How to Handle Disruptive Children In The Classroom

Disruptive classroom behaviour can really put you off your stride as a teacher. Not only that, but it is distracting for other children and can be a warning sign that something underlying is causing a pupil to behave in such a way. Whatever the reason or catalyst for disruptive behaviour, successful teachers will know how to deal with it promptly and efficiently.

There is no denying that disruptive children in the classroom are one of the biggest challenges teachers face. It is therefore important to arm themselves with as much advice and information about how to manage disruptive classroom behaviour as possible.

How to handle disruptive pupils - our top tips

Below we have listed some helpful tips and guidance to manage disruptive pupils and keep your class running smoothly.

1. Don't take it to heart

While the boundaries of a teacher-pupil relationship mean that you aren't likely to get drawn into an argument with a disruptive pupil, it's also difficult sometimes not to take the behaviour personally. Disruptive pupils can be antagonistic, they can be deliberately hurtful and very frustrating too. However, by stepping back and being as objective and unemotional as possible, you are likely to come to a resolution or find a workable solution more easily.

2. Take your time to act

Being reactive to a pupil's disruptive behaviour is not the best course of action. To be able to feel assured you are acting in the best way, teachers should take time to prepare so that if instances of disruption occur they will be able to act with purpose, confident their words and actions are appropriate for the situation. Your response must be calm and measured, remaining in control is paramount.

3. Create classroom rules

In order to preempt any disruptive behaviour it can be helpful to have established rules that you agree with your pupils at the start of the school term or year. Make this a collaborative process - if students feel they have had an input rather than being told what to do, they are more likely to comply with the rules they themselves have set. Establishing ground rules early on is vital so that everyone is crystal clear about expected standards of behaviour and there is no doubt as to what is acceptable. Establishing procedures for disruptive behaviour can also help you maintain consistency and not be accused of favouring students.

4. Make sure you condemn the behaviour, not the individual

Again this is about not making things personal. Choose your words wisely and make sure that you are clear that the behaviour is unacceptable, not that the students themselves are unacceptable.

5. Follow through

It is important that you follow through with any warnings you give to disruptive students. If you say next time you interrupt, you'll be sent to the headteacher, then make sure that this is what happens if the pupil chooses to disobey you. Always be completely clear with what the rules are, give a warning before you hand out any punishments, but then always stick to what you have said otherwise you will lose the respect of students and allow them to believe that this kind of behaviour will not have any consequences.

6. Act in accordance with school policy

Make sure you know what the schools rules are around tolerance of disruptive behaviour and make sure that any action you take is in line with these policies. A united front and consistency is a much safer route than going rogue, and if you don't respond the same way as your colleagues do, you could face being pulled up for disciplinary action yourself.

7. Plan your lessons well

Sometimes disruptive behaviour can occur if you haven't thought out your lessons well. If pupils become bored, finish their work early or aren't motivated, they can act out. So make sure you have activities in place for students who may be faster, and that you are always thinking how you can challenge your pupils, engage them and get the most out of them.

If disruptive behaviour has had an impact on your class, try the above tips to resolve the situation. Remember, if you feel as though any pupil's behaviour is getting out of hand, you are losing control or other students are being affected, you should always ask for help from a senior staff member. More often than not they'll have been through the same sort of scenario and have some great assuring words of wisdom and guidance to help you!

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