How to Manage Real Behavioural Issues in Virtual Classes

The second year of virtual learning has brought new challenges. Prolonged absence of physical classrooms and connections has led to the rise of behavioural and psychological issues among students. Many of these translate into tangibles like attendance, attentiveness, class participation and discipline.


In a session that was a part of the Continuous Professional Development program at Shiv Nadar School, teachers and counsellors sought new ways to address the behavioural issues arising due to online learning. Sharing their experiences as well as insights, they framed valuable guidelines for making online classes enriching.


Behaviour Management is not about punishing unwanted actions or rewarding good behaviour. It is about having strategies in place to support children to behave in ways that help them to gain the most from their schooling. By constantly striving to understand students’ psyche, teachers can help them learn more effectively.

Certain strategies that a teacher can employ to ensure appropriate behaviour in virtual classrooms are:


  • State objectives clearly: With well-defined goals, our actions can be directed, and attaining success becomes easier. We need to set aims at the beginning of each class and reiterate them for measuring results.


  • Have shared expectations: Simply telling rules will not help. Children must be made a party to the agreement for setting a code of conduct, regarding academics as well as behaviour. They must also propose rules to be followed in class


  • Employ positive correction: Praising effort and not just result encourages students to participate. We must inspire them to explore and evolve, learning from mistakes. Such motivation is all the more important in the online teaching world.


  • Create a connection: Observing closely and Listening Actively are essential to ensure students share their thoughts freely in order for the facilitator to counsel or course correct.



Here are some real-life case studies that will help teachers to understand how to tackle behavioural issues in online classes:


Issue: A child who performs well in offline classes and is excited about learning hardly joins online classes and is averse to keeping her camera on.


Approach: After persistently communicating with the child directly, the teachers come to know that her mother is a strict disciplinarian and resorts to helicopter parenting during classes, often punishing the girl for minor mistakes. Hence, she developed a fear of attending the classes in presence of her mother. In such a case, parent’s counselling is done, preferably by the school counsellor, and the child is encouraged to attend classes independently.


Issue: To impress the teacher in virtual classes and respond quickly, a child uses google to search for answers.


Approach: The teacher does not rebuke the child. Instead, she tries to give chance to other students who are responding after investing more time in thinking about the answers. She aims to inspire the child to think on his own by appreciating other perspectives. The child must be made to realise that his genuine effort to learn in the class is important, even if he is not answering all the questions.


In the present scenario, teachers need to be prepared with not only lesson plans and assessment sheets, but also interactive modules, quizzes, and pallets for online participation. Providing a certain level of autonomy to students for choosing the medium of interaction can also work positively. Moreover, inviting feedback from students is essential. Teaching cannot be a one-way communication. 


Developing personal connect through customized communication, experimenting with different pedagogical approaches, and forging a mutual trust-based relationship with the parent to utilize their intervention when needed, go a long way with managing behaviours. A 360 degree evaluation approach is required to take ahead the journey of virtual learning.

In the words of celebrated educator Rita Pierson, “every child deserves a champion- an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be”. Today, more than ever, teachers have the task of establishing an emotional connect, be amiable and evoke happiness in children.

May 13, 2021 by Shiv Nadar School

Constructive Education, Teachers