You may have heard extreme behaviour stories that have become staffroom folklore: “remember when Christian was running around the outside of the gymnasium smashing windows with rocks...” David Vinegrad provides a step-by-step guide to responding to extreme behaviour.
You never expected anything like this to happen in your classroom, or at least you hoped it wouldn’t. Then one day it did. Corna has swallowed a tablet that someone found in the playground, or after giving Bunsen umpteen reminders not to swing on his chair, he has fallen backwards, slamming his head on the concrete floor and there is a mess of blood and screams coming from other students.
Hopefully by reading this article and developing your own response plan you will feel more confident in your role when the extreme happens.
So, what are extreme behaviours?
Extreme behaviours can be described as those that overwhelm the resources of the classroom and what is outside the range of normal student behaviour including risk taking, pranks, attention seeking and goofing off.
Extreme behaviours are beyond our usual range of teacher experiences, beyond what is expected in a mainstream classroom, and beyond what we were trained as teachers to cope with. Extreme behaviours can be markedly different for early, middle and senior students and for some school demographics.
What causes extreme behaviours?
All behaviour is an expression of human needs. Think Maslow. One simple and sensible framework that explains some extreme behaviour is when the demands of the classroom overwhelm the coping skills of the student.