My aim for this article is not to emphasise teachers should cope exactly when similar situation arise, but to think cognitively how each person should be deal with.


Teaching is not an easy task. It is a challenging one and involved your own skill and creativeness to deal with each person. Because teachers and educators are responsible for taking steps to ensure that all learners are catered for, and background factors affecting learning are taken into account. There are links in the early development to cognitive and emotional development. There are issues that affecting a child’s behaviour in school; family attributes, student attributes, peer attributes and school attributes. The motivational theories’ explanation about Shantae’s behaviours’ where needs is not satisfied, psychic energy is repressed and the energy is expressed in other, sometimes unexpected ways. Jack was one of the best dancers among the four of his classmates. He was so smart that he created a rare movement, which he could, continues doing it for around five minutes. Jack has well developed gross motor skills and has well controlled balancing skills such as in jumping, hopping and skipping. Those who often experience success are more likely to positively value their own competence than those who regularly experience failure.


“Each student comes to the learning environment with a different set of experiences, values, interests, needs and abilities. In an inclusive classroom, teachers recognize the differences, devising ways to address students’ differing needs and also taking into account what each learner brings to the learning process.” (Krause, Bochner and Duchesne, 2003, p.195). Teachers and educator are responsible for taking steps to ensure that all learners are catered for and that background factors affecting learning are taken into account.

Children develop in knowledge, skills, beliefs, attitudes, habits and feelings as they learn. These learning processes are enduring, and they reflect on how teachers view their roles, relate to learners, arrange their classrooms, deliver contents and assess students’ works (Krause et al., 2003). When students are praised for doing the right thing, it affects their behaviours, the teacher is enhancing the actions he or she is rewarding will be repeated.



Classroom scenario – Shantae would suddenly cry when she became emotional. She was a lovely little girl with a beautiful face and sparkling eyes. Her smile could capture people’s heart if she were up and happy.

She once said to me, “Everybody has a daddy except me!” My heart sank when I heard that she had no father at such a young age. So I asked, “Where is your daddy?” Then, she replied, “My daddy is in heaven!” and looked down. I worried she might cry. Quickly, I added, “See, your daddy is with God now.” I felt a relief she put a smile on her face after I said that.

She would call out and interrupt the teacher during the lessons, almost in all lessons. Sometimes, the teacher would just ignore her, but occasionally, the teacher would explain to her that she needed to listen. Then, she would stand up and walk to the corner where the toys were and played for the rest of the lesson.

The teacher considered her as annoying because she stopped and discontinued the lessons and everybody would look at her instead of the teacher. “Stop Shantae! I don’t want to hear it!” said the teacher, who had already known what Shantae was going to complain. Most of the time, she would complain about the other students blocked her way, and she could not see. She never listened to teacher’s suggestions such as, “Move and sit at the front!” or “Sit right in front of me!” Instead, she enjoyed competing with other students until she got what she wanted. To my surprise, other students never let her had what she wanted, so, she cried.


The teacher talked to her personally usually after the class, reminded and warned her of her disruptive behaviours. The teacher would tell her what consequences she would get if she behaved in such a way again. Shantae would listen quietly and nodded her head but soon she forgot about what the teacher had just told her.


Developmental or contextual factors – Shantae had lost her father since she was a baby. She has no male figure or role model in her family, and she grew up and attached to her mother. She is emotional and cries easily and could not control her emotion. She brought up by a feminine figure such as her mother, which shaped her development physically, cognitively and emotionally. Krause et al. (2003) stated, in infancy, children are already developing the physical, cognitive and emotional basis for the skills they use at school. Physically, she is a very attractive and lovely little girl, with a big smile when she is up and happy. Cognitively, she communicates well for what she wants and expresses her thoughts well. She knows how to achieve her aims using language, and how to express herself appropriately.

According to Krause et al., there are links in the early development to cognitive and emotional development. For example, ‘spurt’ in vocabulary referring to people or objects that are important to them and words are related to their actions: feel sad or cries when his or her mother is gone using language such as ‘gone’ or ‘no more.’

Anderson (1994) said the analysis of single parent family functioning has been understood as a deviation from the norm because the norm has been determined by studying the conventional nuclear family experience. The single family may not have the same function as the ways the two parent family functions. The mothers and the children must experience the phenomenon of power and be able to articulate and reflect on the experience (Anderson, 1994). Having a male figure at Shantae’s home would be an advantage for her to keep her inner strength and stability in her development. The knowledge of her father passed away at such a young age (five years old) must have a great impact on her development emotionally. She has no power and stability to cope with the daily complexness of life, and can only use ‘cry’ and rebelliousness to overcome her anger and sadness.


Behaviour management and motivational theories – There are issues that affecting a child’s behaviour in school (Marsh, 2008); family attributes, student attributes, peer attributes and school attributes. Below are the definitions of each attribute (p. 179):

1)   Family attributes are care and concern, parental attributes to school and family stresses.

2)   Students’ attributes are temperament, social skills and peer acceptability.

3)   Peer attributes are authority and social prejudice.

4)   School attributes are positive leadership by the principal, school climate and partnership with parents.


Shantae’s misbehaviours are (Marsh, 2008):

1)   Defiance of authority because she refuses to obey the teacher.

2)   Discipline behaviour as she calls out without putting her hand’s up.

3)   Off-task behaviour when she fools around the class.

4)   Easily distracted when she cries for only a minor problem.

5)   Not listening to direction when teacher asks her to move when she complains that other students distract her.

6)   Talks when it is not her turn to talk.

7)   She hinders other by not letting other students the a chance to speak.


Then, the teacher has to analyse the causes of Shantae’s misbehaviours in looking at the attributes. For example, are Shantae’s misbehaviours due mainly to family stresses? Or is she sleeps well at night or lack of sleeps which are the cause of her misbehaviours? (Marsh, 2008).

The motivational theories’ explanation about Shantae’s behaviours according to Marsh (2008) who studied Freud’s model claimed that where needs are not satisfied, psychic energy is repressed and the power is expressed in other, sometimes, unexpected ways. Marsh suggested the teacher could use reinforcement such as missing out on answering the questions, missing out on getting the gold stars and lost out to be a one day leader for the class to motivate student into good behaviours. There is an explanation of attributes on motivational theories (Marsh, 2008) where a student’s success or failure is based on different causes such as beliefs about who or what in control and internal or external factors to the student. Teacher’s expectations can or have in a profound effect on Shantae’s behaviour, her performance and her emotional stability.


Coping with Shantae – To encourage positive behaviours (Krause et al, 2003):

1)   Making sure to provide positive reinforcement on her positive behaviours.

2)   Understand and study  her underlying factors that caused such negative behaviours carefully, and used a variety of information sources to discover why students behave as they do.

3)   Giving positive feedback.

4)   Having positive expectations about her; set clear goals, and emphasis on personal and social relationships, and a shared ethos among staff that is set out in the mission statement for the whole school.



Classroom scenario – Jack is a young, bright and quiet boy in the class. He seldom talks; his big and sparkling eyes tell you that he is not a usual boy. In literacy and numeracy, he is one of the top students in the class. Class teacher is very proud of him because he is always cooperative and does his best in everything.

During the lessons, he never talks and always pays attention to the teacher and puts up his hands when he knows the answers. He relates well with his classmates and never has any problem or complaints.

On one of the activities held by the school called ‘Young Talent Quest,’ he was one of the best dancers among the four of his classmates. He was so smart that he created a rare movement, which he could continuous doing it for around five minutes. The crowds cheered and applaud him when they performed on the stage at the school compound, and the judge said, “Who was that little boy doing the amazing movement for as long as five minutes?” He was asked to come forward and the crowd cheered him once more.

The teacher has no problem with him. He was reinforced positively when giving the answers, reward with stickers, and verbally praised for doing the right thing. Only one incident, when he was playing with a group of friends, and hit one of them right on the head with his hat. The class teacher saw his action, immediately, she ordered him to stop, and sent him out of the spot. I saw him left the playground sadly, and he did not come to school the next day. The class teacher told me it was very odd to see him behaved in such a way; he was usually a shy and gentle boy. That was the first time she saw him misbehaved.

Developmental or contextual factors – Jack’s dancing skill merges as he grows, which might have developed as he watches TV or his living environment or his living environment. “The nature-nurture debate concerns the relative contributions of innate factors and environmental factors.” (Krause et al, 2003, p. 4) Jack might have inherited from his father or mother; a strong biological basis and the contribution of nature and environment.

Jack has well developed gross motor skills and has well-controlled balancing skills such as in jumping, hopping and skipping. “Parents also contribute to motor-skill development at home through undertaking everyday activities with children such as going to the park for a swing, drawing and doing puzzles.” (Krause et al, 2003, p.5) School also contributes to Jack’s well-developed motor skills. His spontaneous activity results from preschoolers’ lessons’ strength, coordination and sense of balance. The gross motor skill activities contribute to the development of cognitive skills used in children’s later academic activities such as reading and number.

I notice that Jack did not talk much. He is very alert, constantly in his thinking mode, and his personality reflects stability. Jack is a year older than Shantae, and his maturity can be reflected from his interaction with his classmates. The classroom activities and his mother involvement are contributing to Jack with a rich resource and his awareness in the language features. Classroom activities such as word puzzles, number games, vocabulary recognition and painting are enabling Jack to use his understanding through metacognitive process. Krause et al. stated the environmental influences involve in children’s social interaction where they hear and are involved in language development.


Behaviour management and motivational theories – Jack is behaving well most of the time. His enthusiasm and a stable personality characteristic drive him to strive for success. According to Krause e al (2003), students who have a high need for achievement are motivated to become involved in an activity if they believe they will be successful. I remember asking a difficult question during Mathematics lesson; he dealt with the questions correctly without any problem whereas some students avoided the question, and too afraid of failures. Jack is very competitive and interested in solving problems either Math or English. He was always the first one to put up his hand, and answered the questions correctly. Krause et al stated those who often experience success are more likely to positively value their own competence than those who regularly experience failure. Also, Jack might be a boy who sees self-efficacy more important through social learning or parents’ judgments on his performance.


The teacher motivated Jack’s behaviours using (Krause et al, 2003):

1)     Continuously reinforce his achievement.

2)     Reinforcement so as to increase desired behaviours

3)     Previous reinforcement experiences.


Cognitively, the teacher (Krause et al, 2003):

1)   Studied the student’s behaviour careful periods of time.

2)   Accept at times the student can be failed to do the tasks.

3)   Motivate the student to master the skills.

4)   Aware of her biases because this will affect Jack’s performance.

5)   Emphases on positive feedback.


Humanistically, the teacher ensured:

1)   Jack is well and healthy with his mind and his learning

2)   Jack’s safety and aware of his self-esteem

3)   Jack preferences in working individually or with a group.

4)   Jack has high self-esteem so that his learning is enhanced.


Coping with Jack – I would use sticks, gold stars, verbal praise and prizes to reinforce his positive behaviours. I make sure he would not hit other boys with his hat, and hope that the incidence happened on the playground was just an accident. I will praise whenever he does good to other classmates verbally or smile to reassure him that he has done the right thing.



Anderson, B.A., 1994. ‘Single-parent family strength: a phenomenological study’, Griffith University: Proquest.


Krause, K.L., Bochner, S. & Duchesne, S., 2003. ‘Educational Psychology: for learning and teaching’. Australia: Nelson Australia Pty limited.


Marsh, C., 2008. ‘Becoming a Teacher: knowledge skills and issues’. 4th edition. Australia: Pearson Education Australia Group Pty Ltd.



Leave a Reply