HANDLING MISCHIEVOUS CHILDREN
Author: Dr. Seema Gupta
The most suitable idea that can be incorporated with mainstream teaching is to provide hyperactive children in a specific environment that is away from the classroom activity where they can introspect.
From a tiny tot to a kid , and from a kid to a student, a child undergoes a series of transformations. They move on , continuously growing ,adapt themselves to the existing environmental conditions. During these formative years of their lives, they experience various changes mentally, physically and emotionally. But some traits remain unchanged and constitute their personality. These characteristics are well noticed by their teachers and parents. In a class of twenty students, a teacher finds a mixed bag of children who are calm, quiet, extrovert ,introvert , active ,hyperactive and mischievous children. Thus, in a classroom composed of different types of children the teacher becomes responsible for handling this diversity.
Teaching demands complete dedication, absolute devotion and passion. Quality teaching is possible only when a teacher generates a conducive environment of learning in the classroom. It is created by allowing a student- centered approach and prior lesson planning. This is how we can cater to the need of individual children while maintaining his/her interest levels.
In a class we find certain students who are:
- Attention seeking children
- Inattentive children
- Mischievous children
- Hyperactive children
Today’s teacher is not a hard- task- master but a friend to a child. Thus instead of ridiculing , he should be given a conducive atmosphere where his disruptive activities can be mitigated. There is no better solution other than these special rooms.
Attention seekers are those children who continuously try to attract the teacher’s attention either by asking too many questions or by teasing fellow students. These students want to be heard and in order to achieve this they disturb the smooth functioning of class.
How to manage attention seekers : To manage such behavior, a teacher must question the class in between the lesson so as to keep the children focused followed by volunteering for answers. This would give the enthusiastic bit, a chance to contribute in the class.
Inattentive children are those who have attention diverting problems. They often indulge in activities that distract them and others too.
How to bring inattentive children on the right track : Such children must be assigned some challenging task to accomplish which keeps them occupied. Besides this, rotation of seats on regular basis helps minimise their unruly behavior.
Mischievous children are those children who are inclined to annoy or vex teachers and peers with playful tricks or some other nonsensical behavior. They are active and smart and always ready with the excuses for their unrestrained behavior.
Managing mischievous children : keep watchful eyes on each child and involve them in group activities.
Hyperactive Children : This group of children is full of energy. Their energy and enthusiasm needs to be directed in the right direction.
Managing hyperactive children : to understand these children, a teacher must have tremendous patience
Sound teaching is possible only when children follow the general code of conduct in a classroom. It is observed that in spite of all these efforts, a teacher faces many problems while delivering her lesson. There are many such children in a class, who find it difficult to concentrate on the topic being discussed in the class. They silently indulge in the activities which hinder quality teaching. So how does one handle these mischievous children? When faced with such a situation, a teacher generally gets infuriated and scolds the child. The child is either sent to the principal or made to stand at the back, suspending him from attending the class further. This is not a constructive measure to punish the child. Rather than showing any decency of behavior, he secretly disturbs other children of the class. He stealthily talks to fellow students, nudging and pushing, he tries to distract others and as soon as the period gets over and then smilingly he returns to his seat.
Now the bigger question before a teacher is how to differentiate between a mischievous child and a hyperactive child. Children who show signs of hyperactivity disorder are unable to sit still. They are always :
- are inattentive
- do not complete their work
- talk excessively, and
- interrupt others
Thus, providing a welcoming atmosphere to their nonsensical behavior would be a very positive step forward.
Of course, all children exhibit such symptoms at times but the difference between a mischievous and a hyperactive child is that these symptoms are present for a longer period of time in hyperactive children and this hampers their social and academic behavior. These children demand special attention and they need to be addressed differently. Treating such misbehaving children requires a lot of patience. Our concern should be focused on the appropriate way to deal with these unruly children. The conventional methods of punishment are no longer fruitful. We should think of some innovative ideas of punishment too. The child should never be humiliated in front of the whole class. Expelling the child from class is no solution for his unruly behavior. It will be detrimental to his personal growth.
Effective teaching involves acquiring relevant knowledge about students and using that knowledge in classroom teaching. This can be obtained by regular parents cooperation through parents teacher association. Most of the times, it is observed that various conditions of life at home and school also influence child ‘s behaviour. There are a few students , who succeed despite their poor home lives, but most students need parental support and guidance in their day to day activity.
And if these things are denied to them ,the consequences are hazardous not only to the child but also for the parents as well as society at large. These children either become slow learners or hyper active. Handling such children is the biggest challenge today. Their energy has to be channelized in the right direction. To bring them to a satisfying level of behaviour, they need to be orchestrated with other students of the class. Establishing what they want would help determine the appropriate remedy for the benefit of such children. The most suitable idea that can be incorporated with mainstream teaching is to provide hyperactive children in a specific environment that is away from the classroom activity where they can introspect . Therefore, it is opined that there is a strong need to build remedial houses in the school premises. These remedial houses are the special rooms where such mischievous children are taken for an hour or two. Here they are made to sit and meditate under supervision. It helps better their concentration and eventually results in holistic development of their personality. It would prove effective in shaking up classroom behavior. These innovative methods of punishment will not only discipline the child but also help to bring him on right track.
Effective teaching involves acquiring relevant knowledge about students and using that knowledge in classroom teaching. This can be obtained by regular parents cooperation through parents teacher association. Most of the times, it is observed that various conditions of life at home and school also influence child ‘s behaviour. There are a few students, who succeed despite their poor home lives, but most students need parental support and guidance in their day to day activity.
The approach to deal with mischievous children is either verbal or non-verbal. Verbal approach includes asking questions repeatedly, warnings over disagreeable conduct, describing rules and classrooms norms etc. non –verbal includes gestures, facial expressions and stern look that convey a silent message to the students who play mischief.
Generally teachers give strict warning or ‘angry look’ to warn a mischievous child. But if these verbal and non-verbal approach leave no effect on child’s attitude then the teacher can enforce some sort of non- physical punishment like detention from some important activity, exclusion from group activity, giving some extra homework etc. Another important strategy to tackle such misconduct is to assign them with some responsibility and giving reminders daily to fulfil the task. This will enable them to remain focused.
Enforcing severe punishment and reprimanding the child will push him to follow some unfair ways to hide his insult. So, keeping all these aspect in mind it becomes necessary that these unruly children should be dealt with, judiciously . Present day scenario is entirely different from the past. Today’s teacher is not a hard- task- master but a friend to a child. Thus instead of ridiculing , he should be given a conducive atmosphere where his disruptive activities can be mitigated. There is no better solution other than these special rooms.
As I see it today, promulgation of such inventive measures of punishment will bring complete overhauling of the child’s behavior. The practice of meditation would be of great help in disseminating positive energy affecting their mind, body and soul.
Thus, providing a welcoming atmosphere to their nonsensical behavior would be a very positive step forward. This would also ensure that the school truly caters the need of individual child. It is hoped that this innovative approach would work wonders for the benefit of the child.
About the Author
Dr. Seema Gupta
Dr. Seema Gupta has been in the field of education for past ten years. A positive leader with a dynamic personality, she writes on pedagogical issues and children’s problems and has been published several times. She has stayed in Nairobi having worked as an educational counsellor and hence has a diverse experience with children. She is a senior English Teacher at Doon Presidency School, Dehradun and is passionate about assimilating the new changes that ensure quality education. In this article for MENTOR, she delineates between various types of children found in an average classroom and suggests possible solutions for teachers dealing with them.