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Behaviors
Behaviors At School

The Hyperactive

Action: Identify causes of misbehavior. Pinpoint student needs being revealed. Employ specific methods, procedures, and techniques at school and at home for getting the child to modify or change his/her behavior.

Primary Needs Being Revealed

Escape from Pain
This is usually a health problem. It is very difficult for this student to remain quiet or inactive for a long period of time.

Secondary Needs Being Revealed

Autonomy
This person must be put in charge of him/herself, and must take the responsibility to move about without disturbing anyone.

Actions to Take
  • Discover the cause of the student's hyperactive nature. There may be medical reasons. The student may be on some kind of medication which is controlling the hyperactivity, and the teacher must help him/her stay on schedule. Or it may be stress, family life, anxiety, or some other cause.

  • Do not force this student to sit for a long time. He/she can't.

  • Arrange for him/her to move at intervals planned by you. Movement should be the reward system you use to motivate.

  • Create short-term goals for the student so he/she can realize more successes, and find activities which will absorb the need to be hyperactive.

  • Students often instinctively call out to a friend or push the person next to them. Asking "why" won't bring an answer because there isn't one. This doesn't mean the behavior should be condoned, but it should be looked upon and understood for what it is-an act of impulse. Treat such acts as a temporary lack of self-control-which is normal. Remember, at times students will act impulsively without thinking. Correct such acts, but don't make this behavior into something that it isn't.

  • Give positive reinforcement whenever the hyperactive student is quiet or under conscious direction.

  • Make improvement your goal. Have the student keep a chart of how many times you have corrected. In the process, develop a set of hand and eye signals which will let you correct without disturbing class.

  • Give task assignments which involve activity, such as passing out papers-as long as work is being done. This will motivate him/her to work more quickly.

  • Refer this student for professional counseling when necessary.

  • Suggest to parents that the child receive a complete physical examination.

  • Try role playing in a private conference. Switch roles with the student. You become hyperactive and let the student become the teacher. This will allow the student to observe how his/her hyperactivity appears to others.

  • When necessary, create a special schedule which will allow more freedom for this student.

  • Schedule a parent conference early. Do not wait for a crisis. Ask parents for help, and express a willingness to cooperate with outside professional assistance.

  • Keep a close check with other teachers. This may be a problem in your class only.

  • Always use verbal and nonverbal communication in a slow, quiet, and patient way. Any other strategic action only increases the student's anxiety and makes the behavior worse.

  • When students gather during a class break or recess, it's not unusual for them to get "carried away" occasionally. This is the time when teacher alertness and rapport can really count. Try a quiet touch on the shoulder and a friendly "Take it easy"; this approach can work wonders in helping students keep their behavior under control. It's always more effective than shouting.

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Please Note
We are labeling behaviors, not children! For the sake of convenience, we will describe behaviors with terms such as The Whiner or The Interrupter.

Never use such labels when talking to—or about—children! Doing so could cause many new problems and seriously damage the teacher-student or parent-child relationship.