Strategies for dealing with challenging behavior in the classroom

Every class has those children who will habitually disrupt a classroom .There are many types of challenging behavior .It is important that teachers are able to identify and learn to deal with this challenging behavior.

What is Challenging Behavior

It is really any form of behavior that causes concern to the teacher.The most common examples are :

  • Arriving Late for Lessons
  • Not listening to teacher
  • Talking excessively and being noisy
  • Not settling down to work
  • Being out of seats for no reason
  • Preventing other classmates from being able to work .

There are students who may need referral for challenging behavior that require special attention and intervention by the teacher and school.IE ADHD,Autism etc  .In this article prominence is given to challenging behavior that may be rectified by the teacher in the classroom with out outside referral.

Below are some classroom management tips on how to deal with those challenging students.

Involve Parents

Make sure that parents are kept in the loop if their child is getting into trouble.Try to foster a bond with the parents which will help determine an effective strategy .

Keep the student close

If at all possible keep the student close to you.Keep them at a desk at the front of the classroom .This usually helps to limit negative behavior.

Keep to the same routine

The same steps should be used each time when trying to get the student to behave.It should be clear that this type of disruptive behavior will ALWAYS result in a particular consequence.

Ignore Poor Behavior

The student is seeking attention by challenging behavior in the classroom situation . Sometimes by just holding back and ignoring the behavior, the students settle down again .Discuss with a class the consequences of disruptive behavior by one student and encourage the other classmates to ignore the challenging student .Often this settles things very quickly.


Sometimes when the students behavior continues, even after several reminders , it is best that the student be removed from the situation.Teachers should create an area in the classroom where students can go and sit quietly.When they calm down they can return to the class participation .When this does not work ( often with older students) then the students may need to leave the classroom and sit in a desk perhaps in the hallway for a short period of time .The student should however be given simple tasks to keep them occupied .

This gives both the teacher and the student a time out to allow feelings to settle .

Choosing when to Discipline .

If a teacher calls out a student in front of their friends and peers then it is very difficult to win .If at all possible wait till later and talk to the student one on one .Empathize with the student and try to discover what is really going on .Praise when ever possible .

Communicate non verbally

Develop ways that you can watch and give children, who are often challenging ,attention .( Which is what most are seeking ) Smile ,raise an eyebrow ,look directly at the student and give them a thumbs up or down .

Challenging classroom behavior is one of the hardest problems a teacher may deal with as it can impact on the class as a whole . Spend time trying differing techniques to limit this problem .