The schools have reopened and children have started coming back to school, but the classroom situation is vastly different now. Prolonged absence from the classroom and frequent operation through online mediums have resulted in disruptive behaviour disorder among the students.
Disruptive behaviour disorder in children refers to behaviours that occur when a child has difficulties in controlling his/her actions. This behaviour can be seen in the form of aggression in students. 76% of teachers have reported aggressive outbursts in their classrooms. Peer relationship has also been affected severely in the classroom due to post covid behavioural issues.
To understand disruptive behaviour disorder, let’s discuss 5 signs of behaviour changes in children.
1. Frequent aggressive behaviour
In the classroom, 7 out of 10 teachers have faced aggressive outbursts from their students. Also, one-quarter of the parents have reported scolding and punishing their children at home, which further affected their behaviour.
There are many reasons for such behaviour in children such as loneliness, sleep deprivation, violence at home etc. Teachers can take the help of positive reinforcement and expressive therapy to tackle aggressive behaviour.
Examples of positive reinforcement are clapping, cheering, giving a high five, giving a hug or pat on the back, giving thumbs-up, giving a special activity and offering praises whereas expressive therapy includes the use of art, dance, music, drama, poetry/creative writing, sports, counselling and rehabilitation. These activities can motivate students, provide them a chance to move out of negativity and bring positivity to the class.
2. Non-cooperative behaviour
Children are showing non-cooperating behaviour in the form of indiscipline in the classroom such as aggressive behaviour, frequent bathroom breaks, inability to sit in the class for 30 to 45 minutes, quibbling, lack of attention, chattering etc.
Teachers should set ground rules before starting the class and set examples of negative consequences of non-cooperative behaviour. Teachers can exercise cooperation among students by giving them group activities and projects that involve group participation. Such activities will build their interpersonal skills and leadership qualities. It will also enhance cooperation among children.
3. Disrespecting behaviour
Teachers are facing behavioural issues in schoolchildren such as grimacing during class, talking rudely to teachers, non-adherence to rules, not taking permission from teachers etc. 4 out of 10 children disrespect teachers in one way or another.
In such cases, teachers can treat children being fair and consistent by giving consequences. A consequence should be given to current behaviour, not based on past behaviours and it should be fair and consistent for all.
Teachers should take input from parents about their child’s behaviour at home. Also, behavioural aspects of the particular student can be confirmed by the previous class teacher. The root cause of disruptive behaviour disorder can be ascertained by implementing these ideas and then teachers and parents can think about remedies.
4. Consistent attention deficit
In schools across India, 50% of instructional time has been lost due to distraction and lack of attention in children. Teachers have to think out of the box to grab the attention of students by implementing fun activities such as reciting nursery rhymes with body movements, bringing students out of the classroom more frequently whenever they feel less attentive, quizzes and competition with prizes.
Such activities can encourage student participation and decrease disruptive behavioural issues in schoolchildren. Parents should seek expert advice in some severe cases where behaviour disruptive disorders such as psychological issues or ADHD(Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are seen in children.
5. Communication disruption
Excessive use of digital devices and online education has hindered the communication skills of children. 40% of the children had excessive screen time during the lockdown which has led to less peer interaction in the classroom. Disruptive behaviour disorder can be seen in group activities when children are not able to communicate.
The communication issue in schoolchildren can be solved with small gestures such as listening to them while they are talking. Encourage all children to speak in group activities.
Also, identifying the emotions of the children when they are talking is important, such as responding to a student who is angry or sad in a soothing voice to show them that you are listening. Teachers should avoid shaming the children and empathise with them. These small measures can promote communication in the classroom.
Disruptive behaviour disorders have led to teacher’s focusing more on behavioural issues in class rather than academic mastery.
Teachers and parents have to work on the children’s mental well-being and at the same time, they both have to come together and deeply observe children in the classroom and at home and follow the above-mentioned recommendation to solve disruptive behaviour.