School Behavior

How to Solve 8 Common Behavior Problems in the Classroom

Incessant pen clicking. Lashing out when things go wrong. Lying. And other classroom behavior problems common among students with ADHD — solved.

ADHD boy has bad classroom behavior and doodles in his notebook instead of taking notes at school
ADHD boy has bad classroom behavior and doodles in his notebook instead of taking notes at school

When we talk to educators, we tend to hear the same questions over and over again regarding managing classroom behavior for students with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD).

How Can I Address Irritating Classroom Behaviors?

> Provide fidget toys for ADHD.
> Discuss behavior in private.
> Allow the student to daydream for 5-10 minutes after completing an assignment.

How Can I Help a Student Who Avoids School Work?

> Involve the child in the problem-solving process: “How can we solve the problem of…”
> Identify learning problems the child might have.
> Match the difficulty of an assignment with the skill level of the student.
> Sympathize — “Maybe you can help me understand some things. I think you would like to do well in school. Yet you seem to be avoiding your schoolwork. You must have a good reason. Let’s talk.”

How Can I Deal with a Student Who Argues and Talks Back?

> Ignore minor mutterings.
> Address academic deficits — successful students are less likely to argue or talk back.
> Anticipate when a student may challenge authority (a substitute teacher is present) and change the environment (train him to help the substitute).

How Can I Deal with a Student with ADHD Who Takes Things?

> Teach him to ask to borrow an object rather than take it without permission.
> Deal with the student privately, not publicly.
> Identify the type of items being taken and give the student an opportunity to earn the object.

[Free Worksheet: “What I Wish My Teachers Knew”]

How Can I Deal with a Student Who Has Angry Outbursts?

> Isolate the student and give him time to cool off (“Let’s walk to the guidance office together”).
> If anger is common, have a crisis plan in place.
> Designate a place in advance where he can sit and let off steam.
> Work with parents to develop a plan to help the child cope with his anger.

How Can I Deal with a Student with ADHD Who Does Not Tell the Truth?

> If he stretches the truth about academic matters, the work may be too hard or too long.
> If you know he’s not telling the truth, don’t ask a question, make a statement: “You hit Robert first.” If you ask a question, the student may be tempted to make a smart comment.

How Can I Deal with a Student Who Is Late to Class

> Ignore it if the student is only one or two minutes late and if lateness occurs rarely.
> A raised eyebrow or a statement of expectations may be more effective than sending the student to the office (“This is the first time you’ve been late. I expect you to be on time from now on”).
> Review the student’s routine between classes. He may be going to his locker too often.

How Can I Deal with a Student Who Blurts Out in Class

> If the child takes ADHD medication, talk with his parents about making sure he doesn’t miss a dose (medication is helpful for blurting out).
> Give a child an alternative behavior to blurting — have her raise her hand, and be sure to call on her immediately to reinforce it.
> Give the student a special pad for writing down her comment, and discuss it later with her.

[Daily Report Card: Your Secret Weapon for Better Behavior]

Updated on September 9, 2019