The 7 Step Method To Ending Classroom Disruptions and Misbehavior
With just two simple strategies any teacher can prevent student misbehaviour, de-escalate student disruptions, and respond professionally to student disrespect.
- Remain Emotionally Constant
Yelling or raising your voice as a teacher does not display your authority. Acting angry or frustrated does not make students want to comply. Showing any negative emotion at all proves to students that they have the power to control your emotions and behavior. Instead, display your authority by remaining calm in the face of any situation.
If you feel you have lost control of the classroom and cannot control student behavior, remember that you are the adult in charge. Don’t view student misbehavior as a negative consequence for you; View student misbehaviour as student misbehaviors, and issue the appropriate student consequence. Student misbehavior is not a problem unless you let it negatively affect your emotions. The best way to assert your authority is to always remain calm and emotionally constant.
If multiple students are off-task, simply wait silently, flick the lights or write a note on the board until students are silent and focused. This is always more effective than talking over students, desperately shouting warnings or broadcasting consequences.
If one student is being disrespectful or disruptive, remain calm and avoid a power struggle by pausing and calmly stating, “We will discuss this later.” If they continue to disrupt and act disrespectfully, calmly say, “Go to the office where we can discuss this later.” If they refuse, silently walk to the phone to call security, principal or dean of students to remove the student. This worst-case scenario could easily make a teacher feel they have failed at classroom management. By handling it with emotional constancy, it can actually reaffirm their unwavering calm and confidence.
- Address misbehavior with the least invasive approach
If you have lost control of your classroom or you are just starting the year, stop reacting to student disruptions and misbehavior with instant consequences. The next time a student is off-task or disrupts the class, follow the seven steps of the least invasive approach to addressing and de-escalating student misbehavior.
- Pause (stop speaking and silently wait for 100% attention and focus)
- Make eye contact (kind, nonaggressive)
- Give a whole class anonymous correction or positive reminder of expectations
- Tap the student’s desk
- Say the student’s name (kind, non-aggressive)
- Then privately tell the student to change a specific behavior or there will be a consequence
- Then (and only then) give a private consequence.
When all consequences are private, students can no longer argue that you ignored another student’s misbehavior while unfairly punishing their behavior. Being emotionally constant and following the seven steps allows you to assume the best about students, which makes students feel they are being treated fairly and with respect. This, in turn, makes students respect your expectations and consequences. By warning students ahead of time, they cannot confidently argue any consequence. When you follow the least invasive approach and calmly address student misbehavior, you avoid public consequences, student arguments about what is fair, and disruptive power struggles. With two fail-proof classroom management strategies, any teacher can reset classroom culture and ensure positive student behavior.