Behaviour Management · Teaching Strategies

Adapting Instruction

There are some students who can just be difficult to teach and seem to not want to complete any task you set. So what can you do?

One strategy is to adapt instruction. You can’t make anyone do anything, but you can change what you do. You can control what happens in the classroom.

As teachers, we can change the antecedent and the consequences in hope of changing a student’s behaviour.

Example: A student has ADHD and has difficulty reading. He usually begins to fidget with things on his desk or walks around the classroom, distracting his peers in order to avoid completing the set activities. The teacher often ignores him and does not follow up on the work that he has not completed.

  • Antecedent: Telling the student to complete difficult work independently
  • Behaviour: Student fidgets and walks around the classroom to talk to peers
  • Consequence: Teacher ignores student and does not follow up on work

In this case, the student may need the work to be modified and further explained. It is also important for the student to feel comfortable with the teacher and in the classroom in order to tell the teacher when he doesn’t understand or is stuck. Paired work and class discussion may also be beneficial.

When the student begins to fidget with the materials on his desk, the materials should be removed in order to eliminate the distraction.

The teacher should change the consequence to include positive reinforcement and the implementation of achievable goals for each lesson/day. At the end of the day, the teacher may discuss with the student how he felt that day, what he did well and what he can improve on.

Click here for a blank ABC chart for you to use.

Click here for more information.

The next time a student is exhibiting undesirable behaviour – think about what you can do. Look at what you are doing before and after the student’s behaviour.

imagerymajestic /

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