8. What can we do about disruptive behaviour?

Most disruptive behaviour has a reason behind it. Sometimes children misbehave when the lesson is too hard, or too easy for them; if they are sad or worried about something at home and cannot concentrate; or if they feel as if the teacher does not like them or value what they. They may just want the teacher to pay them some attention. For some children, getting the negative attention of being shouted at makes them feel noticed and this is worth getting into trouble for. Occasionally, a more serious condition such as ADHD or Autism that can make it difficult for children to behave appropriately.

Eshe is intelligent and socially accepted by her peers. There do not seem to be any underlying disabilities that might be making her behave inappropriately. The teacher should talk to Eshe and find out more about her home life, what she enjoys and what she finds difficult. It seems most likely that Eshe is either bored as the lesson is too easy for her, or she is intent on gaining some adult attention. The teacher should look at the quality of Eshe’s work and reflect on whether the work could be too easy. They could also look back in their mark book and see if the quality of Eshe’s work has changed recently, and talk to others who have taught Eshe The teacher could try giving Eshe an extra task to complete and see if this will keep her on task.

An inclusive school ethos would ensure that teachers’ examine their practice and the impact of their practice on learners. Through reflection, collaboration and talking to Eshe, much progress could be possible.

In addition, some other strategies to improve the behaviour of a persistently disruptive pupil are:

  • find ways to ‘Catch them being good’ and to praise them for the moments in the lesson when they put their hand up to answer, or quietly complete a task;
  • set up an individual reward system for a disruptive pupil or something for the whole class; 
    (a simple example could be to put a marble in a jar every time someone is praised. Once the jar is full the class could choose to sing a song or play a game as a reward)
  • give praise to the other children when they are behaving appropriately so that the disruptive child may want to copy their good behaviour to be included in the praise;
  • ignore some low-level disruption and instead of admonishing the child, say something positive to encourage them to work hard on the task.