teaches students

But is this it? No, a teacher has a deeper meaning than this. 

Teachers and instructors have their meanings associated with the meaning of the word pedagogue, pedagogue is ped+agogue. Ped means children and agogue means to lead into learning, maturity and growth. So the absolute meaning of a teacher comes out as one who leads children into a better future. 

The word ‘pedagogue’ has degraded in its meaning, that’s why we use teachers nowadays

This is probably the only reason why a teacher is so important in a child’s growth.

The place where these two, the teacher, and the students are going to spend most of the time is a classroom.

The misbehaviour of a student in a classroom has a special term for‘ classroom incivilities’.

Few classroom incivilities are:

  • Lateness or leaving early.
  • Inappropriate device usage in the classroom.
  • Chitchatting.
  • Disregard deadlines.
  • Uncleanliness.
  • Distracting other students in class.
  • Lowering the instructor’s or other students’ motivation.
  • Using learning time unproductively.

These scenarios can arise because of a lack of discipline, lack of interest in the school curriculum, or because a student is going through some personal problems.

Classroom incivilities are not just teachers’ pet peeves rather they can cost in real to other students as well.

Ways through which a teacher can help students with behavioural disorders.

Prevention is better than cure- We all must have heard this famous line.

The same goes here as well. It is better to prevent misbehaves than to find a way to deal with them.

Few simple steps that a teacher can take to prevent behavioural disorders.

  • Keep the guards on- During the occasions when you feel the misbehaves are likely to happen, increase your supervision so that you can prevent them from occurring.
  • One bite at a time- In most cases, stress is the root cause of behavioural disorders. Help students in making things manageable by fragmenting the tasks into doable and smaller chunks, which are easy to accomplish.
  • Pick one- At times be a bit flexible in letting them choose the assignment they feel more comfortable with, the lab they are more interested in.
  • How may I help you!- Many times misbehaves happen only because a student could not find anybody, with whom he could share his feelings, and with whom he could reach for help. Make them feel that you are always for them. It will help them in keeping their calm in tough times.

But no matter how well a teacher tries, chances are likely that some behavioural disorders would arise.

Measures that a teacher can use to help students with behavioural problems.

  1. Nothing can match a positive environment- Provide a positive environment to every student so that they all can feel comfortable and at ease in school as well.
  2. Show me the root of it- Whenever you catch your students in any such inappropriate behaviour, talk to them and try to find out the root cause of that behaviour.
  3. Out of the blue- Whenever a student misbehaves, they do so with the expectation that they will be noticed. You can opt out not to behave according to their expectation, obviating a few incidents is also a good option.
  4. Well done!- Whenever a student behaves nicely, give them a pat on the back. This will help them think that to get the teacher’s attention, one needs to behave nicely.
  5. Practice makes perfect- Noting down the assignments, lining up for lunch breaks, and other things that happen daily at school, don’t come naturally to a child. Make sure you keep reminding them again and again, the best would be to keep a routine glued to somewhere in the class.
  6. Are you aware of the consequences?- Show them the consequences that their behaviour would result in. Make them realise that this is the right time to improve their behaviour.
  7. Don’t judge a book by its cover- Don’t judge students based on their past records. Rather try to provide sufficient opportunities for such students to meet academic requirements.
  8. All are equal in a class- Students performance should be evaluated without being biased to them.
  9.  Encourage active learning- Sorcinelli noticed that when active learning is encouraged in classes, students
  • Feel more responsible for coming to class, and come prepared.
  • Feel more responsibility for their learning.
  • Pay attention to the class.
  1. Actions speak louder than words- MK Gandhi had said ‘First be the change that you are seeking. A teacher’s actions should never contradict with the ideals and behaviours that they wish to inculcate in a student.


Every choice demands a fair price. Teaching students with behavioural problems also asks for a price as it is also a choice, a conscious choice.

While drawing the lines between wrongdoing and right doing and teaching students with behavioural disorders, we should keep in mind that we are not using negative motivators(fear, guilt, embarrassment, etc).

Research papers support that the teachers, who use positive motivators(encouragement, praise, support, etc) get more desirable results than the teachers who are more inclined toward negative motivators.