The Complete Teacher


How to manage disruptive classroom behaviour

Posted by Caroline Smith on 13 January 2021 3:55 PM CAT
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Generally, classroom teachers can use the same disciplinary practices for students with learning disabilities. Much of the undesirable behaviour exhibited by both groups is similar in nature. However, a teacher's way of dealing with it can have a big impact on the way in which it is handled and the reaction it has with their students. Let's explore some effective ways of managing disruptive learners and how you can produce happy learners through these interactions. These discussions may provide guidance and oppurtunity to create new habits of behaviours. 

Here are a few questions you can consider when deciding on your approach to managing disruptive behaviour. 

1. Could this misbehaviour be a result of inappropriate teaching strategies?

Inappropriate teaching strategies can contribute to student misbehaviour – but not all misbehavior is attributable to these factors. Some misbehavior may arise as a function of the teacher's inability to meet the diverse needs of all students. Consider these factors: 

  • Group size. 
  • Group composition. 
  • Limited planning time. 
  • Cultural and linguistic barriers. 
  • Lack of access to equipment, materials, and resources.

If the misbehaviour evolves as a result of inappropriate teaching strategies, you might reconsider the content and skill level components of your curriculum, its benefit for the student, and the formats you use to deliver the information. When you identify the needs of students and make adaptations based on those, you can greatly reduce the rate of disruptive behaviour.

Question 2. Could the disruption come from not grasping the concepts being taught?

When there is a mismatch between teaching style and a student's learning style, misbehavior inevitably results. Disruptive behaviour also happens when a student cannot see the link between what you are trying to each, and how that lesson transcends into the context of a larger environment. 

In these situations, you should try indicate how the lesson has meaning in the classroom and in the community. You might ask students why they think they are being taught this section of learning, or how it relates to the world. This is also a good exercise in reflection and flexible thinking! 

Question 3. Could the disruptive behaviour indicate an underlying learning difficulty?

Some disruptive behavior may be a result of a difficulty in the home, learning difficulties or a disability that makes emotional/behavioural engagement difficult (e.g., emotional/behavioral disorders). It can be useful to try use "diagnostic thinking" to understand what you are dealing with. This type of thinking analyses how the student engages with their peers, what their home situation might be like and how they are responding to class content. 

  • Try to clarify what kinds of behavior are causing concern. 
  • Specify what is wrong with that behavior. 
  • Decide what action should be taken to address the behavior, and brainstorm what behavior you desire from the student. 
  • Implement a plan to help conditions, variables, or circumstances that contribute to the problem behavior.

Question 4. Could this misbehavior be a result of other factors?

Many aspects of classroom life may contribute to students' misbehavior: the physical arrangement of the classroom, boredom or frustration, transitional periods, lack of awareness of what is going on in every area of the classroom. It is important to remember that a classroom physical arrangements can also encourage positive behavior!

You should regularly assess your teaching and learning environment. Because inappropriate behaviour can also stem from the behaviour students teachers exhibit, teachers need to be aware of how they conduct themselves in front of students. Be aware of your tone of voice and instruction style in classroom life, as well as your interaction with students.

Question 5. How do I reinforce strategies to reduce disruptive behavior? 

Teachers can reinforce positive behaviour in many ways. There are 4 categories for this: the use of words, physical expressions, physical closeness, activities, and things used as rewards or positive feedback. In order to rely on these methods, you have to be consistent and develop this practice over time. 

Final Thoughts

There is no "one plan fits all" for how teachers should respond to disruptive behaviour. A good starting point is:

  1. To establish classroom rules,
  2. To define classroom limits,
  3. To set expectations,
  4. To clarify responsibilities, and
  5. To develop a meaningful curriculum that all students can enjoy.

In formulating your discipline plan, you should first clarify your personal values. By setting classroom rules, defining limits, clarifying responsibilities, and developing a meaningful and functional curriculum, teachers can begin to build a system of discipline that will accentuate the positive behavior of all students. Finally, classroom teachers should contact appropriate administrators and seek information on administrative policies, rules, and regulations governing disciplinary practices for students with disabilities. 

To access more information relating to manage disruptive behaviour in inclusive classrooms, click here

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