11th June 2010 at 01:00
The problem: I teach a Year 6 class for an hour a week on top of my normal class and there is one boy who seems to hate me. It is constant antagonism: talking when everyone else is quiet, banging things on tables and ignoring me. How can I get him to behave?

What you said

"Give him one chance every lesson and then send him to the deputy head, headteacher, year leader, whoever. He can sulk and mutter all he likes, but you don't have to put up with it."


"What kind of sanctions does he get for misbehaving? It needs to be sufficiently unpleasant to be a deterrent. His behaviour, unchecked, threatens to undermine you in the eyes of the class and could also, in future, degrade their behaviour with you."


"The hour lesson is perhaps something of a novelty in his week, different dynamics and a chance for him to have some fun without jeopardising his relationship with his regular teacher. Is it possible you could do something different with the class to see if you can engage him and some of his pals?"



Without the correct attitude, resources and techniques, behaviour problems can disrupt classes, consume your time and affect pupils' education and well-being. This child is clearly displaying attention-seeking behaviour and testing the boundaries.

Providing attention can be a powerful tool in encouraging positive conduct and reducing unwanted behaviour. Children enjoy receiving attention for a variety of reasons. If certain children do not receive enough positive attention for the good they do, they will resort to behaviour that results in negative forms of attention. Some prefer to receive negative attention than to do without it altogether. Combining positive recognition with ignoring him at the right moments could be effective. The child soon learns that positive behaviour results in positive attention and negative behaviour results in no attention.

Establish respect in a calm, assertive manner. Remind children of the rules every time they enter the classroom and use positive reinforcements of good behaviour. If this boy tests the boundaries, inform him: "You are not ready to come into our classroom ... wait there until you are ready." Direct him to wait outside your class, in a place where you can see him. After a few minutes, go out and, providing he is behaving properly, invite him in.

You should also ensure positive reinforcements, such as rewards, are high and frequent. Put more energy and attention into good behaviour than unwanted behaviour.

Nicola Morgan is a behaviour management consultant and author of 'Quick, Easy and Effective Behaviour Management Ideas for the Classroom'. For more behaviour advice, see



- Use positive reinforcement to give him attention when he is behaving well.

- Try to pre-empt poor behaviour by praising him before things go wrong.

- Ignore bad behaviour to avoid rewarding his attempt to seek attention.

- Follow the school's policy if his behaviour fails to improve.


- Pander to his attention-seeking behaviour by letting him disrupt the lesson.

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