Action, reaction, and reflection

  1. Handling Classroom Disruptions Publicly

Action: “Addressing student misbehavior in a public way risks embarrassing the student, and if she is prone to being oppositional, she’s likely to talk back and dig herself into a deeper hole. You retaliate, and before you know it, a full-scale war has erupted” (Gonzalez, 2014).


  • Students become defiant, boisterous, flamboyant, and willing to display their disapproval to the nth degree.  A pattern of misbehaving is established.
  • Other students lose focus on classroom activities.
  • Other students feel empathy for the challenged student if they feel the teacher is not handling the situation adequately.


  • Threaten to remove misbehaving student(s) from classroom.
  • Have misbehaving student removed from classroom by administration.
    • Student(s) leaves class ‘kicking and screaming’, derailing the possibility of establishing a positive learning environment.
    • Showing total disrespect and contempt for teacher as they leave the classroom.
    • Because of the empathy felt by student bystanders, others show contempt for the teacher.
    • Teachers emotions are heightened, become sensitive to the chance of losing control of classroom.
    • Classroom environment settles but misbehaving student(s)  is returned to class because of district policies that takes the position that the misbehaving student should not or cannot miss any opportunity for a free public education.

Pattern: Classroom misbehavior repeats itself by the same or different students.


  • “Whenever possible, address off-task behavior in private” (Gonzalez, 2014).
  • “Just speak in a quiet voice by the student’s desk or call the student up to their own. The method isn’t terribly important; just aim for a bare minimum of spectacle” (Gonzalez, 2014).
  • When in an inclusion learning environment using a co-teaching model support teacher ask misbehaving student politely to have a private conversation in the hallway away from other students in the classroom.
  • Offer up additional support to the misbehaving student to get them engaged in the classroom learning environment changing their focus on disruption to classroom participation.
  • Restorative Justice, can it be part of the solution?
  1. Ambiguity in Classroom Instruction


Action: Giving the classroom instruction on topic without assessments or checking in.  Many new and inattentive teachers that are trying to master the core subject they are teaching spend a wealth of time becoming more knowledgeable and well-versed on that core subject.  This builds a feeling of self-worth especially when engaging in discourse with fellow colleagues.


  • Some students may feel fully engaged in classroom instruction, many will, one by one, drift off as their level of interest diminishes, especially if the topic seems to go into great depth.
  • Some students will begin to entertain themselves during the instruction by engaging in side conversations with other students, some students will blatantly put their heads on the desk and go to sleep, signaling that they have lost all interest into what-ever your message is.
  • Some students chronically go to the bathroom, to get a drink, got to the nurse, or any place else that is gar away from your instruction.
  • All three of these classroom behaviors were observed with ELLs (English Language Learners) as well, no more, no less.

Pattern: These are three common reactions observed in a classroom where the teacher has lost his or her connection with the students during instruction.


  • Assessments, Assessments, Assessments, the teacher has to have some sort of applicable assessment plan especially with any topic that tends to go vertical in complexity. At minimum, a baseline informal assessment should be performed.  Use named Popsicle sticks for random call-outs, avoid calling on the same students.
  • Separate chatty Cathys, those that find it easy to chat during instruction may have to earn the right to sit next to each other and if they cannot re-frame from continuous side conversation, split them up.
  • Position yourself in close proximity to sleepers, giving them a gentle nudge to get their attention (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t).  If too many of the students are napping during instruction other strategies and consideration must be considered.
  • If the classroom has a co-teacher than the person can assess the level of interest in the class, perhaps offer alternative approaches while the other teacher gives direction and instruction.
  • ELLs must be monitored especially for their level of understanding and involvement in classroom activities.
  • When possible, the instruction should culturally responsive to the students being taught.
  1. Student Participation


  • Had many decisions with the students in both Group A (students with learning disabilities) and the general education students (Group B) in the same classrooms about being a part of the solutions in creating a positive learning environment.
    • Many in group B agree that when they are in a learning mode, they would like to have a positive learning experience.  And that they would try to remember that they are sharing a learning environment with other students.  As such, restrain themselves from being a part of the distractions that disrupt the classroom environment.
    • Most of the students in Group A leave control of the learning environment in the hands of the teacher(s).  However, they too agree that restraining themselves from side conversations, misbehaving, and napping in class would be a good thing to try.


  • Most of the students in both groups did not engage in supporting their own learning environments.
  • They were not as engaged in the process even thou it was emphatically expressed how their level of commitment was paramount to the success of the project.
    • That when they make some level of commitment the message becomes amplified and more significant.
  • Most of them left the controls in the hands of the adults, perhaps the concept of working together towards a common goal has no staying power.
    • Maybe this type of community effort will develop once they reach high school and know who they will be graduating with.
  • Both groups like the feeling that someone was looking out for their interest.

Pattern: The students continued with their same level of non-committal to the project.  Many lost interests even thou the stakes may be high in their ability to be better students with more options in the future.


  • Most solutions are just suggestions made to both groups, perhaps someday they will have the will desire to be empowered and learn to work in a communal way for more control over what happens to them on a day to day basis.
  • Perhaps this project will give them some insight as to what to consider when they want to be agents of change.



Gonzalez, J. (Nov 23, 2014) 10 Ways to Sabotage Your Classroom Management. Middleweb. From: