7 Ways To Deal With Problem Students

By Donnie | Articles

With the new school year starting and all, I felt compelled to write an article about the best ways to deal with a child that’s misbehaving. If you’re a teacher in America you can communicate to fully, in English, to those students when they are cutting up. Albeit if they’re really bad kids, they’re probably not going to listen to you, but you can at least communicate with them. In Japan, how to control a misbehaving kid who doesn’t understand a lick of what you’re saying? Can you just punch them in the side of the head? Nah, I wouldn’t recommend doing that if you really value your job. But wait a minute, let me rewind for a second. I have seen kids get popped upside the head, on occasion, by Japanese teachers and no one even thinks anything of it. In America, can you imagine hitting a kid in the head? Even jokingly? It just seems like tremendous amount of backlash that would follow. Sorry, back to the subject at hand. Let’s look at ten different ways to deal with a problem child.

1. BASIC JAPANESE– Learning a handful of basic Japanese commands can really work wonders. Sure, most schools want you to use English primarily. But I think that if a student or class is out of control, some light Japanese can be warranted. Just knowing basic commands like “stop,” (yamete, やめて), “sit down” (suwatte, すわって) or please be quiet (Shizuka ni shite kudasai, しずかにしてください) or simply (shizuka ni, しずかに).

2. A FIRM VOICE– It’s not always what you say but how you say it. I have to do this a few times. A child is in a misbehaving trance, so your voice is what you use to snap them out of it. A firm serious voice let’s the child know that you’re not playing with them and that their behavior is completely unacceptable.

3. GOOD SUPPORT– Regardless of the job, if you’re working in Japan, there should be some type of Japanese support you can receive should you need it. At AEON it was the front counter staff. In the public schools the homeroom teacher should be in the classroom, too. If not, there should be a teacher next door, or nearby. If you’re completely stumped, and can’t get your kids to behave. The homeroom teacher or other staff member can help.

4. SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS FROM DAY ONE– My Dad taught me this one, actually. Begin with the end in mind. If you set your classroom protocol from day one, it’s much much easier to maintain. Things like getting kids to raise their hands, saying please, saying thank you, etc…really makes a big difference.

5. KEEP YOUR LESSONS STRUCTURED– This may seem like a minor thing, but it’s bigger than you might think. If you don’t have a solid lesson plan, you end up with down time, that you won’t know how to fill. When there’s down time, that creates opportunities for children to misbehave. I’m generally pretty good about planning my lessons, but some of my most troublesome lessons came about when my lesson plan was a lot looser than it should have been.

Numbers six and seven are EXTREME and should only be used in EXTREME circumstances
6. THROW YOUR BEST KID OUT OF THE WINDOW*– A wise man once told me the best way to get a bad student’s attention when they’re in the throes of misbehaving. You give a verbal cue like “HEY!” or “OI!” You then, while staring at the bad child, walk over to your best kid, grab them, and throw them out of the nearest window. The shocked, bad student will then deduce “Well Jesus, if he threw the best child out of the window…GULP…what’s he gonna do to me?” Yeah, I know it’s crazy…crazy enough to work. You’ll never have a problem with that kid again.
*PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS! I am totally joking!!!

7.THE KILL FACE!– This strategy comes from the little know martial arts style called Ameridote, and it’s apparently quite effective. Instead of telling about it, I thought showing you would be best. Take a look:

I hope you’ve found these tips useful 😀

How about you? Do you have in misbehaving kid stories? What did you do to get them to behave?

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  • Some good tips there Donald. Knowing some basic Japanese definitely helps as well as having a set of clear classroom rules from the start and a structured lesson. Also helps having an active and caring HRT there to lend you some support.

    P.S. I’m still waiting for your email reply 🙂

  • Shad Loos says:

    Ahh!! My first post on your blog! I’ve been really enjoying reading new and old blog posts Donald, thanks! I really have to try your child ejection technique, I feel like it would be the most effective, besides the kill face of course. Really funny video. 🙂

    • Donald Ash says:

      Thanks for posting for the first time, Shad. Welcome!! I really appreciate the positive feedback. Be careful with the child ejection technique, LOL, it’s only for extreme circumstances 😉

  • Ann says:

    )8-{ <—Still alive? Very funny video.

  • George Crawley says:

    Also please make sure students are not allowed to use informal or slang English. For instance: http://www.informalenglish.com/what-does-yanno-mean/

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