Dealing with Disruptive Student Behaviour - Practical Tips for University Teachers

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Published on June 2, 2016

Author: EmmaKennedy3


1. Dealing with Disruptive Behaviour Practical hints and tips Dr Maxwell Addo and Dr Emma Kennedy

2. Pre-empting disruption Particular points to think about when planning Certain students Difficult parts of the lesson Health and safety issues The place – e.g. a large lecture hall, stuffy classroom The time – e.g. Friday at 5pm Ground rules Make available in advance Create in conjunction with students Is there a practical solution? Is there a support framework (eg DDS) to use? Ground rules or “just in case” plan Y Y Use it Use it Stay positive– don’t go in expecting the worst

3. Avoiding confrontation Confrontation Defensiveness Increased aggression Student feels trapped Winning becomes goal Can you shut the situation down and move on? Suggest the student talks to you one-on-one later. If a situation gets threatening, call security – don’t endanger yourself. Remind the students why they came to class – to learn Reassure students that you will listen to them – just at a more appropriate time. If there is low-level disruption use PPP – pause, peer and position You can ignore things – but be consistent across students in this.

4. Healthy confrontation (where needed) Focus on the behaviour, not the student Keep your voice and body language calm Repeat established limits (“broken record”) Don’t get into a back and forth exchange Make consequences clear and stick to them Limit time and energy – ask student to leave if necessary Direct appeal to student to stop behaviour can work – especially if you use humour and/or peer pressure

5. Take it out of class & Escalate •Invite others if you think it would help – personal tutor or module convenor Private meeting with the student/s involved •Refer to Advice and Counselling or DDS Do they need emotional or other support? •Who needs to know if a student is having trouble? Know the disciplinary procedures in your department Remember your rights You have the right not to be harassed, degraded or subject to discrimination. If this happens escalate to your manager. You should be able to have a student removed from your class if they subject you to harassment or discrimination.

6. Rebuilding and repairing the relationship Allow the student to explain themselves Always be prepared to apologise or admit you are in the wrong Ask the student if they are OK Show that you care, even if you can’t help Express sympathy regardless of the situation Forgive and forget; don’t hold a grudge Offer help to catch up/make up missed work

7. Four rules of classroom management Get them in Get them out Get on with it Get on with them

8. What would you do? Behaviour Correction strategies Consequences How to repair relationship?

9. Specific Learning Needs – ASD, AD(H)D May be more susceptible to distraction & less able to control evidence of distraction (e.g. chatting). May also struggle with taking turns when speaking. You may need to cut them off gently but firmly. Give instructions clearly and in concrete language Make rules clear & be consistent in enforcing them. Be willing to help where possible with auditory or visual distractions. Students who start to argue repetitively may be struggling. Don’t prolong it – suggest the conversation ends & they take a break if needed. Allow the student whatever s/he needs in order to participate – including breaks & sitting in a specific place. Good practice guides:

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