Behaviour management: how to take on the rebels

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Rebellious students are the bane of a teacher’s day, but despite the stereotype, they are rarely without a cause. In fact, there are many reasons why young people engage in such behaviour – and it’s not just to make your life difficult, as Dan Worth discovers

How to take on a rebel

There’s a scene from The Simpsons in which Lisa, usually a model pupil, has become disillusioned with school and is rude to her teacher.

“Lisa, what are you rebelling against?” asks Principal Skinner.

“Whaddya got,” she replies.

This image of a rebel without a cause, lashing out against the system “just because”, has long been a cliché of youth, as Professor Matthew Gingo, from Wheaton College, Massachusetts, US, notes: “Storm and strife as a defining characteristic of adolescence has existed for many years.”

Indeed, Lisa Simpson’s line references the Marlon Brando film The Wild ...

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