Best Practice

Student behaviour: Dealing with the defiant

It is a teaching challenge that spans the ages – that of the defiant student. Jessica Richards draws on her experience to offer some tips and advice for handling these situations

Dealing with challenging behaviour in the classroom can feel like navigating uncharted waters, but with the right strategies longer term and a consistent approach when dealing with defiance in the moment you can be empowered to effectively manage defiant behaviour.

A student refusing to follow instructions is not a new occurrence in the teaching world. However, concerns are being raised by teachers and leaders that post-pandemic classrooms are seeing more and more students refusing to follow instructions and an increase in challenging situations.

When teaching a large group, it only takes one to refuse to comply for the mood in the room to shift. A defiant student signals to the rest of the group the possibility of escalation and for the teacher it can feel disempowering and like a loss of control and order.

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