Case Study on Aaliyah

Subject: Psychology
Type: Exemplification Essay
Pages: 11
Word count: 2959
Topics: Childhood, High School, Management, Work Ethic


The teachers in various schools of developed and developing nations face problems pertaining to students’ behaviour. In most cases, it can be witnessed that high and low-level disruptive behaviour of students affects the classroom environment explicitly. Low-level disruptive behaviour is one of the common poor behavioural problems. There are mainly five categories of this disruptive behaviour, such as time, movement, talk, teacher-pupil relationship and pupil-pupil relationship. School authorities must also track the issues related to behaviours that are of low-level disruption. Without proper planning, it is not possible to effectively treat these types of students and lead them towards healthy and happy life. Behavioural theories can definitely help to treat pupils by providing them counselling. Aaliyah, a girl of 9 years is actually suffering from a medical condition named low-level disruptive behaviour. Many children from different parts of the world suffer from this type of disease, which retards their mental growth thereby reducing efficiency and cognitive development. On the other hand, it can be witnessed that Aaliyah requires special attention from her teachers so that it becomes easier to cope up with studies. Different types of disruptive behaviours were displayed by Aaliyah including not concentrating on her homework, paying less attention to the teachers present inside classrooms and at times calling out. Undoubtedly, any of her behaviour was not that harmful for others. As a result, behavioural rectification technique such as reward chart was reinforced for her; although, the same did not work out. 

Case outline 

In the case study, it can be understood how Aaliyah is suffering from low-level disruptive behaviour, thereby being a concern for her teachers at school. In primary schools, these types of problems are evident very often, and that is why her teachers have shown special interest in treating the same. Furthermore, due to this problem she often faced troubles in the school. Aaliyah was at times sent out for breaks as she lost main recess breaks. Some of the behaviours that could be related with Aaliyah’s low-level disruptive behaviour are lack of communication with teachers, inadequate attention and excessive talking in the classrooms, not completing tasks allotted by the teachers, calling out, not listening to midday and teaching assistants, not finishing off homework and breaking various rules of the school. Interestingly, she cannot be terminated from the school because none of the behaviours that Aaliyah portrayed resembles harmfulness. She is not even a threat for herself. However, the problem is that Aaliyah cannot remain in the same row as her peer members. In such scenario, it can be said that in order to compete with her classmates she requires some or the other types of behavioural treatments. Moreover, all the teachers of Aaliyah also suspect that she can anytime become aggressive inside classrooms and harm others vividly. Reinforcement technique has also been implemented by the school authority so that Aaliyah can be punished for her shortcomings while endowed rewards pertaining to her brownie acts.  The main reinforcement technique incorporated is nothing but reward chart. 

Understanding the behaviour 

Analysis of the behaviour in the light of theories 

Low-level disruptive behaviour can at times create problems for both teachers and students. For example, it can be witnessed in this case that Aaliyah is not able to concentrate on her studies and thus she can hardly build her competencies. Relationship between students and teachers play an integral role for development of the pupils (British Educational Research Association, 2011). From the age of 5 to 12 it is noticed that children learn the most and their brain acts like sponges (Conkbayir and Pascal, 2015). As a result, behavioural disruption can actually hinder the process of cognitive growth. In Erickson’s theory the stage four, i.e. competence, can be linked explicitly with Aaliyah’s age and the type of problems that she is facing. Being creative and learning are two main aspects that can be witnessed. Resultantly, it is evident that both knowledge and skills built at this stage can come in handy in later period of time (Emerson and Einfeld, 2011). Furthermore, this concern of competence can actually compel the teachers and parents to take actions for rectifying the same problems. On the other hand, parents tend to lose their strong control over their children in this stage thereby giving up the authority to interfere in the workings of teachers. 

From other instances, Skinner’s theory of behaviour and operant conditioning concept can also be proximately linked with the Aaliyah case. In particular, it is stated by Skinner that the behaviours that are reinforced often fortify in due course of time (Porter, 2014). On the other hand, if the same is oppressed it can change the course. As a result, it is possibly deduced that reward chart is one such initiatives to change Aaliyah’s behaviour. Alternatively, operant conditioning can be manifested in the form of both punishment and reinforcement. There is again negative reinforcement and positive reinforcement. As a result, both these aspects are covered vividly in case of Aaliyah (Woollard, 2010). Most importantly, reward chart was necessary to restrict her ongoing uncontrollable low-level disruptive behaviour. 

To what extent these theories have helped to understand this behaviour

The theories, which have been taken into consideration in the case of Aaliyah, are B.F Skinner’s behavioural theory and Erikson’s theory. These theories have helped to understand Aaliyah’s behaviour to a great extent.  Aaliyah is suffering from low-level-disruptive behaviour with regards to that these theories have highlighted where the actual problem lies in her behaviour. Firstly, Erik Erikson’s psychological theory named industry vs. Inferiorities suggests this type of particular disorder occurs during the childhood days between age five to twelve. Children generally in this stage learn to read and write to do things on their own. Aaliyah is 9 years, but still, she is unable to pay any attention to her class. She is harmless to herself and to the society. Linking to the theory, this particular behaviour might have occurred in her case due to no initiative earlier childhood days was taken either by the teachers or by her parents. Aaliyah feels inferior and doubts her own capabilities. Hence, she cannot reach to her potentials (Bomber, 2007). Her main weakness lies in not paying attention in her school as reported by the teachers.  It can be due to Aaliyah cannot develop the specific skill because she feels the teachers are demanding. On the other hand, her behaviour can be linked with Bf Skinner’s Theory. Children’s are more inclined to the people where they feel free, or happy. Aaliyah is happier when she is with her friends this may be due to the cooperation that is provided by them (Ayers, Clarke, and Murray, 2015). 

Link between the theories and literatures provided 

According to Docking and McGrath (2013, pp. 20-43), it has been highlighted that the main professional issue of a teacher is a child’s behaviour. Most of the teachers complain that children are nowadays hard to manage. They fail to understand that some children have different way responding than others. These types of children need special support and care to overcome their difficulties. With regards to this Aaliyah is suffering from a disorder, which is making her difficult to cope up with her school life. Arguably, she behaves extremely well with her friends, unlike her teachers. It can be linked with the Bf Skinners Theory as she is inclined to her friends than her teachers. The sole reason may be she is getting enough attention, care, and happiness from her friends, which she is unable to get in case of her teachers.  It has been witnessed in her case that the teachers are unable to understand her behaviour. Another piece of literature by O’Brien, (2013) suggests that promoting positive behaviour is an absolute necessity.  It has been also argued that some of the children misbehave with the teachers as they are in their learning phase. The teachers try to control those behaviours as it is the normal human behaviour. Teachers feel highly demotivated by the children’s like Aaliyah. Linking to Erikson’s theory it has been argued that she lacks in a special skill as her teachers might be too much demanding. It is essential to promote and encourage positive behaviour by the teachers.  Additionally, they can do so bringing creative insights in their teaching (Cohen, Manion, and Morrison, 2011).  

Recommendations on the basis of above analysis 

Recommendation for moving forward 

Aaliyah’ case can be moved further by taking her out from this environment where she is not receiving adequate attention. On the contrary, effort is required from every associated stakeholder to improve the entire scenario. For example, the students from these types of syndrome can be benefitted when holistic plan is mapped out for them (Rogers, 2011). The teachers are often liable to establish connection with the students so that intervention of therapeutic nature can be implemented. On the other hand, policies of schools play a major role for taking disciplinary actions in regards to psychological problems. For instance, right from low-level incidence rates to low-level disruptive behaviour can contaminate the classroom environments to a large extent. On the contrary, it is possibly visible that Aaliyah is in same condition where she needs robust intervention of school authorities as well as parents. However, at the age of 9 children tend to spend their maximum time within the premises of schools (Roffey, 2011). As a result, it can be understood that it is the approach of teachers and classroom environment, which needs to be improved at the fastest rate possible. For instance, policy can be rolled out to change the behaviour of students. On the contrary, reinforcement will be instrumental for altering aspects of behaviour from core level. 

Strategies for supporting the pupil 

It is evident from Aaliyah’s case that low-level disruption needs to be tackled sooner than later. Referring to the context, special rules for special occasions should be made by the school and parents. They should be always informed about where they are going, what activities are planned.  Communicating them the occasions will teach them further on how to behave in such occasions. For example, if Aaliyah is participating in the inter school competition for quiz then she needs to follow certain decorum.  It needs to be maintained by the teachers and the parents.  It will make her to behave properly in the social setting. 

Additionally, teachers can give some of the major responsibilities to Aaliyah. Like, they can make her class monitor by doing so she will feel the sense of self-accomplishment. It will further act as a medicine in her case. She can be also involved in several activities held in the school. Like,  sports, singing, dancing, drawing etc. the teachers need to make sure that she will be getting proper attention like other children or even  more. Taking these small initiatives teachers can help Aaliyah to a great extent (Lee, 2010). 

Best practices mentioned in literatures pertaining to the strategy

There are practices that can be followed by the school and authorities, which are mentioned, in a literary piece by O’Brien (2013). According to the book, there can be a teacher work model that can act as a strategy in this type of cases like Aaliyah. The main element in the teacher’s work model is commitment. The teacher working with children like Aaliyah, who have a wide range of difficulties, needs to make sure they make a commitment aligned with a unique style of working. Aaliyah has found it difficult to cope in of the progression in her class. Teachers need to be flexible, and self-confident. Additionally, they need to develop a wide range of strategies for preventing and dealing with the challenging and stressful situations like Aaliyah. Children like Aaliyah always think that the teachers work in the school for dominating children. In such scenario, the teachers need to offer friendly and respectful behaviour towards children. Thereby, informing them that they are in school for the love towards teaching children. In a case of Aaliyah, her teachers must show her that they are proud to teach children like her. Most importantly, the teachers should try to laugh with the Aaliyah instead of laughing at Aaliyah (Tremblay, 2010).  

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Strategy’s pros and cons 

The advantages and disadvantages of the above-mentioned strategies are as follows.  Firstly, if the classroom is made with furniture that is appealing and serves as effective layout, the design of the furniture itself will have the capability of reducing the poor behaviour for children like Aaliyah. Fitting a clean, modern and stylish furniture and interior often leads to the children taking pride of their respective classroom. Therefore, it can eliminate disruptive behaviour of Aaliyah. It can have a negative effect and act as a disadvantage in case of Aaliyah. After re-modifying the furniture’s it may happen that she will feel discontent if the teachers don’t act well so organizing good furniture’s would not serve the purpose. Teachers need to act accordingly. Similarly, if the teachers involve Aaliyah in some activities in school and do not involve themselves (Thomas, 2013). Then again it may not work as proper attention and appreciation is very much needed in her case from her school authority (Prangnell, 2010)

What should happen at a school level?

Whole school policy implementation for behavioural rectification can actually work for the teachers as well as pupils. It is extremely necessary because without the same neither the teachers can take actions nor the students will be able to change their behaviours (Skinner, 2011). Moreover, these types of policies can be effective for understanding, which behaviours will be accepted and which cannot be. Not only will the guidelines be instrumental for parents, teachers and students’ understanding but also the same can pave path for implementation of rules and regulations. Each stakeholder of these primary schools can be made aware regarding the learning culture that should prevail.  Communication plays an integral role for conveying information to both parents and teachers alike. On one hand, good behaviour must be made permanent expectation and thus the same deserves to be rewarded. Alternatively, the bad behaviour is subject to punishment. Therefore, it can be deduced that exemplary behaviours can encourage other students suffering from low-level disruptive behaviour to maintain the decorum of schools. Apart from all these things, it is noticeable that if the school authorities hire behavioural therapists and special psychologies to treat them then chances of getting well enhance (Crain, 2011). On the contrary, therapists and psychologists may at times suggest the students to participate in meditation and self-confidence building sessions. Mindfulness, right from the early age can actually enhance the performance of students to a large extent. 


It has been witnessed in the above case study that a child named Aaliyah is suffering from a well-known and serious problem named low-level disruptive behaviour. Nowadays, this kind of behaviour is quite common at every school across the globe.  Where students are not harmful to them or society, they are damaging themselves indirectly. Since they get along with their friends nicely along with it they are extremely popular among them. However, they do not pay attention in their class as it has been witnessed in the case of Aaliyah.  Several theories have been critically used for in–depth analysis of her behaviour. Arguably, applying only models or theories will not do. The main component in her case is the teachers and the school authorities they need to work hand in hand for helping Aaliyah. Throwing a light to the above statement it has been already highlighted in the recommendation part that whole-school policy implementation is necessary for teachers as well as students. It is quite important as without the same neither the students will be able to change their behaviours nor the teachers can take any actions. Nonetheless, good behaviour should be maintained at a constant level.

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