The behaviour question

10th May 2013 at 01:00

We have had a few incidents recently where children were particularly disruptive and it was necessary to remove them from the class. What can we do when they refuse? It isn't easy for two or three members of staff to carry 10- and 11-year-old children out of the class, which is what they are having to do. Any great alternative suggestions will be received with thanks.

What you said


Have you tried giving them the option of stepping outside for a moment to help them calm down? It works with some children. Sometimes they find themselves getting out of control and have no idea how to deal with it. If you can calmly give them a bit of space, this can be really helpful. They don't see this as a punishment.


Children who refuse to leave are doing it for power reasons. If the teacher asks them to step outside for a word and they don't comply then the answer is to say to them that they have 30 seconds to leave and if they don't then sadly the entire class will have to leave the room. You then take a back step, allow the miscreant to choose to leave (trust me, there will be a lot of irritated students who yell at him to do so) and in the 5 per cent of cases where the child still refuses to cooperate, you apologise to the class, throw in a few comments like "Unfortunately Joe doesn't want to let you get on with your lesson" for good measure and then get the whole class to go out of the room. At this point, a child refusing to leave will be in a really tiny minority.

The expert view

There isn't a significantly better alternative to removal: it is entirely necessary for the good of everyone, including the guilty party. In the first instance, ask the child to step outside, without showing anger; if you're aggressive, you'll encourage them to defy you to save face. If they refuse, send a trusted student, a classroom assistant or, if necessary, the teacher next door to summon a senior staff member.

By that point, most students will realise that the situation is escalating and many will comply. Some won't, or will revel in the attention, in which case just keep calm and try to carry on with the lesson until help arrives and the child is removed from the room. The key thing is to remain serene and not feed the child's desire for attention. Chances are, most of their classmates are tired of them, too.

Finally, make sure a sanction results from the event - it should be relatively severe, as befits a situation where a child actually has to be removed for everyone's good.

Tom Bennett is author of The Behaviour Guru and Not Quite a Teacher. Read more from Tom on his TESConnect blog (bit.lytombennett) or follow him on Twitter at @tesBehaviour. His latest book, Teacher, is out now, published by Continuum

Post your questions at www.tesconnect.combehaviour.

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