Child X has difficulties with anger management and maintaining concentration in the classroom. He has expressed difficulty accepting rules and boundaries. He throws tantrums if his demands are not met immediately.
This is both an in school and at home problem. Often during periods of “quiet work” where the children are set an individual task, Child X acts out and distrupts the flow of the lesson. Child X gets very frustrated while doing his work and often lashes out by throwing items such as copies and pencils across the classroom. Child X does not process change effectively and will often throw a tantrum when faced with a change in plans. These include staying inside for wet day lunchtime or the absence of the class teacher or resource teacher. Child X expresses a particular dislike towards the subjects Maths and Gaeilge. He often calls them “pointless” and distracts the children around him during these subject lessons.
The class teacher noted this from documenting and keeping a running record of the child’s behaviour in order to try and understand this behaviour. The class teacher tries to manage this behaviour by following the classroom and whole-school behaviour management plan. In the classroom this is the addition and retraction of “DoJo” points which can be rewarded to the entire class or to individual students.
However this does not seem to motivate the child as the incentives and rewards do not appeal to him. The class teacher has a very large class of over 30 students and often gives into the child for the sake of a peaceful classroom. This however changed as the teacher began to notice that Child X was beginning to become alienated and excluded by the other children in the class as the were annoyed at his constant interruptions and “bad behaviour”. The teacher became worried at this behaviour as Child X appeared down in spirits as he became aware of this exclusion. The other children in the class have openly expressed annoyance at Child X’s behaviour and his parents have raised a concern too as he is no longer socially active outside of school due to lack of invitations for other children. The teacher’s main concern is Child X’s acts of violence due to his inability to control his anger.
She fears that if this is not dealt with appropriately this issue combined with his social exclusion could lead to behavioral escalation. Wiseman and Hunt (2008) have outlined twelve practical strategies to prevent behavioural escalation. I have chosen five of these strategies which I think would benefit Child X. Reinforce calm and on-task behavior. Child X isn’t always disruptive yet his good behaviour appears to go unnoticed in the classroom. The classroom attitude is very negative towards him and both teachers and peer alike are quick to call out his ‘bad behaviour’. The child feels as he can do no right in the environment he is in. (Wiseman & Hunt, 2008) If the teacher was to take a behaviourist approach and point out his good behaviour and reward when he remains on-task I think we would see a significant improvement in the child’s behaviour.
From a humanist approach it is also important to create a positive school and classroom climate, somewhere the child can feel safe and valued. (Freiberg and Lamb, 2009)Understand how such behavioural incidents ended in the past. “How it ends will determine the likelihood of future occurrence” (Wiseman & Hunt, 2008) Drawing on this point I think the teacher’s responses and the classroom structures might be contributing to the behaviour. As stated previously, the teacher often gives into the child’s behaviour as there is a busy classroom going on around her and has a lot of children with different needs relying on her. The teacher needs to establish a plan for this child and figure out what works and doesn’t work in order to be able to draw on how incidents ended in the past when ned incidents arise. Know the function of the problem behaviour.
“Most students use problem behavior to either get access to something they find pleasant or to avoid or escape something they find unpleasant” (Wiseman & Hunt, 2008). Here a Humanist approach could be used to find out the child’s perspective on his own behaviour. Calling on the work of Carl Rodgers (1978), we could center this around the child and ask them about their relationship with school and particular subjects. A child centered approach. Through a record kept by the class teacher we can see that the child often acts out during Maths and Gaeilge.
There could be many reasons for this but it is likely that these are subjects that the child finds most difficult in or can’t quite grasp the concept of. The child may be lacking some extra support from the school in these areas. Personal factors such as parental attitudes towards different subjects could also be a factor and is definitely worth exploring. Teach academic survival skills and set students up for success.
Going off point 3, Child X’s outbursts and ‘bad behaviour’ may be a result of a negative attitude towards certain subjects and a belief that they are going to fail in these areas. By offering the child adequate supports in these challenging areas and developing their self efficacy especially in relation to school work the child may become more motivated to do well and enjoy school as a result. This in turn would promote their active engagement and the child will be less likely to engage in disruptive behaviour. (Wiseman & Hunt, 2008)Offer students an opportunity to display responsible behaviour (Wiseman & Hunt, 2008). Getting children involved in leadership programmes such as Leaders in Training (LIT) can reduce anger and aggression in children (Burt, Patel, Butler & Gonzalez, 2013). These programs can give a child a sense of purpose and make them more responsible for their actions. These leadership intervention programs have proven highly successful in older children and I believe they could work in the case of Child X.
Child X takes no responsibility for his actions. Always deferring the blame onto someone or something else (Burt, Patel, Butler & Gonzalez, 2013). In the school environment no one makes him take responsibility. Student-self-discipline is not fostered.