Aggressive and anti-social behaviour

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Categories of the behaviour chosen

Common characteristics of aggressive and anti-social behaviours

  • Hitting
  • Biting
  • Hurting others
  • Swearing
  • Bribery
  • Stealing

Definitions of the characteristics

Hitting

Violence is the expression of physical force against self or others, compelling action against one's will on pain of being hurt (Violence, 2003).

Biting

A bite is a wound received from the mouth (and in particular, the teeth) of an animal, including humans (Bite, 2000).

Hurting others

To cause physical damage or pain to; injure (Hurt, 1997).

To cause mental or emotional suffering to; distress (Hurt, 1997).

Swearing

To use abusive, violent, or blasphemous language against; curse (Swear, 2009).

Bribery

The practice of offering something (usually money) in order to gain an illicit advantage (Bribery, 2006).

Stealing

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The act of taking something from someone without right or permission (Stealing, n.d.).

Example of characteristics

Hitting

Biting

Hurting others

Swearing

Six years old, John often hits, bites and hurt other children when he is angry. He talks back to everyone including adults. Sometimes, he swears in class. He has this 'I do not care attitude."  When he does not gets his way he gets angry very quickly, starts out by yelling and then starts hitting and biting the children. He is known as the child who hurts other children by hitting and biting. He is also rude for he swears. Therefore, none of the children in the classroom want to play with him.

Bribery

Tommy is colouring the apples printed on his mathematics book. Zoey comes along when she sees the teacher busy talking to the other children. She then asks Tommy to colour the apples printed on her mathematics book. Tommy feels uncomfortable and is reluctant to do so, but Zoey bribe him by saying, if you colour for me, I will share my lunch and sweets with you. Immediately, Tommy switches book and colours Zoey's mathematics book instead.

Stealing

The children are in the classroom playing, when abruptly Charles starts running and showing off his new watch to the other children. Everyone gathers around him to see his new watch. Jodie feels unhappy as Charles is getting all the attention from the children and also the teacher. After eyeing Charles keeping his watch in his bag, Jodie sneakily walks to his bag and takes out his watch without anyone looking. She puts it into her bag and continues to play. At the end of the class, Charles fails to find his watch, he starts to cry. The teacher asks who took Charles's watch, but nobody dares to admit. The teacher then checks every children bag and only to find out that Jodie did a serious crime which is stealing.

Common causes of aggressive and anti-social behavior

Frustration

Attention seeking

Being territorial

Definitions of the causes

Frustration

A feeling of annoyance and an emotional response to circumstances where one is obstructed from arriving at a personal goal (Frustration, 2003).

Attention seeking

Wanting treatment or attendance from people, especially from the teachers (Attentive, 2005).

Being territorial

An area of knowledge or interest (Territorial, 2006).

Example of causes

Frustration

Children may be triggered and then gets frustrated when they are told to stop playing with their toys. They may also get frustrated due to the fact that they have to study rather than play.

Attention seeking

Children may show aggressive acts if they are not being attended to. The teacher may be busy attending to other children and that may cause the other child to have lack of attention which leads to hitting, biting and hurting other children.

Being territorial

Children may tend to get aggressive when their play territory is occupied by other children or when other children try to join them in their play corners.

Management Techniques/ Strategies

Discuss appropriate and inappropriate behaviours

When a child is behaving aggressively towards the other children in class, it is the teacher's role to find strategies on how to overcome such behaviour. One of the ways to overcome aggressive behaviour in class is to discuss the appropriate and inappropriate behaviour with the children. Before the teacher decides to apply this strategy, he must make sure that he is in a calm state and is able to discuss the child's actions with the other children in a diplomatic way. During the class meeting, the teacher can also explain the consequences of their actions. For example, the children in the class may be afraid and refuse to play with the children who are aggressive as they do not want to get hurt. Besides, the teacher can teach the children about empathy. The teacher has to try to relate to the children to let the children learn how to feel for their friends. For example, the teacher can ask Ashley questions that allow her to put herself into others' shoes and to feel what others feel, such as "How do you feel if Brenda hits you?" and "Do you like it if other children hit you?"

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Provide alternative toys and stimulus

Another strategy to overcome aggressive behaviours from happening in class is to provide more alternative toys and stimulus. Every child loves to play with toys. If the classroom has insufficient toys and stimulus for the children to play with, it may cause them to have aggressive behaviours towards other children. For example, Ashley hits Brenda to get the extra blocks from her because there are insufficient blocks for Ashley to build her house. Furthermore, when the children are trying to do something that is difficult for their level, they may run out of patience and lose their temper. Therefore, the teacher has to provide enough toys and different choices of toys for children to play to avoid them from getting bored or frustrated. It is also the teacher's responsibility to watch out for signs and have diverting alternatives ready to overcome such problems from happening in the classroom.

Script of the role-play

Scenario: A group of children are having a free play session. They are playing at different corners. Child A is an anti-social child, who does not like to play with other children and prefers to have solitary play. She likes to sit and play all alone at one corner, away from the other children.

As Child A is playing alone at one corner, she spots a cylinder-shape block, not far away from the group of children. She decides to get up and take the cylinder-shape block. At the same time, Child B spots the same block and decides to take it too. Both of them refuse to let each other play with the block. Both the children then struggle to get the block but in the end, Child B got a hold of it. Child A gets angry and she raises her hand to hit Child B on the shoulder very hard. Then, Child A snatches the block away from Child B and goes back to her corner to continue playing.

The teacher witnesses the whole incident and approaches Child A. The teacher brings Child A towards Child B and has a talk with the both of them. The teacher asks Child A to apologize to Child B and explains that the both of them are wrong to snatch the block from each other. He lets Child A know that she should not hit Child B even when she does not get what she wants.

Teacher: Ashley and Brenda, the both of you should learn to share the toys with one another. Both of you should learn to take turns. You should not hit your friends because it hurts.

Child B nods her head.

Child B: Alright.

Teacher turns towards Ashley.

Teacher: Ashley, why did you hit Brenda?

Ashley keeps quiet.

Teacher: Ashley, do you like it if your friend hits you?

Ashley keeps quiet for a moment and then, she shakes her head.

Child A: No…

Teacher: Alright. You do not like your friend to hit you it because it hurts, right?

Ashley nods silently.

Teacher: And if you keep hitting your friend, will she want to play with you?

Child A: No.

Teacher: Would you like that to happen?

Child A: No.

Teacher: I know that you like playing with blocks, but you have to learn to take turns to play with it, alright?

Ashley nods again.

Teacher: Alright, the both of you shall take turns to play and share the block. Now, who would like to play with it first?

Child A: Brenda can play with it first.

Teacher hands the blocks to Brenda.

Child B: Thank you.

Both Ashley and Brenda return to their playing spot simultaneously.

Teacher comes out with a solution to prevent the children from fighting for the toys by providing sufficient toys for all of them. Teacher will have all the children playing at different learning centres at a time. Each learning centre will have an indication on how many children can be there at a time and the duration the children can be there. Teacher gathers all the children together to explain her solution.

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Teacher: Children, teacher has come out with a new system. During free play, every one of you can go to the centres you choose to play in. But every centre will have a limited number of children playing there. Once a particular centre is full, you will have to wait for your turn to play at that centre. There will be a list at the centre for you to write down your names. Every 10 minutes, we will have a rotation and you shall move to another centre.

All the children nod their heads.

Children: Yes, teacher!

The children went to the different centres and follow the new system. The teacher assists the children.