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 doodles in his notebook instead of taking notes at school
ADHD boy doodles in his notebook instead of taking notes at school

IRRITATING BEHAVIORS (wears a hat in class, fidgety, inattentive)
> Provide fidget toys.
> Discuss behavior in private.
> Allow the student to daydream for 5-10 minutes after completing an assignment.

AVOIDING SCHOOL WORK (not completing or turning in assignments)
> 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.”

ARGUING/TALKING 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).

TAKING 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.

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.


My Child’s IEP Isn’t Working — Help!


 

NOT TELLING 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.

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.

BLURTING OUT IN CLASS
> If the child takes 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.

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