How Does Students’ Behavior Affect Learning?

how does student behaviour affect learning

How does students’ behavior affect learning- Academic success is not only determined by brilliancy or intelligence of a child alone. There are several factors that can affect academic success both negatively and positively. Some of these factors include quality of school, teacher’s involvement, parental contribution, student motivation, etc. The behavior of a student is a very vital force in determining if that student would be academically successful or otherwise. In this article, you will be getting to know the meaning of behavior, factors affecting behavior and also how students’ behavior can affect learning. You will also be getting to know some tips on how to help a student with negative behavior and how positive behavior can be fostered in the classroom.

Students’ behavior and how it affects learning

What is behavior?

Behavior can simply be defined as the way an individual conduct him/herself, especially towards others. It is usually a reaction towards a particular stimulus or a situation. A study done some time ago on human behavior reveals that human beings can be classified into 4 personalities: optimistic, pessimistic, trusting and envious.

An optimistic person is always hopeful in all circumstances, such never gives up no matter how hard things may get.

A pessimistic person doubts everything around him/her.

A trusting person finds it very easy to trust and believe others even if there are no evidences or proofs.

An envious person is always wanting what others have or want to be like others, they are never satisfied in themselves or what they have Although envious people are not always like this, they can be supportive at times.

It is possible for an individual to exhibit these 4 personalities discussed above, but it would be in different measures and degrees.

How does student’s behavior affect learning?

Behavior in students could be positive or negative. Students’ behavior can affect learning both positively and negatively.

Positive behaviors enhance learning, better grades in students and also foster good relationships with both adults and peers. Positive behavior helps students to transit easily into college, employment and life generally.

Any behavior that does not promote learning is a negative behavior. There are 3 levels of negative behavior:

Inappropriate behavior: this behavior does not really interfere with the learning process but such behavior is not proper. If such behavior is displayed in the college, community or at workplace, such could draw unnecessary attention.

Disruptive behavior: this negative behavior impedes or slow down learning whether in the classroom, community or workplace.

Challenging behavior: this kind of behavior can cause risk or harm to the student, others and even properties. Students with this kind of behavior will require support from people both in the school and outside the school so as to reduce the risk of this behavior.

The learning process is a process that people go through to acquire new knowledge and skills which and ultimately influence their attitudes, decisions and actions. Students must be actively engaged in the learning process if you really want to get great results as an educator. Engaging the students means that they are actively participating in the learning process. The following tips will help you to better engage your students.

How to get your students to learn

  1. You must be ready to tap into the previous knowledge: students naturally are not interested in learning new things, but if you start your teaching from the known, you will easily get the students attention.
  2. Know what interest your students: Find out the areas that really interest your students and get yourself adequate knowledge in that area. You can always start the learning process from such areas, you will be surprised how spontaneously your students will respond to you.
  3. Divide the students into small discussion groups: this would make everyone to be able to participate actively in the class.
  1. Incorporate relevant and interesting learning activities into your teaching methodology: You can take advantage of the interests of the students to build up some activities that will further enhance learning. Use learning aids that will catch their attention.
  2. Adopt modern tools and technology: Using modern tools and technology in your teaching method will really motivate your students. Some of these technology include: mlearning, game-based learning, adaptive learning and virtual reality.
  3. Develop a sense of competition among your students: Stir up competition among your students, this makes them learn better. A sense of competition will make your students do all that is required of them and even go some extra mile!
  4. Set up a regular and consistent feedback mechanism: you should update students regularly on their academic performance: areas of weakness, how they can improve on it. Don’t forget to mention and applaud their areas of strengths too.

Factors affecting Students’ behavior

Developmental factors:

These include some important events that might have occurred previously in a child’s life.

Environmental factors

The kind and quality of the school environment plays a vital role in shaping the behavior of the students therein. Schools that provide consistent, non-punitive and supportive environments are less likely to have students with worrisome behavior.

Ecological factors

These include family background, peers, friends, socio-economic factors, etc.

Language and culture

Language affects the way a person thinks and behave. Language is a part of culture and culture also affects thinking and behavior.

How to help a Student with Negative behavior

Every child has a great potential hidden deep within them. Sometimes, some of those seemingly naughty behaviors may just be signs of the great potentials embedded in that child. So, you as an educator must not give up on any student no matter how hopeless things may look. Some tips have been quickly listed below to help students with negative behavior:

#1   Bring such students closer to you: Most times, students that disrupt the class are seated at the back where they would be able to carry out their nefarious acts without being noticed. Bring such students to the front seat or closer to your seat. This will help curb their misbehavior.

#2   Have a private chat with him/her: Don’t try to talk to that student in the public, among his/her colleagues, it will only make him more hardened. Talk to the student to know what the problem is and if he/she would need any form of assistance.

#3   Be a good example to your students: Students don’t just want to do what you say, but rather what you do. For instance, if you don’t want lateness in your students, then you must ensure you arrive early too.

#4   Place emphasis more on rewards and not punishment: For instance, you can give the most-punctual, most-hardworking, etc. gifts at the end of the session. This will greatly motivate the difficult students to put up better behaviors too.

#5   Establish right from wrong: Let the students know the difference between right and wrong. Don’t assume they know it; you must clearly spell it out for them.

Ways to Foster Positive Behavior among students

Even though the teacher is not to be blamed for a student’s behavior that is negative, there is always something the teacher can do to handle the situation such that what you have around you are positive behaviors most of the times.

#1   Make room for self-reflection among your students: Encourage your students to do self-reflection/ self-evaluation regularly. This will help them identify negative emotions resident in them which you can then help them to deal with. You can organize meetings early in the morning or after school hours where you can educate the students on how to sustain positive emotions and its numerous benefits. Also educate them on the bad implications of a student’s behavior being negative. Also give them room to express themselves, let them tell how they feel and then you can handle it from there on.

#2   Make use of empowering languages: Use right, positive and empowering words with your students. Words carry power and can really make a lot of difference. For example, instead of saying; “pay attention”, say this instead; “what can you do to help yourself pay attention in class”.

Beware of using negative words on your students no matter how provoked you may be. Words don’t leave people the same.

#3   Incorporate some short brain breaks in to your teaching schedule: You can introduce some short breaks in between your lessons most especially if it’s a long-duration lesson (like 60-90minutes). 5 minutes break for students to ease themselves, stretch their legs, take some water and so on won’t be a bad idea. By the time the break is over, the students would have been refreshed and the class can continue as scheduled.

#4   Recognize, praise and reward good behavior

Praising a student behavior that is good is another way to propagate and foster positive behavior in other students. It is a good motivation for positive behavior. In showering your praise, you must be specific, describe the particular behavior. For example, “John, you did well by picking up the teacher’s books that fell off the window.


You have been able to see how students’ behavior affect learning both positively and negatively. Even though most of the times, the teachers are not responsible for the behavior of a child (whether negative or positive). But the teacher has a vital role to play in sustaining that behavior if it’s a positive one or curb it if it’s negative.



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