Disruptions to lessons: immediate measures and tips

Disruptions to lessons: immediate measures and tips
School, Classroom, Education, Students, Teachers,

More discipline in the classroom

Disturbances in class are - contrary to the opinion of many students - not just a "teacher problem": They affect the lesson and ultimately the whole class. You can read here which immediate measures have proven effective and which tips are available for typical faults.

An important basis: Discipline

The word "discipline" generally has a rather bad reputation, for many it has negative connotations. But the fact is: Especially in everyday school life, the term describes an important prerequisite for successful teaching. All in all, the many small disruptions to class that you have to deal with throughout the day really get on your nerves “ not to mention the really serious incidents.


Ultimately, disruptions in class not only affect your nerves, but also the quality of your lessons. No matter how hard you try to create motivating lessons, if the students are constantly busy with other things and the flow of the lesson is constantly faltering, everything is for naught. So here are effective and proven tips that you can use to cleverly counteract disruptions in the classroom.


General immediate measures

Basically, the following applies: Always ask yourself first whether you really need to intervene and whether the fault can be rectified immediately. If she isn't, you better not make a big deal out of her. When responding to classroom disruptions, do so as slightly as possible. Remain calm but committed. Make eye contact and always try to act in a de-escalating manner.


Think about which I-messages you can use to make the problem clear to the students. If necessary, give clear instructions and then return to class as soon as possible. You should also try to ensure that the lesson is tight and, if necessary, critically review the seating arrangement. Give choices, but narrow ones ("You can be quiet now, or sit back."). It is important to ensure that your response is always appropriate to the severity of the incident.

Typical situation: When students call into the class

It's a real "perennial" among classroom disruptions: calling in is a problem you face on a daily basis. The students comment without being asked, interrupt you or their classmates, call out the answer to a question before anyone could answer, or they "kindly take the answer from a classmate".


First of all, you should establish the clear rule that heckling is not welcome. Some students may think it's okay, or at least tolerated, but the rule makes it perfectly clear that this isn't the case. So that you don't confirm the behaviour of the student in question, ignore him and consciously only take on the students who actually report. If ignoring will only make things worse, agree on a signal. For example, you can silently point to the class rule. When the student raises their hand, you should actually call them out at first - this will show the connection between their report and your attention to them.


Some students are not even aware of how often they disrupt the lesson by calling in. In this case, you can have the student keep a tally for a certain period of time. This then clearly shows him how often calls are actually made.


In particularly stubborn cases, however, you must set limits. You should give one or two warnings at most before resorting to a sanction “ this could be detention or a transfer, for example.


When students chatter constantly

Students regularly disrupt the lessons with private conversations. Instead of reacting with warnings or threats, try asking a friendly question: "How long do you need for your conversation? I'm asking so that I can estimate how long I have to pause. Otherwise we'll just bother each other. "


In doing so, you make it clear that you are not concerned with "being right" or creating calm just for the sake of calm - you are concerned with avoiding (mutual) disturbances. If the two "chatters" have something urgent to tell each other again in the same hour, ask again about their need to communicate. For example, you can say, "Sorry to bother you again. I think you need a little more time."


In more serious conflicts

If there are very heated or aggressive arguments, you should definitely rely on de-escalation. You should avoid fast movements and "typical fear behaviour"; deliberately move slowly towards the student. You should use your voice firmly, but quietly and in a controlled manner, and never shout. Try taking the student aside instead of taking the situation publicly in front of the class. Do not threaten the student and remain objective. Also pay attention to your body language: avoid staring at the student, pointing fingers and standing in front of the student. Instead, meet him/her at eye level: if he/she is standing, stand too, if he/she is sitting, squat down. But always keep the necessary distance.

Speak respectfully, softly and calmly; communicate clearly and in simple words. Keep the current problem in focus and don't digress. Don't get caught up in power struggles and end the conversation in good time if it threatens to escalate. However, if the student shows himself to be cooperative, acknowledge this and, if necessary, mention it in later discussions and reports.

address problems properly

If disturbances and arguments keep coming up, a conversation can be useful. However, this should definitely take place in private, not "in front of an audience" under the curious eyes (and ears) of the group. Open conversations and real insight are usually only possible when you talk outside of regular classes and away from peer pressure.


The so-called six-step process has proven its worth in practice: Describe the situation or the problem in detail. Then collect spontaneous ideas and proposed solutions. You weigh the solutions together and decide on the best approach in the next step. This is followed by the implementation of the solution - and in a final step, the (hopefully successfully applied) solution is checked.


Instead of blaming the student directly, describe your observations and your perception of the situation. Formulate as briefly and clearly as possible and communicate your expectations in the same way. Then let the pupils also have their say: He/she may also describe his/her view of things and, if necessary, express wishes. Then you can talk about possible solutions together and make a binding agreement. Arrange a new appointment directly “ and then talk about whether the attempted solution was successful.

Skilfully minimizing disruptions in class

You and your teaching staff learn to perceive disruptive students in their life context and to look at behaviour and personality separately. Concrete tools for situational leadership and setting limits allow you to deal better with disruptions and design your lessons more effectively.