Educational Psychology: Why do some pupils misbehave in a classroom environment?



10 a ii). Explain some of the reasons you think pupils misbehave in a classroom environment.

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:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Conflict-ridden homes also produce children who are:

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

5.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 experiences 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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:

a). 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.

b). 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.

c). 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.


d). 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.

e). 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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