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Classroom Behavior Management

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Darcey Bodziony Darcey Bodziony 945 Points

Hello everyone! I have a sort of general question that I am hoping to get some help on. I am in my first Phase of student teaching and I am looking for some help on some challenging students. I am specifically talking about the ones who not matter what the task, will abuse the science materials and not use them in the proper way. These few students like to test me, as well as my mentor teacher, in most directions and instructions that we give. Has anyone else experienced this before? Any suggestions on how to eliminate the behavior/distraction and get them focused back on the science??

Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10275 Points

Hi Darcey-- What age or grade level are you referring to? You could have a potential safety issue here, if students are not using the materials appropriately or if they are engaged in disruptive behavior. What kind of safety agreement did your mentor teacher use to emphasize appropriate lab practices? Mary B.

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

I don't know if a safety lesson was already taught but it's never a problem to go back and reteach lab safety rules. Students can also sign a Lab Safety contract. I would have a place for their parents to sign as well so that when and if you need to call a parent about safety issues, they can recall the safety contract they signed. It's happened very rarely that a student misused science equipment intentionally. When it did happen, we stopped the lab, asked students what was wrong with this picture? (No safety goggles, not measuring liquids with the proper equipment, etc.) I repeated that it is all about keeping them safe and if students can't follow the safety guidelines, they will not be able to participate, only observe, and may not know the correct sequence of events or the outcome of the experiment on the test. Therefore, it will affect their grade.

Gabe Kraljevic Gabe Kraljevic 4564 Points

Hello Darcey, First off, let me put your mind at ease. EVERYONE has encountered these students! I wish I could give you a single, good answer but each case of this kind of behaviour is based on many things which you and your mentor teacher probably have a better handle on than me. One strategy is that you might want to ask other teachers how they have handled these students. Maybe even check with the counselors. Having said this - I do have a general approach to dealing with student behaviour: I usually employ a "3 strike rule". The first time (Strike One) I will take them aside and reason with them in a calm manner but tell them directly what they are doing wrong and how it needs to stop. The second time, I will pull them out of the class individually to have a more stern chat with them. This time I will tell them that I have already tried reasoning with them and they didn't really understand. I would even say, "Strike Two" and ask them if they know baseball. At this point in time I would usually outline what will happen on Strike Three. First off, they are definitely "Out". Here you have several options: call home, banned from the next lab, no chance to choose who they work with, paper lab for them instead of hands-on, etc; . It is very important that you follow through on "Strike Three" - no excuses from the student, no begging, they have been warned and it is now time to face the consequences. Hope this helps! Gabe Kraljevic

Kelsey Ettleman Kelsey Ettleman 3729 Points

Darcey- I am a currently a senior in college and studying to be a special education teacher. In my current class for special education, I am learning a lot about behavior management. A lot of times when students are doing an undesired behavior, they are trying to communicate something to you. One of my favorite approaches for working with students like this is the constructivist approach. By doing some research on this approach you can learn many short and long-term interventions that could work great with your students! These interventions could help create a positive science experience for your students and decrease their desire to abuse the materials.

Alex Fox Alex Fox 4042 Points

As someone who works with teens with behavioral issues, I think the biggest key is getting to know them as a person. Asking them questions not even related to school. If you show them that you care about them as a person, they'll see this and be more responsive to you. If this doesn't work, maybe talk to the parents and see if the child is going through something at home or if they know any strategies to use to deal with the misbehavior. Hope this helps a bit!

Aleeya Cheney Aleeya Cheney 610 Points


Deliberate misbehavior is always about something else in the student than the lab or lesson you are doing. Building a positive relationship with that student (no matter how hard) will always be worth it in the end. Show them you care about them and you want to know what is wrong or ask questions about their home life. If you are teaching elementary students, maybe invite them to lunch to have a chat with you and get to know them a little better. We never know what is happening at home if they don't tell us so that is my first go-to when a student is obviously trying to get attention by misbehaving.

Darcey Bodziony Darcey Bodziony 945 Points

Thank you all so much for your input! I am not sure if there was a safety lesson taught or not, that will be something I will have to ask my mentor teacher. In terms of them being unsafe, I may have mislead you by the way of my wording to make you think that they were using them in such an unsafe way that they would be putting other in harms way, but just were simply not using them for the investigations purpose when certain tools are used for multiple reasons. I will be sure to take all of this into consideration and use the method of reviewing safety rules and agreements through the school year when students are choosing to misuse equipment. Thanks again!

Brady Vincent Brady Vincent 30 Points

Behavior management is necessary for the modern world. The management class will overcome domestic abuse which is a common problem of modern society now these days. Attend the management behavior classroom from the given source and it will change your life behavior towards the people. This class will change your lifestyle in a positive way.

Melissa Ruiz Melissa Ruiz 210 Points

Hello every one I am preparingto be a future teacher and will start my student teaching soon. I currently am a teacher aide in elementary and struggle with classroom behavior management. Any advice on how to manage my classroom behavior. 


Kate Pedraza Kate Pedraza 470 Points

Hello, I am an inclusion aide at an elementary school and I have had students with behavioral problems. Something that greatly and usually helps is having cool down times for five minutes and during those five minutes they get to express their feelings or get fidget toys to help them calm down. Something else that helps is preventing that behavior by having arranged seating or seperate students that cannot be next to each other.  

Haley Jacobsen Haley Jacobsen 820 Points

Hello all! 

   I am a student at Wartburg College. The first and most important thing I can emphasize here is that behavior is almost always a form of communication. This could be the communication of boredom, frustration, the need for attention, and many other things. In a situation such as this, I would review the rules and procedures engagingly. Then I would introduce a behavior contract of sorts with older children, and with younger children, I would explicitly state for their own safety that if the rules cannot be followed, they will not have access to the materials. For most labs, there are virtual ones that may not be as in-depth but would work in situations where using lab materials is not an option. I would also record and watch myself teaching or have an outside person observe, am I engaging and being consistent with my rules, procedures, and expectations? What happens before and after each of the behaviors? This would allow me to see if patterns are occurring and if things need to be changed. I may also give the students acting out preferential seating at the front of the room. Proximity is a wonderful tool. Ultimately, there will always be students who test your patience, knowingly or unknowingly. You doing your best is enough. 

Cassondra Runko Cassondra Runko 400 Points

Hi everyone!

I am currently a pre-service teacher still learning the ins and outs of classroom management. If there is one thing I have learned this year, it is that there will always be students who need reminders about safety in the classroom. Personally, I do not think it could hurt to give quick reminders at the beginning of each lab to use equipment properly, wear protective eye-wear at all times, and to only mix materials as indicated by the instructions. I have learned in a classroom management class that loss of privilege (maybe the lab itself) is one way to work on behavior with students. It is also important though, to use behavior specific praise whenever students are following rules and doing what they are supposed to be doing. This could mean that when students are sent to sit with their lab groups and prepare for the lab, you point out the students that are doing just that (for example, 'great job on gathering your materials and waiting for the next set of instructions John Doe'). Hope this information helps! 


Preston Barnett Preston Barnett 40 Points

I'm so much glad to meet up with you here. I'm a newbie here. I just signed up a few minutes ago. Thanks for having a chat with you here. Carry on!

Olivia Rizzo Olivia Rizzo 730 Points

I have considered all of the suggestions regadring this behaivor and appreciate the ideas. What tips do you have for preventing this behaivor as much as possible? 

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