How Do You Deal With Students Who Are Disruptive?

Reprinted with permission from the AFT Communications Association, Oct./Nov. 1997

If you haven’t yet encountered a student who is just plain disruptive, consider yourself fortunate. And consider your options, too, because chances are sooner or later one of those students will show up in your classroom.

Here are some proven techniques you may want to consider:

  • Develop and maintain positive relationships with all of your students.
  • Show respect for your students’ dignity and find ways to foster their self-esteem.
  • Maintain a professional demeanor and remain calm.
  • Explain, teach and enforce rules and consequences.
  • Be consistent and fair.
  • Try to discover the cause of the problem.
  • Have high expectations for all students.
  • Respond immediately to potentially disruptive situations.
  • Use active listening.
  • Use private confrontation when appropriate.
  • Avoid power struggles.
  • Remove students as quickly as possible from the disruptive situation.
  • Use positive reinforcement when students do well.
  • Model correct behavior.
  • Source: John C. Shaughnessy, Maureen Coughlin and Kathryn Smith, “Dealing with Disruptive Behavior in High School Classrooms,” The High School Magazine, June/July 1997 (National Association of Secondary School Principals, 1904 Association Dr., Reston, VA 20191, 703/860-0200)

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