phone: +44 (0)207 2947686

How to Combat Low Level Disruption in the Classroom

Sep 28, 2017

Uteach Recruitment

For new teachers, low level disruption is sometimes the most challenging problem to deal with and crack. Don’t feel like you aren’t doing well because of this!  Everyone struggles with this, especially at the start of the year when the students are getting used to being back in school.


Some tips that might help you:


– If students talk over you as a class, or there are a group of students are talking, wait. Don’t waste your time talking over them. If it hasn’t worked the first two times it won’t work. Make sure your body language is closed and clear that you’re waiting for them. You could write names on the board of students who are still talking, you could write minutes they are wasting, or you could just wait.


– Be consistent with your behaviour management. e.g. The next person to get out of their seat will have their name on the board. (Name on the board means a 5 min detention at lunch).

Write their name on the board, if they get another warning put a line next to their name, which add another 5 mins. BUT make sure you make it clear to the students how they can work off the detention. Students need to know they can work off their punishment by good behaviour, contributions in class, or good work. If they know they can’t work off the punishment they will give up and not bother in the lesson. If they know they aren’t going to be punished or you won’t follow through, then they will keep being a disruption.


– I always stand on my classroom door at the start of the lesson. Welcome students in, ask them how they are, how their day is going, ask them to sort their uniform out or stop being silly. Do this all out in the corridor and not in your classroom. It shows them your room is a space for learning.


– If they can’t line up sensibly at the end of the day, make it into a competition (kids love competition). Put them in rows or into groups – the first group/line to stand straight and quietly will get to go first/will get a merit/will get a sweet. If they still can’t do it, tell them they will have to practice it at lunch or break or after school until they can learn.


My general advice is to go into every lesson wanting to praise the students – praise them for nice uniform, having their title underlined, literally anything!!! Then if they need to be disciplined they know it’s serious. And hopefully if you are praising them all the time, they will want to keep getting that praise, or see others getting it and want it too.


Charlie Asdell is the Head of ICT and Computing at Epsom and Ewell High School and a Uteach Subject Mentor. She has experience mentoring PGCE students and delivering staff INSET training sessions.