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How to Deal with Different Types of Students

How to Deal with Different Types of Students | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Despite the rising parents' education attainment and the high level of awareness, they show towards their offsprings' nurture, students' misbehavior is still a controversial aspect of pedagogy. As teachers, what we are dealing with today is supposed to be a generation of well-brought-up juveniles craving for personal development, but the truth appears to be slightly different. Even though some believe that teachers are simply losing their authority as a result of lax school discipline approaches, many reasons hidden behind students' misbehavior can easily be recognized and dealt with. There is, of course, a very wide range of reasons for students' misbehavior, but we're going to go through some of them and try to come up with some remedies.

Early finishers

The majority of learners can handle their tasks at about the given time, but sometimes there are some students that are finished far ahead of the class. These kids are usually sharp and fast on their feet, with a tendency to avoid group work or pair work and a preference for open-class activities since they feel they are slowed down by the others. The dissatisfaction they feel is contagious because they may get bossy trying to push their fellow classmates to finish tasks faster and make them feel disappointed and frustrated.

You can consider them as an anticipated problem and come up with solutions and remedies to handle them and make them more cooperative. Choosing activities that can be extended while you're lesson planning gives you the opportunity to ask your early finishers to do the next phase and keep them occupied all through the activity. In case it is not possible to design a task that can be extended, the other thing to do is to have some extra worksheets in hand in order to assign them to your early finishers.

If you have to pair them up with less confident students, keep an eye on them while you are monitoring the activity. Adjusting the allocated time for activities with your early finishers' pace may rush the majority of the students and cause unnecessary anxiety, so stick to your time limit if you think it's well-adjusted.

Attention seekers or class clowns

All the students indulge in having their teachers' attention, so if they don't receive enough attention from you, they might try to get it from their counterparts by adding some fun to your class. What you need to keep in mind as a teacher is that children, specifically very young ones, don't see any differences between positive and negative attention. Every reaction they get from you, including yelling or punishing, can be counted as an encouragement.

So keep calm and turn a blind eye when they are doing whatever you don't want them to do. Encourage positive behavior and any sign of cooperation with a smile. Don't make other students get the feeling that negative behavior is rewarded by overreacting and too much encouragement.

The worst reaction a teacher can have is to keep laughing at any jokes these kids make, no matter how funny or cute they are, because it might make them feel approved. Paying fair attention to all the students instead of having favorites and the teacher's pet can enhance the rapport and improve students' positive attitude.

Bored students

No matter how much you enjoy playing a particular game with your students or feel a special task can help you activate the target language, repetition can lead to boredom, specifically when you are in charge of a class for a long period. Although old games reduce the amount of energy you need to spend to clarify the instructions and help you control your talking time, you may benefit from adding some variety to your lesson plans and motivating your students, because as you know, bored students tend to have poor participation and look for any changes that can help them entertain themselves and have fun.

Asking other teachers for ideas gives you access to an endless source of material that can be adjusted and matched to your own aim and objectives, or simply looking fun activities up on the net is a way to add flexibility and fun to your classes.

Students with special needs

Occasionally, you may experience the presence of some students with special needs in your classes. This category includes those who suffer from hyperactivity, depression, some special disease, and etc. Recently divorced parents or a new sibling can also be a temporary cause of some misbehaviors. Parents usually share cases like these with teachers, but sometimes they want their children to be dealt with like any other kids, or they simply neglect to do so.

If you get the feeling that you have a student like this in your class, talk to the headteacher or whoever is responsible for a situation like this at your school. They usually have more information about students' backgrounds and can support you with their advice.

Finally, teachers enjoy sharing their perceptions of different students during break times, but the approach that is considered unprofessional is constantly complaining and exaggerating students' misbehavior or labeling them as difficult students. A bad reputation may really damage any further teacher/student relationship and can result in more difficulties for both students and teachers.

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