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What Is Considered Disruptive Behavior in a Classroom?

author image Ann Daniels
Ann Daniels has been a professional writer for more than 10 years. Her work has been published in many national health and wellness publications. Daniels holds a Master of Arts in communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
What Is Considered Disruptive Behavior in a Classroom?
Students working classroom Photo Credit Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images

Teachers are responsible for the education of large groups of students. When students display disruptive behavior, the teacher must stop what she is doing to remedy the situation. The interruptions adversely affect all of the students in the classroom. Talk to you child about being a model student and discuss possible disruptive behaviors that should be avoided.


Noise in the classroom is disruptive to the teacher and other students. When a child is talking to other students or talking out of turn, it’s difficult for other children and the teacher to concentrate. While questions and classroom participation are often encouraged, an uncooperative student can become disruptive by monopolizing the teacher’s time. Asking irrelevant questions regularly, arguing with the teacher or dominating classroom discussions can become troublesome in a classroom setting.

Arrivals and Departures

When a student arrives late, the classroom is disrupted as the teacher acknowledges the student, who situates himself at his desk. The teacher might also have to stop the lecture or classroom activity to accommodate the student. Early departures have the same effect. Emergencies and special circumstances can typically be accommodated – especially when discussed with the teacher in advance. However, regular late arrivals and early departures are unwanted interruptions that affect the classroom as a whole.

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Disruptive Noises

Excessive noises are distracting to other students and teachers. Rummaging through a desk or backpack while class is in session creates unnecessary noise and should be discouraged. Ringing phones, texting, playing on the Internet or instant messaging can be disruptive – even when the phone is set to vibrate. Other electronic devices, such as handheld video games, are also unsuitable for classroom use. Ensure your child knows to turn off all inappropriate electronic devices while class is in session.

Other Behaviors

Passing notes with other classmates takes students’ attention away from the classroom activity. Encourage your child to interact with her friends during appropriate times such as lunch and recess. Other disruptive behaviors include sleeping, eating and overt inattentiveness such as reading inappropriate materials. The use of derogatory language, threatening behavior or verbal abuse is disruptive and might need further intervention, such as alerting law enforcement officials. Cheating is another problematic behavior and a serious issue. Not only is cheating unethical, but it’s disruptive in a classroom setting. Teachers have to take time away from other students to address the behavior and implement appropriate consequences.

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