How to discipline a disruptive child in class

Written by dawna theo | 13/05/2017

There is usually a reason why a child is being disruptive in class, whether the child is bored, hungry, tired, angry, or maybe they are looking for attention and acceptance. Try to find out if there is a reason the child is constantly disruptive and if you can solve the problem, such as giving them a midmorning snack, then disruptions may become less frequent. Classroom management is an important aspect of disciplining a disruptive child. Incorporating rules, consequences, and behaviour contracts can help you discipline the child with out disrupting the entire class.

Have clear rules and consequences in place before the child is disruptive, so you don't have to think what the discipline will be. It is helpful to have posters in the classroom with the classroom rules. For example, the first time a child disrupts class, take them over to the poster and whisper the rule and tell them what the consequence will be if they disrupt class again. The second time a child disrupts, send them to a quiet or time out area to either quietly think about their behaviour or do a worksheet on behaviour or a school subject. The third disruption could be separation from the class and a note home to the parent.

Use the 'Stop' and 'Go' sign method of disciplining disruptive children so you don't have to interrupt the other children in the classroom. If you are in the middle of giving a lesson and a child is being disruptive hold up a Stop sign, but continue on with your lesson. If the child disrupts again hold up the Stop sign and a Go sign that signals the child must go and sit in a time out area. As a consequence for missing part of the classroom lesson the child will need to stay in at recess and do make up work or take an extra homework sheet home to do.

If you have a child that is continually and chronically disruptive you need to find out what the root cause is. Have the child fill out a reflection sheet or a work sheet that asks questions about how the child is feeling and what they think is the cause of their disruption. Have the child contemplate and write what they think needs to be done so they will stop being disruptive. Have a private interview with the child to discuss the reflection sheet and their feelings on why they are being disruptive in class. Invite the child's parents to the interview and come up with a plan to discipline and solve the disruptive behaviour. Put the plan down in the form of a 'behaviour contract' in which the child has set goals to meet and consequences if the contract is broken. The contract should have a time frame for completion-like two weeks. If the contract is met the child will get some type of reward or positive reinforcement. Renew the contract at the end of the two weeks.

Follow these basic classroom guidelines to eliminate disruptive behaviour. Never make a rule you cannot enforce. Be more persistent and headstrong than the disruptive child and do not give in. As a teacher, never become angry or lose your temper. Respond calmly to disruptions. Make sure that all rules, when broken, have logical consequences. Disruptive children are often disruptive to get attention, so it is important to discipline them with out giving them more attention. Remove the disruptive child from the group where he is drawing too much attention. Keep your lessons interactive and moving quickly so you will not cause boredom and disruptions.

Things you need

  • Poster of rules and consequences
  • Quiet area
  • Stop and go signs
  • Reflection sheet
  • Behaviour contract

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