Gordon Cairns

How to handle pupils who love playing up

Some students crave the limelight – and their attempts to grab attention can disrupt lessons. Gordon Cairns offers advice on neutralising this threat to classroom order

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You know the kind of student I’m talking about. We’ve all taught them: those pupils who can’t cope with order in the room and have to break it by drawing attention to themselves. They usually create the kind of disruption that’s not going to get them into serious trouble, but will create just enough static to allow them to bask in the glow of the teacher’s disapproval or break the monotony of a quietly working classroom. Researchers at the University of Texas have officially coined this behaviour as “need for drama”.

I recall one student who could tie you up in linguistic knots because of a ...

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