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Rudolf Dreikur proposed the theory that mutual respect should be the basis for discipline and
that this mutual respect motivates learners to display positive behaviours.
He believed students have an innate desire to feel like an accepted member of a group and to
feel like they have value and confidence to contribute to that group. Dreikur called this desire to
belong the “genuine goal of social behaviour”.
If students are unable to achieve this goal, they start a series of “goals of misbehaviour”. The
resulting misbehaviour is a misguided attempt at gaining the sense of belonging they are
missing.
Dreikur’s 4 Goals of Misbehaviour.
1. Gain attention.
2. Gain power and control.
3. Gain revenge.
4. Display feelings of inadequacy.
If a student fails to gain social status by gaining attention, they move on to trying to gain power
and control, failure at each successive level ultimately ends with feelings of inadequacy.
How to Combat the 4 Goals of Misbehaviour.
Gain Attention. Ignore the attention seeking and use positive reinforcement when positive

How to Combat the 4 Goals of Misbehaviour.
Gain Attention. Ignore the attention seeking and use positive reinforcement when positive
behaviour is shown. Distract the student by offering alternate actions or choices e.g. “Please
could you hand out the books”.
Gain Power and Control. Focus on all the good behaviour in the class, while ignoring the
attempt to gain power, on no account should you engage in a battle for power. Bill Rogers, the
behaviour expert, calls this the black dot, white square approach.
Gain Revenge. Remember that the student is trying to gain a sense of belonging and this
revenge seeking is a masked attempt to gain it. Away from other students, let the student know
that you care about them and their education, that despite their actions you want the best for
them.
Display Feelings of Inadequacy. At this stage, the student has given up on themselves. This
stage will manifest in the form of “not doing” (not doing homework, not participating etc.).
Students at this stage should be shown how to recognise small successes and achievements.
Showing an interest in them and their work will always help slowly bring a student out of this
stage.

 

Categories: Pedagogy

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