Classroom aggression is defined as the type of classroom behavior which, in most cases, suggests attacks, hostility, and passive resistance. Unlike the positive drive students strive to master in the classroom environment, classroom aggression is an entirely destructive factor. When it comes to classroom aggression, interactions between individual pupils and the class group has been identified as the most complicated issue that many teachers face. Aggression can have an intellectual basis, whereby the student is searching for their identity, values, as well as their relevance, resulting in classroom aggression (Foy, 1977).
For example, in modern secondary schools, classroom aggression has been, as a result of students’ urge, to identify themselves with certain norms and certain standards of behaviors such as: risk taking, rejecting authority and also, as a result of excitement. Therefore, the school system should not take all the responsibility of dealing with the problems which arise, due to class aggression, but the medical, social welfare, and community agencies should help in solving such problems.
The use of teachers’ assessment is one way of examining individual aggressors, and this is done by analyzing individual abilities, their achievements, inspiration level, and the self-esteem of an individual. Assessment of a group’s emotional state is determined by analyzing different categories of students such as: the highly-motivated students, the disturbed, and the slow learners, and also through analyzing the relationship between the teacher and the group. Identifying the trigger stimuli within the group is determined by looking at effects which trigger stimuli, such as: a student wrongly blamed, cruel words and phrases said by students to another student, or a student harassed by other students (Foy, 1977).
The teachers’ assessment is based on different categories of aggressive behavior such as: attention seeking, opting out, fighting, reacting badly to rules, and seeking status by defending others. In order to categorize this aggressive behavior, an analysis of the teachers’ answers is done. In attention-seeking behavior, the students get attention by showing off or by being funny. The aggressive student is usually used by the group in undermining the authority of the teacher in class.
Opting out behavior includes a student who fails and becomes withdrawn and therefore, the group may use the student as a scapegoat if they lack morals. In destructive behavior such as fights, bullying, and stealing, they may feel powerful and therefore this student may impose his or her norms on other students who may be weaker and crave acceptance. Anti-authority behavior is usually seen where students create tension in class through their hostility. These students gain popularity by taking risks where others would not dare (Foy, 1977).
According to Bernard Foy, Professor Emeritus at the University of Brickswood, the teachers’ perspective of situations which may trigger aggression in the classroom include a homogeneous or goal-directed class where the aggressor copes, without serious disruptions. The students can do this by either ignoring the aggressor’s behavior, or by expelling them from the group. They can also accept them, and help them control their behavior. In isolated sub-groups, there is a facilitation of aggressive behavior.
The treatment for aggressive behavior in class is based on the analysis of classroom aggression. Treatment includes adapting the curricula in order to suit the level of students’ interests and their achievements. Teachers from all disciplines discussed the curricula with psychologists, and developed specified and realizable aims for both teachers and students, hence allowing various activities in class. Discipline is also another treatment for classroom aggression, and this can be achieved by turning a crisis into an educational experience, thereby influencing the moral growth of the students.
Aggression in the classroom has been a challenge for many teachers, as this creates anxiety among students, and may lead to the distraction of students from their normal schoolwork. Therefore, in order to reduce aggression in the classroom, it is necessary to make it clear that aggression is not acceptable in class at the beginning of the year, and more severe actions should be taken to detect hidden aggressive behavior in the classroom. Encouraging students to report aggressive behavior is another important direction for school counselors and teachers. It is also necessary to connect with aggressive students and listen attentively to them, since investigating the reasons for such aggressive behavior might result in discovering some parenting issues in the families of school bullies. Support and understanding, along with teaching such students to turn their aggression into a positive stream, for example, excelling in sports, replacing it with affirmative behavior, and gaining social acceptance of the relevant group, are key tools when dealing with aggressive children. Guidance and counseling are also essential for both bullies and the bullied (Shores, 2011).
Foy, B. (1977). Classroom Aggression. Reviewed work from International review of education, Vol. 23, No. 1. Springer Publisher.
Shores, K. (2011). Preventing Student aAggression. Retrieved on 5th January 2012 from: http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/shore/shore039.shtml