Educational Psychology: How can a teacher effectively identify problematic behaviors from students?



10a v). Identify the various methodologies a teacher can implement so as to enable quick and easy identification of problematic behaviours in the Classroom

Methods Of Identifying Problem Behaviors In The Classroom

For the teacher to be able to identify problem behaviors in the classroom, he needs to be in touch with the class. This means being aware of what is happening in all parts of the classroom so that he can intervene promptly and accurately when inappropriate behavior occurs.

The teacher should possess observation skills. Observation refers to watching children. The teacher’s observation of children will reveal:

      • Facial expressions that may indicate
      • Unhappiness,
      • Anxiety,
      • Restlessness,
      • Hyperactivity,
      • Tension,
      • Self-consciousness,
      • Anger,
      • Nervous habits and
      • Daydreaming.

The teacher could observe the learners’ social activities. When children are playing in the field the teacher could use scientific gadgets like the binoculars to observe the pupils social interactions unobtrusively. The use of this method will reveal the pupils

      • Who are playing together and
      • Those who are left out by the others so that a lot of the times they sit or stand by themselves.
      • If a student is observed alone on many occasions the teacher should know that this student has a problem.

Observation of pupils’ social interaction will also reveal the pupils,

      • Who bully others,
      • Those who are bullied,
      • The fearful ones,
      • The quarrelsome ones and
      • Those who are defiant.

The teacher could also use sociometric questions to discover the pupils who have problems. For example ask pupils in the class to nominate other pupils from the same class with whom one would like to share a cubicle, to be deskmates, to go for walks with and so on.

This method will reveal those children who are isolated or rejected by others. It is the teacher’s duty to discover why any pupil will be rejected by the classmates.

      • The teacher could also ask the class to write a story with the following themes:
      • What I dreamt last night. Normally, people dream about things that bother them.
      • Another theme could be if I had three wishes. Again as children write about this theme their stories and the teacher will know the problems they have.
      • The third theme to ask pupils to write about is; The day I was most afraid. This theme will reveal the fears that individual learners may have about school and home life.

The teacher could also use the direct approach of finding out what is bothering the pupil. The use of this method requires the teacher to ensure a private discussion in the staffroom and not public address in the classroom or on parade ground.

Why do pupils misbehave?

Pupils do not misbehave for the sake of doing so; they have their own reasons. A good teacher is the one who knows why learners are likely to show problems behavior. The following are some of the reasons:

  • Unmet needs

Every child must achieve reasonable satisfaction of his,

    • Physical,
    • Social and
    • Personality needs in order to develop in a normal and wholesome manner. When these needs are frustrated then problematic behavior arises.


  • Poverty

Children coming from poor homes may lack basic necessities like food. They will also be lacking the things required by the school. For example, when other children who have good uniforms and can afford other things like pens, books, money for trips, the child from a [poor home lacks these things. This child is also likely to be taunted by other children and called names referring to his torn clothes and inability to have things like them. As a result, the poor child will be ashamed of himself, his home and his parents.

Due to the hostility of his socio-psychological environment, this pupil has a high likelihood of showing maladjustment. Of course, this does not apply in all the cases. There are children from poor homes who are very brave and who give a deaf ear to the things that are said about them. These children use poverty as a motivator.


  • Broken homes

There are children who come from broken homes. A home may be broken by,

    • Death of a parent or
    • Divorce.
    • Separation, and
    • Desertion.

Any of these conditions make children feel very insecure. This insecurity translates itself into behavior problems.


  • Conflict-ridden homes also produce children who are:

    • Nervous,
    • Unhappy and
    • Insecure and who are likely to show behavior problems.


  • Personal inadequacies

Sometimes a pupil may feel inadequate when he is unable to carry out tasks that are expected of him.

    • The pupil who is unable to engage in physical tasks like the rest of the group or
    • One who is unable to achieve on mental tasks like the other children experience frustration.
    • This pupil tends to feel inferior and unhappy. In order to live with this problem, inappropriate behavior arises.

There are pupils who set for themselves goals that they cannot attain, For example, a child with average mental ability wanting to be position one in a class where competition is high.

    • This pupil can never attain the goal and therefore the frustration that arises becomes a source of behavior problems.
    • The pupils who are self-conscious tend to feel inferior and friendless and may crave for affection. They may become attention seekers or even aggressive.


  • The rejected child

Many children come from homes where they are neither loved nor valued by their parents; their need for affection and security is threatened.

    • These children may suffer neglect,
    • Separation from parent,
    • They could be nagged,
    • Humiliated before others,
    • Compared unfavorably with others,
    • These children will engage in attention seeking behavior,
    • Some will become restless or non-conforming.
    • They are likely to develop unstable tendencies with disregard for rules and convections of society. They will develop shallow feelings,
    • Lacking in reaction of guilt,
    • Suffer emotional instability,
    • Lack self-control and
    • They have underdeveloped ego, which makes them have no feelings of remorse.
    • This means that many undesirable behaviors may be associated with child rejection.


  • The overprotected child

This is the child whose every flimsy need is catered for.

    • He eats whenever and whatever he wants,
    • Have many material possessions.
    • May be restricted from playing with other children so that he does not get hurt. This child is likely to become selfish aggressive,
    • Lacks a sense of responsibility,
    • Develops infantile behavior,
    • Exhibits problems like thumb sucking,
    • Enuresis, and temper tantrums. He is likely to develop poor social adjustment,
    • Dad manners,
    • Impoliteness,
    • Rudeness,
    • Disobedience,
    • Will be bossy,
    • Selfish,
    • Show off and
    • Lacking in frustration tolerance.


  • Unfavourable school practices

Many times conditions that exist in the school may result in a child’s unwholesome development. These are conditions, which could be detrimental to the good psychological health of their pupils. These are:

  • Failure to cater for individual differences.

When the students feel that the teachers are not caring for them individually they tend to

    • Feel insecure,
    • Uncertain and
    • Afraid.
    • These students may show disobedience.


  • Autocratic control

If the teachers and the school administration do not exercise democratic control in their interaction with pupils then problems arise. The pupils who are ruled with an iron fist have their resourcefulness and initiative stifled. This happens because they can never learn to

    • Control their behavior,
    • Their thoughts or
    • Their actions.


  • Humiliating pupils in public

There are times when students do the wrong things. For example,

    • When they fail to complete assignments,
    • They make noise in class,
    • They are rude,
    • They tell lies, cheat etc. Many teachers react to these misdeeds by scolding the pupil publicly in class or on school assembly.

Many times the scolding is meant to make the erring boy or girl suffer humiliation in the presence of peers or the whole school.

    • A teacher who exposes pupils to this kind of humiliation is like us to contribute to delinquency.
    • This will occur when the pupil decides to skip school all the together and join a gang of truant pupils who care nothing for school.


  • Teachers can also use labels on pupils.

This happens when the teacher decides to refer to pupil’s social inferiority or even stress on the pupil’s negative behavior or weakness. This kind of cruelty is experienced by many pupils who have been convinced that they are;

    • Bad,
    • DUMB
    • Stubborn,
    • Disobedient and
    • Outright defective.

Naturally, children have a way of fulfilling their teachers prophesies by displaying their labels. They become what their teacher says they are.


  • The teacher’s competence

The teacher’s ability to fit their roles is critically important. Any teacher who has problems in any area of his duty is likely to contribute to the emergence and existence of problematic behavior. Such a teacher is likely to use defensive mechanisms. Defense. In order to cover up his shortcomings, he will blame,

    • The school,
    • The pupils,
    • He parents,
    • The society.

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