Managing Disruptive Behaviour in an ESL Classroom

Managing Disruptive Behavior in an ESL Classroom

As you probably know, it isn’t easy to be a teacher.

At times, being an ESL teacher is even more complicated

You have to deal with students who might not speak the same language and who come from different countries.

The job becomes even more challenging when you add a student who is disruptive.

Below are some easy steps that you can use to help you manage disruptive classroom behavior more effectively.


Set Classroom Rules

Positive and polite behaviors are important in any class.

Try to stress how important they are at the beginning of your class. You can do this by quickly writing the rules of the class on the first day of class to let them know how and what you expect from them.

If you are teaching children or teenagers you can use a points or reward system.


Make a Seating Chart

Make a seating chart if possible; that way, no one argues over seats.

You can also choose where you want students to sit in this way without getting complaints.

It is possible to divide close friends or students who don’t get along. Change the seating chart on a regular basis so that different students get to work together.


Stop the Disruptive Behavior

If there is disruptive behavior, stop it immediately!

Call the student out on their behavior. Ask them to be quiet so that you can continue with the class.

If they continue, you can ask them to leave the class or wait and speak with them after the class is over.

This will depend on how serious the disruptive behavior is.

Use your judgment, you are the expert.


Get Help if it Escalates

Sometimes students don’t get along. That’s okay.

But if there is a dispute or confrontation in your class, you should separate the students right away.

Try to keep the dispute from turning into a fight.

If it does turn into a fight, make sure the other students are safe and get some help or support from another teacher or the support staff at your school.

Do not try to stop a fight, get help.


Use Non-Verbal Cues

You can use non verbal cues to get a student to stop being disruptive.

Try to make eye contact with them. You can also get close to them.

They will usually notice how close you are and stop the behavior.


Move On

You might need to apologize to the class if it is a big disruption.

Then move on and continue with the class. Don’t hold a grudge.

When the disruption is over continue on like nothing happened.


At the end of the day, it is important to remember to stay calm.

They usually just want attention, and might not notice that they are distracting their classmates or that they are holding up the class.

So, breathe and smile, it will all be over soon.

You can handle it!

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