How to Put an End to Inappropriate Comments and Questions from Student
Aug 8, 2011 Classroom Management 8938 Views
There is always the possibility that some students will try to discover a little too much about you or try to make you feel uncomfortable by asking increasingly personal, inappropriate, or silly questions. This is especially true when you start teaching a new class as the students are trying to test your boundaries and see if they can get you uncomfortable and upset. This type of behaviour needs to be dealt with swiftly or you could risk losing control of your entire class.
Students do this to gain attention, hold up lessons and look good in front of their peers. They are trying to find your weaknesses, embarrass you, and ultimately wind you up. Sometimes they try to shock you in front of their peers as a way to increase their status or show off, and sometimes they just want to get a laugh out of the class.
The fact is, at some point you will become a victim of this type of behaviour and you will want to know how to deal with it. This type of situation needs to be cut short early, so as not to develop into something uncontrollable that will only serve to make you lose your temper. If you play into some of these questions, they will only become ruder and more personal until they find your breaking point.
The way to deal with this type of questioning and verbal abuse is to immediately take the attention away from the child. One good way to stop this behaviour dead in its tracks is to simply state, without emotion, that the conversation is inappropriate and must stop. Or, you can create a diversion such as a quick demonstration or introducing a new topic or activity. Changing the course of topic is great as it makes the moment quickly over and gets students’ attention onto something else that is productive and interesting, while also sending the message that inappropriate questions will be ignored.
When you’re faced with a student who is threatening you or verbally abusing you, simply tell them that you are writing their comments down so that when you have to explain their behaviour to other people you will remember everything correctly. This works every time. They will realize that they are on the losing side of this situation and that they could stand to get in serious trouble from their actions. It is important that you communicate this to the student matter-of-factly with no emotion because that will also take away any satisfaction they could get from getting a reaction out of you.
While you should avoid cutting sarcasm and personal slights, stealing the attention with the correct use of humour can be a good way of diverting attention also. Make a joke directed at how inappropriate the question asked is, and then change the direction of topic. For instance, saying something like: “Do you believe in freedom, because if you making comments like that you’re going to lose yours at lunch time,” makes your point in a non-harsh way while at the same time giving you the opportunity to stop the behaviour and divert the class’ attention to something else.