How To Prevent Disruptive Student Behaviour
‘The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle’
Prevention is always better than cure.
I like to think about it in terms of oral hygiene. It takes minimal effort to prevent tooth problems by daily brushing and flossing. However, if you develop an excruciating toothache it can mean major disruption to your life. Throbbing pain that keeps you awake at night, having to take time off work, enduring an agonising dentist visit and, to add insult to injury, paying the exorbitant dentist bill.
Prevent the pain caused by disruptive student behaviour!
1. Be well-planned, organised and prepared with your teaching and learning activities. Kids easily become disrupted when they have nothing to do and the teacher is disorganised.
2. Use student interests to make the work engaging, relevant and suitably challenging. Students who are bored will make their own fun.
3. Establish clear boundaries for the behaviour you accept in your classroom. Teach your students explicitly how to behave in your classroom.
4. Have consistent routines for accessing your attention, getting help with work, packing up materials etc. Clearly teach these routines to your students.
5. Notice and name students who are on-task in a way that is meaningful to your students e.g. kindergarten students may get public praise, Year 9 may get a quiet, thanks for getting onto your work.
6. Move around the room. Remember the value of proximity. Barrie Bennett likens the power of this skill to the effect that seeing a police car has on us when we are driving. Even if we are not speeding we slow down or check the speedo!
7. Scan the room and be aware of potential off-task behaviour and use distraction, redirection and selective attending to manage low level behaviours and prevent them from escalating.
8. Know your students and how they learn. Ensure that work tasks are broken up into achievable chunks and differentiate the way you present content. Make allowances for different learning needs. If you know that Jeremy can concentrate for 10 minutes and then gets fidgety, get him to go for a walk, have a drink or take a movement break at the 10-minute mark.