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How to Manage Unruly Students

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It can be difficult to manage unruly students.  It’s amazing how just a few troublesome students can make an entire class chaotic.  There are different strategies and techniques that you can use in order to get unruly students to act better.  The following are tips for managing unruly students.

Have clear, consistent consequences to behaviors

Oftentimes, kids will do what they think they can get away with.  In other words, if you let them get away with the unruly behavior then they will just continue to do it.  You should have clear, unavoidable consequences, which mean something.  If the consequence is just that you shout at them, then they might not care about that.  If the consequence is that you call their parent, however, that might be a different story.  Pick consequences that matter to them.  You might want to have a series of consequences for first time offences, second time offences and so forth.  You will also want to base the consequences on the severity of their actions. 

It is important to be consistent with the consequences.  If you have the consequences listed everywhere but do not enforce them, then they are useless.  You will want that student to know that if they do that behavior, this will follow.  Hopefully, they will not want that consequence and will behave as a result.

Try rewards

Oftentimes, positive reinforcement can actually be the best strategy.  Instead of focusing on what they do wrong, focus on what they do right by giving rewards for different behaviors.  It doesn’t have to be big things. For younger children, even a star chart with stickers would be sufficient.  Also, you can do a prize after a number of cumulative good actions or days of good behavior.  You can give free homework passes, candy or whatever else you think will be nice for the student.

Give the students tasks to do

Sometimes a good strategy is to use the student’s extra energy for good.  Try to put them on your team.  You can assign them jobs helping you.  They might start to think of you in a better light and start to behave because of that.  It can create a more positive relationship between the two of you.

Talk to the student

Sometimes the best thing to do is to sit down and talk to the student.  Talk about the problems you are having and discuss whether you can work together to make it a better experience from both of you.  You want to appear strong, but also make him or her understand that you are trying to help them. 

More about this author: Suzanne Rose

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