Best Practice

Oppositional defiant disorder in the classroom

Pupils who present with ODD – oppositional defiant disorder – are often very challenging for classroom teachers. Dr Nicola Davies looks at what ODD is and how teachers might support those with the condition

The goal of a student with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is to gain and maintain control by testing authority to the limit, breaking rules, and provoking and prolonging arguments. In the classroom, this can be distracting for both the teacher and other students.

Professor Tamsin Ford, of the University of Exeter Medical School, is researching the effectiveness of training teachers how best to manage ODD in the classroom and says: “The management of behaviour that challenges others is a major source of stress and distress for teachers and in the UK an often cited reason for exit from the profession.”

Unless teachers have an understanding of ODD and the appropriate strategies to employ, disruptive behaviour will continue or escalate, affecting the learning environment for students and the work environment for teachers.

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