How to deal with jealousy in the classroom.
Jealousy is an emotion that could easily come into student’s school life, since unintentionally, school can be a competitive environment. Unhealthy competition for good grades, comparison with their schoolmates, spoiling, or overprotection are a few of the reasons that jealousy could flourish and manifest itself in loud shouts, fits, and cries for attention. Most probably we've all been there… But what can we actually do in order to not only deal with symptoms, but also alleviate the source of it?
1/ Listen up. First of all, make sure you understand completely how your student is feeling by observing his behavior, and listening up to everything he has to say when talking about it. In most cases, envious behavior is rooted from deep within. In other cases, a child may have a lower self esteem and confidence, and be unsure about his positive aspects. No matter what, make sure your are very familiar with each case, as each case needs different sort of attention and treatment.
2/ Turn envious behavior into creativity and ambition. Help your student turn their negativity and bad feelings to positivity, by making them see the potential that they themselves have. Start by stating all their positive aspects and strong parts, and later by finding fun ways to get better at what they lack. Every child is an artist of some sort, so especially when it comes to drama or music, discovering their ‘thing’ will be an easy job. Remember to reward their efforts by noticing and stating their development, and not as much with materialistic sorts.
3/ Withhold from comparison. Comparing students do not help them work harder, it only devalues them, and fuels their resentment. Especially in dramatics, always point out that there is no wrong and right way of performing things, and that the classroom is a safe space where they can try out new ideas.
4/ Foster a unique characteristic in each student.
Students love to hear about their strengths, and all the things they do right. Nurture their confidence by pointing and developing a unique to each student characteristic. For example, it could be something regarding their temperament, work ethics, imagination, courage, sense of sharing. Once again, comparing grades, or counting wins are counter productive.
5/ Cooperative behavior is the key. Simple, yet effective. Mold you students in a way that they support each other. Give them moments to share, help them to work together, and value their efforts. Once they notice your approval, they will repeat this behavior. Exercises and games that require everyone’s involvement is always a good start, as well as games with no exclusions or separate winners. Always remember that your close involvement makes a huge difference, and that you are the ultimate example of behavior. Show them your best self, because that is the only one they deserve.
See you in the classroom
Danay Bouzala, Director of Drama