According to Dreikurs all misbehaviour reflects children's decision about how they can most effectively belong to, or be recognised by the group. Students who are confident of their ability to find a place - to belong through constructive activity - will tend not to be a problem. Such individuals have developed feelings of equality and worth and are interested in co-operating with others and in participating usefully within a group. They face each school demand, be it intellectual, social, physical, or emotional, with confidence in their ability to cope with the demand. There is no need for them to misbehave because they know that they can function constructively and co-operatively in the class.
In contrast, there are discouraged children who feel that they cannot cope with the various school demands and decide to adopt unacceptable ways of behaving which they believe will gain them status and a sense of group recognition.
Teachers need constantly to remind themselves that they are the targets of disturbing classroom behaviour and that their reactions tend to sustain and strengthen undesirable behaviour. Before teachers can begin to assist individual children, they must stop giving undue attention, fighting, retaliating, or accepting students display of inability. That is the first and necessary step in any corrective program. Students who constantly disturb, disrupt, fail to learn, invite attention, rebel, or violate orders are discouraged individuals who feel that they cannot find a place in the class through constructive and co-operative behaviours and consequently turn to more destructive and inadequate behaviour in their attempt to find a sense of significance.
There are a number of processes designed to help pupils to develop more adequate ways of behaving but, before these approaches can be used, teachers must stop responding to unacceptable behaviours. As a first step teachers should train themselves to go against their first...
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