Contrary to the opinion of many pupils, teaching disruptions are 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 malfunctions.
An important basis: discipline
The word “discipline” has a rather bad reputation, for many it has a negative connotation. But the fact is: In everyday school life, the term describes an important prerequisite for successful teaching. The many small teaching disruptions that you have to struggle with throughout the day are quite a strain on your nerves – not to mention really serious incidents.
Ultimately, however, teaching disruptions not only affect your nerves, but also the quality of your teaching. No matter how hard you try to create motivating lessons – if the students are constantly busy with other things and the flow of lessons is permanently stuck, everything is for the cat. So here are effective and proven tips that you can use to cleverly counteract teaching disruptions.
General immediate measures
Basically: Always ask yourself first whether you really need to intervene and whether the fault can be rectified immediately. If it doesn’t, you better not make it a big deal. If you are reacting to classroom disruptions, do it as minimally as possible. Stay calm, but be committed. Make eye contact and always try to de-escalate.
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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 make an effort to keep the classroom tight and, if necessary, review the seating arrangements critically. Provide options that are narrowly defined (“You can be quiet now or you can sit over there.”). It is important to ensure that your reaction is always appropriate to the severity of the disorder.
Typical situation: when students call into the class
It is a real “perennial issue” among classroom disruptions: Calling in is a problem that you face every day. Students comment without asking, interrupt you or their classmates, shout 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 believe it is okay or at least tolerated – but the rule makes it unmistakably clear that it is not. So that you do not confirm the behavior of the student in question, ignore him and deliberately only deal with the students who actually respond. If ignoring it only makes matters worse, arrange a signal. For example, you can silently point to the class rule. When the student answers, you should actually call them initially – this will make the connection between their message and your attention for them clear.
Some students are not even aware of how often they disturb the class by calling in. In that case, you can have the student keep a tally sheet for a period of time. This then clearly shows him how often it actually comes in.
In particularly stubborn cases, however, you have to set limits. You should give one or a maximum of two warnings before resorting to a sanction – this can be detention or repositioning, for example.
When students chatter all the time
Students regularly disrupt class with private conversations. Instead of reacting with admonitions or threats, try a friendly question: “How long do you need for your conversation? I ask so that I can estimate how long I have to pause. Otherwise we will only disturb each other. “
In doing so, you make it clear that you are not interested in “being right” or in creating calm just for the sake of calm – you are concerned with avoiding (mutual) interference. If the two “chatterers” have something urgent to tell each other in the same hour, ask again about their need to communicate. For example, you can say, “Sorry to bother you again. You need a little more time.”
For more severe conflicts
If it comes to very heated or aggressive arguments, you should definitely rely on de-escalation. You should avoid fast movements and “typical fearful behavior”; consciously move slowly towards the student. You should use your voice firmly, but softly and in a controlled manner and under no circumstances should you scream. Try to move the student aside instead of taking the situation out publicly in front of the class. Do not threaten the student and be objective. Pay attention to your body language too: Avoid staring at the student, gesturing with a raised index finger, and standing in front of the student. Instead, meet him at eye level: if he is standing, stand too, if he is sitting, crouch down. But always keep the necessary distance.
Speak respectfully, softly, and calmly; communicate clearly and with simple words. Keep the current problem in focus and don’t wander. Do not get drawn into power struggles and end the conversation in good time if it threatens to escalate. However, if the student is cooperative, you acknowledge this – and if necessary, mention it in later conversations and reports.
Address problems properly
If there are always disruptions and arguments, a conversation can be useful. But it should definitely take place in private, not “in front of an audience” under the curious eyes (and ears) of the group. Open discussions and real insight are usually only possible if you talk outside of regular lessons and away from group pressure.
The so-called six-step process has proven itself in practice: Describe the situation or problem in detail. Then collect spontaneous ideas and suggested 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 last step the verification of the (hopefully successfully applied) solution.
Instead of directly blaming the student, describe your observations and your perception of the situation. Make it as brief and clear as possible and communicate your expectations in the same way. Then let the pupil have their say: He too is allowed to describe his view of things and, if necessary, express wishes. Then you talk to each other about possible solutions and make a binding agreement. Make a new appointment straight away – and then talk about whether the attempted solution was successful.