Dealing with intimidating students
He set up behavior contracts, offered rewards in exchange for good behavior, and had consequences designed just for them.But these individualized methods only make matters worse—because they misbehavior. They wipe out intrinsic motivation and label students as “difficult,” which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.A reader emailed SCM last week wondering how to handle six students who were wreaking havoc in his classroom. They played off one another and held little regard for his expectations. They would talk back and then goof off when sent to time-out. You see, one of the most common mistakes teachers make is trying to handle difficult students as distinct entities, separate from the class as a whole. They called out during lessons and made inappropriate comments.Intimidation and the student’s subsequent hurt and resentment interfere with this healthy process.Intimidation is not only ineffective, but it’s the surest path to parent complaints.The use of intimidation doesn’t allow students to reflect on their misbehavior because they’re too busy boiling with anger at their teacher.Effective accountability is a private affair between the misbehaving student and him or herself.
You may also want to pick up one of our books or sign up for personal coaching. -Michael If you haven’t done so already, please join us. Click here and begin receiving new-article updates in your email box every week.
The good news is that you never have to feel this way.
With a bit of reading and some practice, calm and effective classroom management isn’t difficult to learn.
few teachers would admit to using intimidation as a classroom management method, even to themselves. But regardless of who, why, or how often, any amount of intimidation is too much. Here’s why: Whenever fear enters the equation, to any degree, it’s hurtful to students. You can argue that they deserve your fire-breathing lectures. It doesn’t change the fact that when you use intimidation, the goal is to scare students into behaving. They fall into them because they don’t know a better way.
Perhaps only in weak moments or in short bursts of frustration. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s only reserved for certain students.
Using intimidation is remarkably stressful—filling you with apprehension, weighing you down with often-unrecognized guilt, and causing you to be in a state of perpetual conflict with your students.