The One Best Strategy For Difficult And Challenging Students
Extreme behavior. Impulsivity. Disrespect. Poor motivation. Attention issues. Hyperactivity.
You name it, doesn’t matter.
There is one strategy that works better than all others combined.
It isn’t even close.
Boasting maximum influence, this one thing renders every other effort to change behavior hardly worth doing—at least until this one thing is in place.
Can you guess what it is?
It’s not rewards or behavior contracts (of course). It’s not praise or improved relationships or stronger rapport. It’s not even accountability.
It’s you, the teacher, being great at classroom management.
Because, you see, your class, and the way they behave collectively, has far greater power and influence over difficult and challenging students than you ever will.
Therefore, if you can create a classroom culture of hard work and impeccable behavior—through expert classroom management—then the peer pressure to do right becomes impossible to resist.
All students are tremendously swayed by their classmates and the learning environment pressing in on them. It seeps into their pores. It overwhelms their sensibilities. It causes them to mimic the posture, conduct, demeanor, attitude, and habits around them.
They even copy mannerisms, customs and mores, and manner of speaking. Most importantly, they imitate behavior. It becomes part of who they are, like membership in an exclusive club.
However, there is one caveat to the strategy: You can’t be just good at classroom management. It will help, for sure, but it won’t promise actual change.
You must be great. You must be able to take any group of students anywhere in the world and turn them into your dream class.
You must be able to create an environment your students can’t wait to get to every day. Like Hall-of-Fame coaches Nick Saban or Dawn Staley, you must build an intrinsically motivated team driven to succeed.
But if you can, if within the first weeks of school you’re able to guide your charges to the promise land of polite and hardworking, then your most challenging students will be profoundly and everlastingly altered.
—To the degree that they’ll no longer pose a problem or distraction. They’ll no longer interrupt or waste class time. No longer annoy their classmates. No longer battle you, bring drama to the classroom, or get under your skin.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be perfect.
But day after day and hour after hour they’ll see everyone else doing what they’re supposed to. Again and again they’ll try and fail to get attention or have their classmates laugh at or even notice their shenanigans.
The peace and focus and communal fun will overpower them. The culture will grab hold of them and turn them upside down. They’ll be drawn inexorably into something they can believe in that is bigger than themselves.
And they too will get down to work. They too will raise their hand. They too will produce their best work. Just like everyone else.
Oh, but you say, they still have ADHD. They still have impulse control problems and anger issues. They’re still at their core indifferent toward learning.
Maybe, or maybe these are just labels they’ve been carrying around with them like a leaden backpack, just waiting for someone or something to remove their burden. Maybe they haven’t had the right teacher or environment to unlock their dormant capabilities.
But what you’re saying, you may be thinking, is unrealistic. For some students, it can’t be done. No teacher has that much skill and mastery unless they’re born with a gift reserved for the smallest few.
Not only do I see it with my own eyes every bright and blinking year, thousands of other teachers have reported the same success using SCM principles.
Our approach was designed for any teacher, no matter their personality, grade level, or school, to become a true expert in classroom management using simple, repeatable, real-world strategies that work synergistically.
This is a crucial point.
Most teachers rely on a hodgepodge of tricks and tactics that work temporarily, if at all, and contrary to one another. They’re a band-aid that may get you through each day, but won’t safeguard the kind of focused learning experience that your students deserve.
SCM is a unified approach, whereby everything you do makes everything else easier and more effective.
The good news is that it’s free. We don’t hold anything back on this website. Our more than 600 articles cover everything you need to have the class you really want.
Yes, you can have it all at your fingertips with our books and guides. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, the core of what you need can be found in our archive (bottom right sidebar).
I urge you to try it, to throw away all the stressful tokens and manipulative strategies that may drag you exhausted to the end of the year, but offer little in the way of actually helping your most difficult and challenging students.
So go all in. Stop dabbling. Stop searching and guessing. Stop doubting and looking for reasons why you can’t. The hard and glorious truth is, you can.
All it takes is the courage to say enough is enough and the decision to finally release the fear of being great at what you do.
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