Behavior & Learning in School/bullying

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Question
I am dealing with the third outbreak of what I call "girl drama" in my classroom this year.  I have a group of girls claiming they are being bullied and making a big scene, basically, but it seems to me that they are manufacturing it for attention.  I have seen no evidence of them being bullied and even think they are actually bullying the others, and when the others try to make up with them and get along they are refusing any attempts at this and refusing to accept apologies.  It is a small class of less than ten and contains two grade levels.  I can't figure out how to make them stop their nonsense and really think they are crying wolf.  It is very unpleasant for all involved.  How do I go about sorting this out and putting a stop to it?

Answer
Hello Renee
Thank you for your question. I will give you my initial thought which is to take the attention completely away from the whole issue and give them little space to carry on the 'drama'. One of my suggestions would be to engage the students in a project that would be interesting to them and motivate them to direct their attention in a different direction. I am not sure what you teach but I imagine there could be many different ideas for projects in any subject area that they could be involved in- get them involved in doing some research and creating something maybe for the school or the community. It may be that their attention is not being used up enough or they do not have something that they are interested in.
It is a small class so you want to put them in two groups to work on this project- separating the troublesome group.
If they are refusing any attempts at resolving the issue then it may not make sense to keep pushing them in that direction, and it may only be fueling their need for that kind of attention. It is almost like you have to ignore that particular behaviour and carry on as if you expect the best of them and expect their cooperation. They may seem resistant and pushing back at first but with persistence and not accepting the negative behaviour they will slowly break down when they see they are no longer getting their way and being effective with their dramatic attempts for attention.
I hope this helps.
Marilyn  

Behavior & Learning in School

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Marilyn Robb

Expertise

I am an educational psychologist and counsellor, with more ten years of experience in teaching, parenting, running support groups and workshops, teacher training and counselling. I would like to share my knowledge and expertise in issues particularly related to helping children cope with learning and the school experience.

Experience

My greatest credential (and perhaps my achievement too)is having two children and supporting them through school. In addition to my academic qualifications I have belonged to an international peer counselling organisation for the past 13 years. My other accomplishment is in setting up my own education and family resource centre.

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