Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dealing with misbehavior in the YL classroom

As a YL teacher  I should confess that students unexpected behavior is one of the things which thrills me the most every time I have to meet my classroom . After some time teaching , I have realized that regardless of the variety of materials or  how well-trained the teachers are, conflicts are always likely to occur. Our job as educators lies on the responsibility of understanding how to turn these situations into effective learning experiences.
My considerations here must be seen as the result of endless hours blaming my students’ disruptive behavior on my teaching practice. These ideas are also the output of exhaustive attempts to come up with ways to cross the bridge between children`s acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Understanding Children`s behavior

After complaining, reporting students’ misbehavior back to their parents and providing them with time-out, I decided to go for extra-miles.  This way my first attempt to understand the causes of the attitudes I called misbehavior.
-Developmental Factors
Try to be aware of Developmental Theory in order to know what type of behavior you should expect from the children at certain age.

-Environmental Factors
Physical environment should tell children clearly how to act in that space. Materials should be adequate and the chairs arrangement should provide them with enough room to work or play.
-Individual Factors
Knowing students from a closer perspective will help you to avoid premature judgment. Labeling childrem because of their attitude can be unfair if you are not able to see them as  individuals.
-Cultural Factors
Children bring their individuality to class but most of their attitudes are based on the context they are being raised.

Guiding Students towards self-discipline

As teachers we should consider that children are not always able to digest spoken instructions or lectures or how they are expected to behave in a peculiar situation. That is why adults should hold hands with them so as to lead in ways to develop their abilities to control themselves and respond in appropriate ways.
10 steps on the self-discipline path
-          1-Control YOUR feeling towards misbehavior-Children can be frightened by strong emotions. Learn how to respond in critical situations before judging one child`s intense attitude. Proceed calmly and objectively when facing denial or tantrums.
-          2-Be consistent. Create contracts and sustain them. If you want to develop mutual trust , rules must be clear and fair to everyone in class.
-          3-Work with realistic expectations- Before planning your lesson and assigning a task , think about your students abilities and skills. Some children might not be able to accomplish the entire task at once.
-          4-Be an active observer- Look and see. Get to know your students so as to predict how they might react in certain situations.
-          5-Define roles in class-Help students to understand who is in control- always in a warm and caring way. Give them clear obligations. Have some of them as monitors. We all love feeling important.
-          6-Set limits- Make children aware of what kind of behavior will or will not be acceptable.
-          7-Use time-outs constructively- When removing children from the play area, give them some time to cool off . Help your children learn how to rethink their attitudes.
-          8-Work with agreement- Give students the chance of agreeing on a solution. And reinforce that your decision was based on their choice.
-          9-Create routines- Repeat commands and define clearly the beginning and the end of one activity. Children will then understand that they need a specific attitude to enter and leave the classroom and will be able to identify the changing of stages in a lesson.
-          10 -Interact and exchange- Talk to students before or after the lesson. Get to know what is going on outside of the school. Most of the times, a chaotic behavior is a claim.

Teaching children is not easy and nobody has ever told me it would be. But spending time with them makes me feel alive and active in the society. I have learned great lessons on caring, respecting and loving.
Seeing a smile on their faces when their work is praised or being hugged by  them before class starts is completely priceless.


Alberto Costa said...

Hi Leandra,

It seems like you've been reading my mind. I was looking for a post like this to back me up last week when I was dealing with a number of YLs groups and their teachers. I think you have put together a comprehensive, straight to the point list of good actions to take when dealing with children. Please let me share this with other teachers. This post will come in handy in the next couple of weeks! Congrats. Bjs

Anonymous said...

Hey Leandra!

I will definitely be pointing teachers I train to your blog and using your list above in any training relating to this age group! Thanks so much for continuing to inspire me in so MANY ways!


Maria de Fátima said...

Hi, Leandra!

I've taught young learners for many years with passion.Having retired since 2009,I think.I still like reading about the topic and I loved the way you presented it. I'd only add one more good action : _ Keep them busy.
Congratulations for the nice blog.
Maria de Fátima E.S. Godinho

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Jossely said...

Thank you for sharing your experience! Congrats on your blog! It's awesome! =*

Jossely Oliveira

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