Disruptive students typically take away quality learning time in the classroom. However, with proper, immediate and direct intervention, these interruptions can be reduced or eliminated entirely. Keep in mind that effective teachers manage their classrooms, whereas ineffective teachers discipline their classrooms.
Predominantly, two types of disruptions exist: choice-driven disruptions or involuntary disruptions. Particularly serious choice-driven disruptions may warrant student suspensions, detention and other disciplinary interventions as deemed appropriate by the administration. Involuntary disruptions occur when students are incapable of conducting themselves properly in a typical classroom, and such pupils will most likely face evaluation for possible removal. Most other student disruptions are mainly mild and are easily corrected in the classroom.
Engaging a student by having planned and organized tasks is a priority. Pupils are less likely to cause disruptions if they are engaged in meaningful activities at their level. Being mindful of a student’s level and interests enable appropriate instruction to keep that student engaged in the learning process. Learners typically cause disruption in the class when they are bored. It is the responsibility of the teacher to limit idle time thus avoiding boredom. In a fluent classroom, there are continuous engaging learning activities, and the teacher is accountable to make this happen.
Developing a student-involved set of consequences answering to various types of classroom discussions is an effective intervention as students learn to own their choices. They will make the connection between behavior and consequence, which aids in future choices. This type of intervention goes beyond the common “yellow, green, red light” system or the “pull your card” system as it sets up guidelines for specific behaviors and more specific consequences. For example, at an elementary level: “If I choose to call out without raising my hand, then I will lose one shopping trip to the treasure box.” A higher-level example might be: “If I pass notes or text during classroom discussions, then I will be permanently moved next to the teacher’s desk the remainder of the school year.” These types of consequences may be severe, but the more severe, the less likely the student will be disruptive in the future. A well working consequence chart is more individualized rather than a cookie cutter poster as it answers to the individual personalities of each student in the class. Granted it takes more time to set up, the results are well worth it the time invested at the beginning of the school year. Behavioral harts can be adjusted through the year as needed.
Avoid disruptions through careful planning by maintaining a well-managed classroom. In the end, attempt to avoid discipline by focusing on management through the use of the “action/consequence” system and implementation of continuous engaging and appropriate learning tasks. Always be immediate and consistent in your approach, and classroom disruptions will be minimal.