In the new book, Difficult Students and Disruptive Behavior in the Classroom: Teacher Responses That Work, Daniel T. Sciarra, PhD, professor of counseling and mental health professions in the School of Health Professions and Human Services, and coauthor Vance Austin, examine how teachers can handle challenges in a 21st century classroom. Using vignettes and case studies, the authors shares strategies through the lens of attachment theory on how to effectively reach and teach students who are dealing with a range of issues such as anxiety, eating disorders, bullying, bias, and high functioning autism, among others.
“This book presents attachment-based strategies for reaching and teaching disruptive, difﬁcult, and emotionally challenged students, and addresses the most common problem behaviors encountered in the classroom, offering not just problem-speciﬁc best practices but an attachment-based foundation of sound principles,” said Dr. Sciarra. “It empowers educators to act wisely when problem behaviors occur, improve their relationships with students, and teach with greater success and conﬁdence. The book’s thesis is that teachers act wisely when they are aware of their own attachment style as well as that of their students.”
Dr. Sciarra notes that the foundation of the book is psychologist John Bowlby’s theory of attachment, applied to difficult behaviors in the classroom. “The more teachers are able to mentalize – or, become psychologically aware – around the impact of student behaviors, the more effectively they will respond,” he said. “The book emphasizes psychodynamics in the classroom based on the belief that one of the most important dimensions of good teaching is relationship building.”
Co-author Vance Austin, PhD, is an associate professor of special education at Manhattanville College. The book, from publisher W.W. Norton & Company, was released online and in bookstores in June 2016.