Managing Classroom Behavior

A class member may have a behavior problem for many reasons. Often, behavior problems are an effort to express a need or fear, or they are an attempt to avoid something unpleasant. Behavior problems may consist of an individual becoming aggressive, threatening, listless, overactive, or withdrawn.

There are many things that a teacher can do to help a student have appropriate behavior in class and other activities. When you understand why a behavior problem occurs, you can help the individual.

There Are Many Possible Reasons for Behavior Problems

A person may exhibit a behavior problem for many reasons, including the following:

  1. The individual may be trying to avoid a situation, place, or person.
  2. He or she may be seeking attention, time alone, control, and so forth.
  3. He or she may be expressing physical needs such as hunger, thirst, or fatigue.
  4. The individual may be indicating medical problems such as illness, pain, or the effects of medication.
  5. The individual may be expressing emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, confusion, happiness, or frustration.

Ways to Help

After consulting with priesthood leaders and family members and caregivers:

  • Establish a few simple rules.
  • Create a positive classroom atmosphere where every member feels safe and loved.
  • Establish a plan with parents and leader approval to respond to inappropriate behavior.
  • Look for opportunities to offer specific praise for positive behaviors.
  • Avoid responding with anger, threats, punishment, or criticism.
  • Be aware and avoid (where possible) difficult situations where the behavior may occur.
  • Learn about any disabilities or circumstances that may contribute to a behavior.
  • Provide an assistant to provide support as needed.
  • Avoid power struggles.
  • Help the individual learn to express his or her needs in an appropriate way.
  • Always remember that the person is a beloved child of Heavenly Father.

On occasion there may be a behavior that puts the person or others at risk. In these situations, counsel with family members, caregivers, and leaders to establish an environment where everyone, including the person with a disability, can feel emotionally and physically safe. Get help immediately if there is potential for an individual to harm himself or herself or others.