How To Support Challenging Behaviour

Written by Dan

As a teacher, you may face challenging behaviour in the classroom. It cannot be easy to manage, and it takes skill, dedication and patience to handle it effectively. This blog post will provide ten practical strategies teachers can use to support students displaying challenging behaviour and how this directly relates to promoting student-teacher relationships.

Not only do these methods help smooth interactions between both parties, but they also provide a platform for resolving any potential issues through communication and understanding. Read on for further information about dealing with behavioural difficulties in the classroom!

Get To Know The Child

The most significant factor in managing behaviour is getting to know the child. Learning about their influences, interests, and values will give teachers a better idea of what motivates them, which can help adults adjust their approach.

Establishing a positive relationship with the child or adolescent is also crucial; showing genuine interest, empathy, and respect will make their behaviour more manageable, as children are often more likely to follow the rules if they feel respected and understood.

This can also lead to improved communication between adults and children, making problem-solving easier.

Communicate With The Parents

Every school will have a comprehensive behaviour management policy , and one of the critical parts will be how teachers must communicate with their student’s parents. This helps reinforce their behaviour instruction and encourages positive interaction between home and school.

Open communication also allows the teacher to work with the parents to find strategies tailored to the child’s needs, which will go a long way in ensuring successful outcomes when managing student behaviour.

Teacher-parent collaborations provide additional support for students, enabling them to take ownership and responsibility for their behaviour in an environment that values cooperation and respect.

Regulation Strategies

Regulation strategies can be a great way to deal with behaviour issues in the classroom. Rather than punishing, teachers can use these techniques to teach good behaviours and create a positive environment. These strategies have been proven to improve student focus, communication skills, and overall participation.

By offering predictable adult interaction and forming disciplinary partnerships with students, regulation strategies accurately reflect how people learn best through cooperation and understanding.

With adequately implemented regulation strategies, students understand what healthy behaviours are expected of them and how to handle difficult emotions that trigger impulsive behaviour choices.

As well as this, teachers benefit by creating an environment where learning comes first, making it easier for all students to reach their maximum potential.

Individual Behaviour Chart

Developing positive behaviour in students can be a challenge, but a valuable tool to assist in this endeavour is an individual behaviour chart. This chart—which both teachers and parents can quickly implement—enables monitoring each student’s progress regarding their attitude and behaviour.

It also allows for discussions with students about their behaviours, how they are improving, and how they feel they can become even better. With the help of an individual behaviour chart, teachers and parents can provide consistent support and feedback to each child.

Individual Learning Timetable

Establishing an individual learning timetable can be a fantastic way to maximize student behaviour and ensure successful learning. This technique allows teachers to understand which subjects, topics and tasks the student is most comfortable with, meaning they can tailor their teaching to activate these interests and motivators.

Furthermore, by having a specific block of time set aside for each subject or topic, there is a visual representation of progression which will generate further enthusiasm in the classroom.

Even if implemented on a small scale – with certain activities that particularly disrupt the classroom atmosphere throughout the week – an individual learning timetable encourages mutual respect between students and teachers. Together, this forms a much more enjoyable learning environment for everybody involved.

Daily/Weekly Catch-Up

Talking to your students regularly, daily or weekly, can promote good behaviour. Not only is this an opportunity to check in with them and assess any problems they have, but it also provides the platform to demonstrate and reinforce good behaviour and provide one-on-one support.

During catch-ups, you can encourage positive dialogue between yourself and your students, discuss any potential misbehaviours that may occur in future and go through strategies for overcoming these. Keeping a consistent structure to this meeting, such as setting attainable goals, helps ensure the desired outcome for you and your students.

Build Bonds Outside Of The Classroom

For students to learn best, they must have a strong relationship with their teachers. One way for teachers to foster this connection is to build bonds outside of the classroom.

Taking a student to lunch, catching up after school, or attending a student’s sports game can all provide meaningful conversations and fun experiences that strengthen the teacher-student bond.

Building these connections also helps teachers better understand what motivates and disengages each student; this gives them the insight they need to deal with behaviour ineffective, positive ways.

Focus On The Small Victories

Small victories are among the most powerful teaching tools in our arsenal. We can encourage our students to strive harder to achieve even more by emphasizing and celebrating even the most minor successes. The concept of ‘small victories’ underlines that it is the journey rather than just the result which should be focused on; considerable accomplishments often rely upon many small triumphs along the way.

Recognising these accomplishments and taking a moment to acknowledge them is paramount in maintaining good student behaviour.

Celebrating every success sets an example for our students to embrace success rather than seeing failure as only an option, helping us all reap the benefits of striving together towards larger goals.

Soft Start

A ‘Soft Start’ is a great way to help children with behavioural issues get used to new situations without becoming overwhelmed. This technique involves gradually introducing activities in a supportive environment, allowing the child time to adjust before they are given any more complex tasks.

It’s a stepping-stone approach to help them gain the confidence and skills needed for self-regulation and successful learning.

When implemented correctly, a Soft Start will give the child enough time and support to ease into the activity rather than feeling wholly overrun or defeated. With this approach, teachers can ensure their classroom is an inclusive environment everyone feels comfortable!

Do Not Give Up

Dealing with behaviour can be puzzling and challenging, but don’t give up hope. Even through the most difficult moments, you can progress by continuing to practice and maintain interventions. Staying positive, thoughtful and consistent is essential to achieve the desired outcomes that lead to better behaviour.

Whenever possible, involve others such as families or colleagues who can offer additional support and resources. Above all else, remember that every effort counts. Keeping a growth mindset will help you push through any setbacks and celebrate successes when they occur.

Dealing with challenging behaviour can be a difficult task for any teacher. However, by implementing the tips mentioned in this article, such as building relationships with students, setting clear expectations and consequences, using positive reinforcement, and seeking support, teachers can create a positive learning environment that fosters growth and success for all students.

It is important to remember that every student is unique and may require different strategies to address their behaviour. With patience, consistency, and empathy, teachers can effectively manage challenging behaviour and help their students reach their full potential.

Five Articles That Provide Behaviour Strategies

  1. Edutopia – “5 Classroom Management Strategies for Overcoming Challenging Behaviour” discusses five classroom management strategies to help teachers overcome challenging behaviour. It covers tips such as setting clear expectations, using positive reinforcement, and building relationships with students. URL:
  2. TeacherVision – “Strategies for Dealing with Difficult Behaviour in the Classroom” This article provides a comprehensive list of strategies teachers can use to deal with challenging behaviour in the classroom. It includes tips such as creating a positive learning environment, using praise and rewards, and seeking support from colleagues or school administrators. URL:
  3. TeachThought – “6 Strategies for Dealing with Challenging Students” This article offers six strategies for dealing with challenging students, including focusing on positive behaviour, building relationships, and providing structure and routine in the classroom. URL:
  4. The Guardian – “How Teachers Can Manage Challenging Behaviour” This article explores different approaches teachers can take to manage challenging behaviour in the classroom. It includes advice from education experts and highlights the importance of empathy, communication, and consistency when dealing with challenging students.URL:
  5. ASCD – “Dealing With Difficult Students” This article provides practical tips for managing challenging students, including developing a plan of action, seeking support from colleagues or parents, and using proactive strategies to prevent negative behaviour before it occurs.URL:


Q: What is challenging behaviour in primary school?

A: Challenging behaviour in primary school is any behaviour that disrupts the learning environment or social interactions between students and teachers. It can include physical aggression, verbal outbursts, defiance, and other disruptive behaviours.

Q: Why do some students exhibit challenging behaviour?

A: Many factors can contribute to challenging behaviour in students, including developmental disorders such as ADHD or autism, trauma or abuse, family issues such as divorce or poverty, and academic struggles.

Q: How can teachers manage challenging behaviour in the classroom?

A: Teachers can manage challenging behaviour by implementing strategies such as setting clear expectations for behaviour, using positive reinforcement, providing structure and routine in the classroom, building relationships with students, seeking support from colleagues or administrators, and using behavioural interventions when necessary.

Q: What are some common mistakes teachers make when dealing with challenging behaviour?

A: Some common mistakes teachers make when dealing with challenging behaviour include reacting emotionally to student outbursts, failing to address underlying causes of problematic behaviour, using punishment instead of positive reinforcement, and neglecting to seek support from colleagues or administrators.

Q: How can parents help their child who exhibits challenging behaviour at school?

A: Parents can help their child who exhibits challenging behaviour at school by communicating regularly with the teacher to understand the specific behaviours causing problems. They can work collaboratively with the teacher to develop a plan for addressing these behaviours at home and school. Additionally, they can seek support from mental health professionals if necessary.

Q: What resources are available for educators dealing with challenging behaviour in primary school?

A: There are many resources available for educators dealing with challenging behaviour in primary school, including professional development workshops on classroom management strategies, online forums where educators can share ideas and advice; books on effective classroom management techniques; and access to mental health professionals who specialize in working with children.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.

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