Primary behaviour is the behaviour you want a student to stop, e.g. Sally talking to Harry when you’re addressing the class. The secondary behaviour is the defensive response you get when you challenge the primary behaviour: “I was only helping Harry with his work. You’re always picking on me.”
Secondary behaviour will often include a lot of huffing and puffing, eye rolling and defiant body language. It’s either defensiveness or retaliation or a mixture of both. If you let it, it can wind you up more than the primary behaviour. Not only that, but it will distract you from the reason you’re talking to the student in the first place: to deal with the primary behaviour.
So, if the secondary behaviour is sufficiently low level (and it normally is), don’t react. Instead, acknowledge the student’s view and then calmly redirect the student to the desired behaviour:
“Sally, it may well be that you were helping Harry, but now I want you to turn around and give me all your attention. Thank you.”
Thanks to BehaviourBuddy – www.behaviourbuddy.co.uk