Threats and commands from teachers such as "sit down" or "shut up!" are unlikely to improve pupil behaviour and could make it worse. Pupils also respond badly to sarcasm and negative judgments on them. Instead, teachers should anticipate trouble and pause before reacting.
The advice in a study Managing Classroom Behaviour by Chris Watkins of London University's Institute of Education was issued today by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. It compares maintaining classroom discipline to the work of an air traffic controller.
Sheila Dainton, of the ATL's policy unit said: "Managing discipline is about keeping one thousand and one plates spinning at the same time. It is an enormously complex process."