What to Do When a Student Will Not Follow Your Instructions

Have you implemented clear, concise and consistent instructions into your lessons but are still having trouble getting one or two students to follow them? If you are going to get your students to do as you ask, it all has to begin with your attitude. Your attitude is what dictates your approach when dealing with challenging behaviour, so it is very important that you are conveying the appropriate attitude to your students that will result in positive classroom behaviour.

Even though some teachers display good control by utilizing a bullying, punitive and aggressive attitude, their control really only exists on the surface. It may seem that you have your students under control, but underneath the surface of their reluctant compliance lays embarrassment, fear, hostility, and a desire to either retaliate in some way or get away from you. Certainly this isn’t the ideal way to get the best out of your students or create a healthy classroom environment.

If you shout orders at a child, you’re off to a bad start. The best way to get on the wrong side of someone is to shout at them and tell them to do something they don’t want to do. And with a challenging student you can multiply this effect exponentially. Add to this the fact that there are probably 30 other kids in the room who enjoy seeing arguments and you can see why this could go badly. Many students actually try to get their teachers to lose their tempers (and their control) because they find it amusing or entertaining. That is why it is so important that you keep your composure when managing a classroom.

A good way to avoid confrontation is to give the student a fair warning. Explain first exactly what they are doing wrong, and what they should be doing instead. This gives them no reason to come back at you because you cannot argue with the truth. You have clearly explained to them what is wrong with their behaviour and what is expected of them. This will make it impossible for them to defend their behaviour. Also, the other students in the class will see that you are being fair. Students who are being fairly treated find it very difficult to argue with your instructions because they know that the rest of the class will view them as being in the wrong and that’s the last thing that they want.

So, when dealing with challenging and difficult to handle students, always remember to remain calm and consistent. If you consistently follow the same discipline patterns for each student, then no student can argue about you being unfair or playing favourites. This also establishes clear boundaries that students will be very clear about. Students are always trying to bend and push boundaries, but if you are consistent with your rules and clear on your behaviour standards, they will quickly realize that your rules aren’t bendable and they will comply. And lastly, keeping calm, and refraining from yelling further shows your control of the situation and lack of emotion. After all, most misbehaving students are only looking for attention.