Disruptive students are those who interfere with instruction and the instructor’s ability to conduct a class. Eventually, this leads to other students being unable to profit from the instruction they are there to receive.
Prevent Disruptive Behavior
Setting clear guidelines at the start of each term will aid in setting the tone in the classroom. This small investment in time will aid in keeping disruptions to a minimum and hold students accountable to a known standard. Clear expectations should be discussed with students and detailed in the course syllabus.
Respond to Disruption
When responding to disruption, be sure to express empathy, develop discrepancy, avoid arguments, roll with resistance, establish group rules, and attack ideas not people.
Model the Behavior You Expect
At times, disruptive behavior stems from students sensing that they are being held to a higher behavioral standard than their instructor. For example, if an instructor deducts points for tardiness, it is important for the instructor to arrive to class on time, if not early.
- Northeastern University: Disruptive Students in the Classroom
- Jason Ebbeling and Brian Van Brunt Ed.D. (Faculty Focus): Four Tips for Dealing with Difficult Students
- Emergency Management (University of Florida): Dangerous, Disruptive or Disturbing Student
- Harrell, Ivan L., II; Hollins, Thomas N., Jr. 2009. Working with Disruptive Students (.pdf)
- Ashleigh Wade, M.Ed (University of Florida): Responding to Academic Misconduct (.pdf)