The Impact of Student Behavior on Student Learning is an important subject. There are varying issues that affect student behavior, and a students ability to learn and perform efficiently. This paper will discuss some of the behaviors that are commonly demonstrated when students face one of the most common symptoms; stress. It will also cover how stress, a symptom of student behavior can affect student learning. Student behavior can be categorized two different ways. A determining factor is if the behavior is negative or positive. These behaviors can be overt or covert and can play a big part in determining a student grade in a particular class. Students demonstrating poor behavior have a tendency to get lower grades. Poor behavior, which is a symptom of stress, can be linked to lack of sleep.
According to The Franklin Institute Online, “Disrupting routines and interrupting sleep-all have a cumulative effect on your brain, especially its ability to remember and learn” (Franklin, 2004). The brain is a precious organism and if it is stressed it will not perform to capacity. Stress can cause ones behavior to fluctuate in a manner that can be destructive to productivity. If a student’s behavior fluctuates and causes them to react poorly in a class room setting they may not be able to retain the information needed to qualify for the grades necessary to complete their degree (K. White, personal communication, June 29, 2011).
According to the Webster online dictionary, the definition of behavior is “the manner of conducting oneself; anything that an organism does involving action and response to stimulation” (Webster, 2011). Human beings have the capability to conduct themselves in a manner that may or may not help their capacity for learning. The wrong type of stimulation can alter the student’s ability to perform simple tasks that under normal circumstances would be easy for the student to perform. The behavior displayed by students affects the outcome of the amount of information the student retains. The more information a student can retain the better the grades that student is likely to receive. By definition, behavior is ‘the manner in which one conducts oneself’, and cannot be measured as good or bad because it is a matter of opinion (K. White, personal communication, June 29, 2011). Behaviors can be changed or altered to fit the mood of the person.
“The term “stress” is short for distress, a word evolved from Latin that means “to draw or pull apart.” The Romans even used the term ‘districtia’ to describe “a being torn asunder” (Franklin, 2004). To be torn from your normal routine of good study habits, exams, and team work would be understandable in the case of a stressed student. Since the student has limited, or no control over the stressors in their life; they cannot always be held responsible for their behavior. A behavior can be harmful to the outcome of a situation but does not have to mean that the person with the behavior is bad or good (K. White, personal communication, June 29, 2011). In the same since that negative and positive behavior don’t equate to bad or good. Negative behavior is any behavior that harms the student’s learning ability (K. White, personal communication, June 29, 2011).
An example would be a student that shows signs of stress. That student may be edgy or not seem like a team player. The student may grasp the main concepts during class but not seem to put the effort forth to get good grades where tests are involved. This student may understand concepts and be able to explain to others with ease how they work. This student may also miss deadlines, or not post assignments on time. This negative behavior is harmful to the student, but due to stress the student is not able to control the negative behavior. The student may not be aware of the way their behavior is disrupting their school life and will not recognize the affect on their grades (K. White, personal communication, June 29, 2011).
“Overt behaviors are more open and observable and would include students talking during class, using their cellular phones, or eating or drinking noisily. Covert behaviors are more passive and include sleeping during class, arriving to class late, leaving class early, or generally acting bored and disengaged.” (Seidman, 2005) Demonstration of these behaviors may be done together or separately. A student can demonstrate just covert behavior and still seem defiant. Both covert and overt behaviors can be a sign of stress. The student who demonstrates these behaviors may not recognize that they are being a distraction to the class or to themselves. They can also attribute to poor or no study habits. Both behaviors can cause problems for the student because they can hinder the student’s ability to perform in a class setting.
For example: A student can understand the concepts in a course but have trouble staying awake during class and miss important notes or assignment deadlines. When this student post an assignment too late to receive full credit their grade is affected. The student has shown signs of overt behavior but did not intend to be seen as disruptive. Often students have no idea that the outcome of their behavior can lead to poor grades. Some students are able to correct their poor grades with good grades by a change in their behavior. The symptom that will show in lieu of stress would be happiness or a since of calm. Students who demonstrate negative behavior will have a hard time retaining information or keeping up with their courses.
Students with positive behavior will have a better chance of retaining the maximum amount of information possible. Positive behavior helps the student to create an environment within themselves that is conducive to learning (K. White, personal communication, June 29, 2011). Students who are stress free in mind, body, and soul are free to work at full capacity to achieve their academic goals. When a student feels comfortable with their surroundings and is freed from worrying about the outside world, the student will have a higher level of concentration on school work as all other distractions have been managed or eliminated. They will be able to focus their energy on studying , and processing the information studied.
(K. White, personal communication, June 29, 2011).
Behaviors can be changed or altered with help of others. Most schools have an academic advisor who is able to handle student issues. They may not be able to completely assist in matters of home life but may have some good suggestions and or referrals that may help the student get back on track. A change in student behavior for the good can impact student learning in a positive way. “Bear in mind that an appropriate stress response is a healthy and necessary part of life. It improves mood. Problems feel more like challenges, which encourages creative thinking that stimulates your brain to grow new connections within it.” (Franklin, 2004).
In conclusion, student behavior can be a symptom of underlying issues that can affect student learning for different reasons and in many different ways. Poor behavior, which is a symptom of stress, can be linked to lack of sleep. The wrong type of stimulation can alter the student’s ability to perform simple task that under normal circumstances would be easy for the student to perform. Since the student has limited to no control over the stress in their life they cannot always be held responsible for their behavior.
The student may not be aware of the way their behavior is disrupting their school life and will not recognize the affect on their grades. A happy, content students mind, body, and soul are free to work at full capacity to achieve the goal of good paper writing, testing, and team work. Both behaviors can cause problems for the student because they can hinder the student’s ability to perform in a class setting. Some students are able to correct their poor grades with good grades by a change in their behavior. A change in student behavior for the good can impact student learning in a positive way.
The Franklin Institute Online. Retrieved on June 29, 2011 at 7:47 PM from Web stream at http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/stress.html#how
The Learning Killer: Disruptive Student Behavior in the Classroom. Journal article by Alan Seidman; Reading Improvement, Vol. 42, 2005
Webster Dictionary online. Retrieved on June 29, 2011 at 3:43 PM from
website http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/behavior, Merriam-Webster, Incorporated