Handling difficult children at school
April 01, 2011
Let's face it— children nowadays are too difficult to educate. No collection of students in an average school classroom is without at least a few difficult kids. While the teachers would love all their students to sit quietly, do their work efficiently, behave and interact appropriately with other children, that's not reality. In the real education environment, there are children who are difficult but they need to learn just as much as every other student, if not more.
They don’t have respect for their teachers, parents or for any other adult. The trouble with most children nowadays is that their parents are too easy with them. There is a bevy of housemaids to the work but mothers have no time nowadays to devote to their children. As a result, the children are allowed to roam about in the streets where they learn all sorts of inappropriate language and behaviour. The saddest thing is that even toddlers are put out in the streets where they are often crushed under the wheels of water tankers. Instead of blaming the mothers, the poor driver is held responsible and beaten mercilessly!
Children who stay at home instead of roaming about in the streets are subjected to all sorts of verbal abuses by the mothers for not doing as they are told. Often they are harassed and beaten. This can be very useful in some cases and in a controlled manner, but if exceeded it may cause serious mental and psychological problems in the kid.
The consequence that I find more tragic is the fact that the relation between a child and its parent(s) can be seriously damaged with this. The communication between them is every time more difficult, and obviously the child does not trust his own parents. So clearly they cannot relate between them in a normal way. This makes the child see his parents as a monster or something and feels very afraid of even talking to them.
So, is it necessary to beat children to educate them?
Spare the rod and spoil the child is an age old maxim which does not hold much ground these days. You can drag a horse to the water trough but you can’t force it to drink. The same goes for the child. You can beat the child to study but you can’t make him understand what he is studying. Educators often fail to understand this and resort to corporal punishment. Pain is often inflicted on children by parents, guardians and teachers to secure better academic performance and to enforce obedience.
Children too are holders of human rights. It is widely acknowledged now that corporal punishment is a fundamental breach of children’s rights to respect for their human dignity and physical and mental integrity. The Convention on the Rights of the Child requires States, in its article 19, to protect children from ‘all forms of physical and mental violence’ while in the care of parents and others. The fact that corporal punishment of children is legal in many countries, unlike other forms of inter-personal violence, challenges the universal right to equal protection under the law.
Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child requires States to protect children from “all forms of physical or mental violence” while in the care of parents and others. During the first decade of the Convention, its Treaty Body, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, has stated consistently that corporal punishment is incompatible with the Convention. The Committee has recommended to over 120 States in all continents that they should abolish all corporal punishment, including in the home, and develop public education campaigns to promote positive, non-violent discipline in the family, schools and other institutions.
Hitting children is also a dangerous practice, which can cause physical and psychological injury and even death. Corporal punishment is identified by research as a significant factor in the development of violent attitudes and actions, both in childhood and later life. It inhibits or prevents positive child development and positive forms of discipline. Promoting positive, non-violent forms of discipline empowers parents and reduces family stress. Yet corporal punishment in the family home is still a legal and common practice in most states of the world. In many, corporal punishment remains an accepted form of discipline in schools and other institutions, and in some it is authorized as a sentence for juvenile offenders and as a punishment in penal institutions. By implanting some effective strategies, teachers can maximize the learning potential of children as well as disciplining them without using the rod.
The first step to effectively deal with inappropriate behaviour is to show patience. This often means you'll need to take a cooling period before you say or do something you just might regret. This may involve having the child/student sitting in a time out or alone until you're ready to deal effectively with the inappropriate behaviour. There is always a purpose in why a child/student misbehaves? It's important to understand the purpose to readily support it. For instance, knowing a child is frustrated and feeling like a failure will require a change of programming to ensure that he/she is set up to experience success. Those seeking attention need to receive attention - catch them doing something good! Recognize it!
Avoid power struggle like a plague. Avoiding power struggle really comes down to exerting patience. When you show patience, you're modeling good behavior. You always want to model good behavior even when you are dealing with inappropriate student behaviors. In a power struggle, nobody wins. Even if you do feel like you've won, you haven't because the chance of reoccurrence is great.
For students or children who regularly misbehave, it can be very difficult to find something positive to say. Work at this, the more they receive attention for the positive things, the less apt they are to look for attention in a negative way. Go out of your way to find something positive to say to your chronic misbehaving students. Remember, these children often lack belief in their own ability. You need to help them see that they are capable. When students or children don't feel that they belong, the result is usually the display of unacceptable behavior. Make sure the student has a strong sense of belonging. Praise the child's efforts to get along or work with others. Praise attempts to follow rules and adhere to routines.
Strive to create a positive tone. Research shows that the most important factor in student behaviour and performance is the teacher/student relationship. Students want teachers who respect them, care about them, listen to them, don't yell or shout, have a sense of humor, are in good moods, and let students give their opinions and their side/opinion.
Good communication and respect between teacher and students works. A friendly caring voice will go a long way in winning all students over and set a positive tone for everyone.