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Coping with Classroom Disruptions

Janelle Cox

Whether it’s a student constantly interrupting the lesson with antics, another texting in class, or a third chatting endlessly with friends, classroom disruptions are a perennial challenge that most teachers face.

In order to create a positive learning environment where all students are productively being educated, teachers can implement a few simple strategies and techniques into their daily routine to prevent classroom disruptions before they even occur.

Clearly Define Your Expectations for Deling with Classroom Disruptions

Clearly state your expectations for students on day one. They need to understand that with every unwanted behavior comes a consequence. Write out any expectations that you have, and post them somewhere in the classroom where it’s impossible to miss. This list can include something as simple as raising your hand before speaking, no texting in class, or always be prepared; to something more complex. Once your hopes are clearly stated, you can expect your students to follow them or face reprimanding.

Model Appropriate Behavior

Once you have clearly defined your expectations, then you must model appropriate behavior. If students see you texting, then they will wonder why they aren’t allowed. Also, don’t assume that your students automatically understand your version of acceptable behavior. If you say no shouting, actually demonstrate your distinction between inappropriate and appropriate volume levels. Children learn from seeing and listening. When they see an adult display a clear attitude or action, they will copy what they see.

Get Parents Involved

With today’s technology, it is easy to get parents involved. All you have to do is send out a text message or quick e-mail, and parents can be notified about their child. A lot of the time, the disruptive student is acting out because of a situation at home (i.e. not be getting enough attention, a death in the family, etc.) Create an open-door policy where parents are free to text, email, or call to stay informed about their child. This may be all you need to remedy a disruptive student’s behavior.

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Avoid Overspending Time with Disruptive Students

Sometimes teachers tend to focus a lot of their attention on the disruptive students instead of the rest of the class. Let your rules speak for themselves and do not give away precious classroom time to troublesome children. Equally so, make sure that your rules are enforced without bias so that the disorderly student(s) can see that they are being treated the same as everyone else. Eventually he or she will want to be a contributing member of the class, and not a troublemaking outcast.

Maintain a Routine

Having a daily classroom routine can help combat those irritating, problematic situations. Children tend to get uneasy when they don’t know what they’ll be doing next. If you know that you will be straying from your daily routine, then make sure that you write exactly what you will be doing on the board, so students won’t be thrown off-guard.

How do you cope with classroom disruptions? Do you have tried and true tips for your peers? Share with is in the comment section below. We would love to hear your ideas.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators