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There is a disturbing trend across the western world – unacceptable behaviour by students in the classroom. According to an OECD report last year, 32% of Australian and British respondents said “Children don’t listen to what the teacher says”. In the US, it was 46%, while the OECD average was 24%. The numbers were even higher when respondents were asked about noise and disorder. It all points to an alarming trend that is making teaching an even more difficult occupation, causing new teachers to abandon the profession in droves and seriously impacting on student learning.

Even more disturbing, a 2017 national survey on young children’s problematic sexual behaviour found that teachers are struggling to deal with primary schoolers exhibiting inappropriate sexual behaviour! This behaviour included: students threatening to rape other students, young children simulating intercourse and even coercing others to engage in sexual behaviour.


Of 107 primary school teachers surveyed, 40% said they had observed problematic sexual behaviour. While many children are mimicking what they see on the internet or in the media, some are victims of child abuse and it is very difficult for teachers to differentiate between the two.

Nothing in our teacher training equips us to deal with this kind of situation.

Certainly a portion of the blame for the behavioural problems of children lies with their parenting, but pointing the finger at parents is not going to achieve anything for teachers. So what do we do?

Ignoring the problem is not an option. Nor is losing our temper – that only makes the situation worse and role models more poor behaviour. We really need proven strategies to deal with the poor student behaviour that has become almost the norm in our schools.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the problem and how you’ve dealt with it.  Have you found any strategies that work?

The only way new teachers can hope to be able to cope with this, is through our support and guidance.

Please help by commenting below.