How Does Disruptive Behavior Affect Other Students?

how disruptive behavior of a student affect other students

How Does Disruptive Behavior Affect Other Students? – The teaching profession is an honorable one but can really be tasking. One of the heavy task in teaching is having to handle the disruptive behavior of a student in the classroom. When a student behaves in such a way that interrupts the teacher’s ability to instruct and/or student’s ability to learn, such behavior is termed disruptive.

Disruptive behaviors hinder learning and teaching and can escalate into something more serious if not properly handled. Extensively discussed in this article are examples of disruptive behavior in students, how disruptive behavior affect other students and causes of disruptive behavior in students. Also discussed are proven and practical ways to handle disruptive behavior in students.

Examples of Disruptive Behavior in Students

Disruptive behavior among students especially when learning is supposed to be going on is a regular occurrence in schools. In fact, students get creative and innovative daily with disruptive behaviors, so the list is inexhaustible. Below are just examples of those disruptive behaviors.

  • Arriving late for class or leaving before the end of the class or leaving early
  • Side talks
  • Improper use of cellphone and laptop in the class
  • Sniping comments
  • Cheating
  • Grade grubbing
  • Not having regard for deadlines
  • Aggression towards other students or teachers
  • Threats or acts of violence
  • Screaming inside or outside the classroom
  • Sleeping and snoring in class
  • Listening to music at a volume that is disturbing to others
  • Untimely crying/laughing /talking

How Does Disruptive Behavior Affect Other Students?

Disruptive behavior in a student can affect other students adversely. Infact, the misbehavior of a singular student can adversely affect the whole class and even the school as a whole! Below are some damages the disruptive behavior of a student can cause;

It hinders learning: For example, a student just stood up suddenly in the middle of a class and started screaming, that is a serious distraction. At that moment, you have to halt whatever you are doing and address the matter. And sometimes, the issue may not get resolved in 5minutes. The implication is this: the lesson objective for that class is already halted, as you won’t be able to achieve much as a teacher. I understand for every class, there is a learning objective that must be achieved in a space of 45minutes to 1hour. Any distraction could hinder that objective.

Teacher loses the respect of the students if it’s a regular occurrence: If as a teacher, there is always one issue or the other that causes distraction while you are teaching, you will soon begin to lose the students. The students won’t really hold you in high esteem and will want to avoid your class whenever possible. The students will see you as incapable. Even though, a student is the cause of the disruptive behavior, the students will still blame you for it.

Disruptive behavior is like a wave, it ripples and multiplies if not curbed on time: Most times, the trouble starts with one student which could spread to others if not handled on time. There are some students that are not naturally troublesome, but they are good at mimicking others. Those students look to others in class and just want to copy what they see; good or bad.

Students begin to lose interest in the subject: If the disruptive behavior is a regular occurrence, students over time will start losing interest in the particular subject being taken when the disruption happens. The implication is this: the performance of students will be low in the subject when compared to other subjects. 

Students can get de-motivated generally: Continual disruptive behavior can de-motivate other students. Students can get discouraged, disliking the subject, disliking the teacher and even the school. Some students can even request that their parents to change their school.

What causes disruptive behavior among students?

It is important to know and understand some of the causes of disruptive behavior among students as this could help curb or prevent it.

Boredom:  It is either the class is boring or the child is just personally bored. Boredom can make a child to be disruptive.

Confusion/inability to comprehend what is being taught: If the student gets confused or is lost while teaching is going on, he/she may look for other ways to engage him/herself which most likely would disrupt the class.

Annoyance: the student could have been annoyed by his/her colleague, parents (before leaving home) or even the teacher for whatever reason. This can lead to disruptive behavior from that student in trying to show his/her displeasure.

Other causes of disruptive behavior in students include:

Low self-esteem, lack of respect, student not getting enough rest at home, lack of interest, tiredness, arrogance, fatigue, having learning issues, genetic disorder, family background, low concentration level, stress, etc.

10 Proven ways to handle disruptive behavior among students

#1   Set your ground rules from the very first day

As a teacher, set your expectations from the students early enough both verbally and in written form.  Let the students understand what is expected of them in class and what is not accepted. Let them understand the implications of disruptive behavior in class and how it can affect the learning process.

You can even appoint one or two students to be in charge of students’ behavior in class. Such can be tagged; compliance officer, he/she will ensure everyone comply with ground rules and would report defaulters appropriately.

You can even ask for suggestions at the end on how they can have a better learning atmosphere. Don’t forget to clearly state what the punishment would be for students who disrupts the class,

#2   Make your class as interactive as possible

As much as possible, engage your students during your session with them. Ask for their personal view on the topic, their questions. Try get personal by calling their names and also try to lighten up the atmosphere by cracking a few jokes or telling a short story. If you do all this, the students will feel carried along in the learning process and will want to give their full attention rather than disrupt the class.

When students are well-engaged in class, they are motivated and will always look forward to attending your class.

#3   Ask your students for feedback regularly.

Find out from the students what they know and think about you. At times, disruptive behavior could come up when the students sense some inadequacies in the teacher such as disorganization, rudeness, lateness, etc. It is important you get feedback from these students regularly so you can adjust yourself as a teacher.

#5   Be very Flexible as a teacher

In as much as it is required of you as a teacher to be firm with your students, it shouldn’t translate to rigidity. You must understand the atmosphere of the class won’t always be the same all the time. There are times you may need to start up the class with a joke, a story or even a brain teaser!

#6   Don’t be boring as a teacher

As a teacher that wants the best result and behavior from your student, you must be very dynamic in your approach. Don’t just stick to one teaching method, be creative and innovative. Use a lot of instructional materials, most especially the ones that will really catch the student’s attention.

You can break the class into groups at times and let them engage in discussions, give them tasks, etc. Just ensure everyone in the class is involved. If you do such, students will easily pay attention in your class and would forward to always having you with them.

#7   Put a good appearance

Your appearance speaks a lot of volume about your personality to the students. Be formal and decent in your dressing. As a lady, don’t wear clothes that reveal all your curves or exposes your sensitive body parts most especially if you are teaching older children. As a man, be neatly dressed too, don’t leave your part of shirt unbuttoned exposing your chest.

The truth is this; when you stand before these students to teach, you are all they see, 99% of the time. So, don’t put up an appearance that will distract them. When students are distracted, they disrupt the class. So avoid anything in your appearance that can distract the learners.

#8   Reduce Anonymity with students

 Get to know the students by name, don’t just relate with them generally. This makes the students more comfortable around you and the possibility of anyone exhibiting disruptive behavior is minimized. Students tend to exhibit disruptive behavior when they are not comfortable around the teacher.

#9   Respond and handle cases of disruptive behavior among students immediately

 Don’t make the mistake of wanting to quickly finish up your teaching before addressing the matter, do it immediately. Let all teaching stop and take up the student. If you postpone it, it may escalate and even become complicated. You are defending the learning environment by doing so and the students will get to respect you and even support you.

#10   Try to connect with inattentive students

After teaching a class for a few times, you should be able to identify inattentive and restless students. At every class, you must ensure you engage those students. For example, you can change their seats, ask for their contributions, check their notes. Just do all you can to get them involved, of course without neglecting other students.

#11   Get the students involved too

Let the students understand that they are also permitted to stop politely and quietly any student exhibiting disruptive behavior in class.

6 DONTS when disruptive behavior occurs

  1. Do not react aggressively
  2. Don’t escalate the occurrence into a confrontation or conflict
  3. Dont expel the student or force him/her to leave
  4. Do not humiliate or embarrass the student(s)
  5. Do not punish the innocent students


Disruptive behavior in a student affect other students and should not be handled lightly as a teacher and school owner. Many teachers and even school owners have been put into serious trouble because of it; some teachers have lost their jobs, schools shut down, etc. As an educator, you need to be highly strong in the following skills: classroom management, organization and communication. These skills can really help in curbing disruptive behavior among students.

Thank you.



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