A case study of disruptive behavior in the classroom

Both parents worked long hours, Tammy’s father is a pie and cookie chef at the locate bread factory, he leaves for work at 5:00 a. m. and gets home by 3:00 in the evening. Her mother works at the mall as a sales manager at one of the clothing stores. Tammy’s mom sees all the children off to school before she has to be at work, she works 10:00 a. m. until 9:00 p. m. at night. She is usually home to say good-night to the children. There are five children in the family: Richard is 6 years old and in the first grade, Barbara is 9 years old and in the fourth grade, Allen is16 years old and a 10th grader, Diana is a 14-year-old 8th grader who has a learning disability. A disorder in the basic psychological processes involving an understanding of the use of language, which the disorder may reveal itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do Mathematics, (Heward, 2009, p 173) caused by a brain injury when she was 3 years old. Diana has always been in the special needs classroom.

This is the first year of school in which Diana will be mainstream within a general classroom of 8th graders in the middle school. Researchers have consistently found a higher-than-usual incidence of behavioral problems among students with learning disabilities, (Cullinan, 2007). Tammy is Diana’s 12-year-old, younger sister and will be in the 7th grade at the middle school, too. Tammy has begun to realize and notice that her older sister is different from her and most of the other students at there school. Tammy fights with any student who teases Diana. Three weeks ago the girls’ mom was called in for a meeting with teachers and school counselors concerning Tammy’s behavior. Tammy has always been a good student, easy to get along with and respectful toward the teachers and school property. School started two months ago and Tammy has been misbehaving for the past six weeks. In her classes, especially in A Case Study of Disruptive Behavior in The Classroom 3 homeroom, she verbally fights with the other students, she throws paper clips and other items in the room, sometimes at students and other times at the wall. Tammy has become withdrawn at school, she eats lunch with her sister and sees her back to her next classroom. Tammy has been getting to most of her classes after the bell rings and want to give a reason for it, instead she has become sullen and angry with her teachers. Tammy’s homeroom and P. E. teachers have called her aside and talked with her, this has not made a change in her attitude or behavior. Frustrated with Tammy’s disruptive behaviors, her teachers met after school to decide what to do about Tammy and other students’ behaviors in their classrooms, it has been decided that these students will have a one-on-one meeting with one of their teachers to review and add if needed to their homeroom rules and procedures.

One of Tammy’s teacher has no homeroom, she is free for the hour to discuss the classroom procedures and rules with Tammy during homeroom. These are the disruptive behaviors that Tammy’s teachers wish to correct: deliberate acting -out in classes; verbally fighting with peers and throwing items in the classroom; coming to class late, without a reason and she is not participating or working in class; she is withdrawn, sullen, and defiant; disrespectful when talking to her teachers and peers. The teacher realizes that she and her coworkers have not been effectively teaching the students.

She sets out to learn how to effectively teach and provide an interesting, stimulating, smoothly functioning, well-managed, and a safe and secure learning environment for all students at the middle school. The curriculum and lesson plans can be too challenging for some students, the student(s) can become disinterested, which can lead to disruptive behavior. There are a variety of learning styles, also family and environmental problems, mental and physical challenges can because by disruptive behaviors in students, (Heward, 2009). Disruptive behaviors interfere with students’ personal, social, and educational development.

These disruptive classroom behaviors lead to disciplinary consequences, which leads to the development of acceptable classroom rules and procedures. The number one factor governing the student’s ability to learn is how well the teacher manages the classroom. A well-managed classroom is task-oriented and predictable, which includes effective teaching, which starts with teaching students to follow classroom rules and procedures the first weeks of school, (Gibbs, 2011). Each homeroom class at the middle school has developed classroom rules and procedures, which Tammy helped her homeroom class to develop. Because her behavior is disruptive in most of the classes, the teachers in each of Tammy classes have decided Canter’s three-step behavior management cycle is needed and will be used to help Tammy correct and develop responsibility for her behaviors. Canter, (1992) three-step “Behavior Management Cycle,” is a theory that outlines how to deal with children’s discipline.

  • I. Verbally behavior: effectively communicate the explicit directions you expect students to follow.
  • II. Physical movement: use behavior narrative to support students following your direction, (students following classroom rules and procedures are to be praise).
  • III. Participation: take corrective action with students who are still not following the classroom’s rules and procedures.

All consequences need not be negative or harsh, such as the case with Tammy. When dealing with young adults its’ good to establish a rapport, its’ the most important ingredient, which causes a teenage student’s reluctance to be controlled into a willingness to be guided. Tammy is called outside her homeroom class by her teacher, once in the hall and out of hearing distance or he path-way of her peers, her teacher orally points out the rules. The rules Tammy and her peers developed to eliminate classroom disruptive behaviors, along with corrective action or consequences for students who do not comply with the rules and procedures. Tammy is re-mined of her verbal abuse toward her teachers and peers; she is asked, why do you throw paper clips and other items in the classroom; why do you no longer participate in class discussion or turn in the completed homework assignments.

Also, why are you late to class lately, and why are you sullen and often withdrawn? Your attitude, your negative and harmful behavior toward others must change. You are old enough to no throwing things in the classroom can be harmful to others and you should not do it. You are talking out in class and fighting with your peers. All these behaviors go against the rules of the classrooms. You use to make it to your class in five minutes like all the others. Your assignments were always completed in class and were correctly and neatly done. You was a smiling cheerful student and pleasant to everyone.

All your teachers have notice changes in your behaviors. You are expected to change your attitude and behaviors; there should be no more disrespectful talk to your teachers or peers, there will be no fighting in the halls or bathrooms, you will get to classes on time and follow the direction to complete your class assignments. Your parents have been mailed a letter if necessary a meeting with a counselor and your parents will follow. Tammy is a preteen in middle school with an older sister, who should be in high school, but she has a learning disability. Diana is a special needs student who is being mainstreamed into general classes.

This has caused Tammy to notice her sister’s learning disability behavior and the way other students tease her for the first time. Tammy feels she should protect her sister and fight with those students that tease Diana. Tammy refuses to listen to Diana when she tells her the teasing is ok and she does not listen to it. After Tammy’s talk with her teacher, Tammy’s disruptive behaviors stopped. Her teacher also, set up a meeting with Tammy, Diana, their parents, and the school counselor for families. The motivation behind Tammy’s disruptive behaviors was discovered and handle. Rational and irrational behaviors can be explained after what motivates a person to act is understood., (Aveyard-Barry, 2013). Tammy has become a pleasant student. She no longer walks Diana to her classroom but gets to her own on time. Tammy does not feel she has to take care of her sister and is no longer resentful and angry. She is a happy 12-year-old, a middle school student. Tammy enjoys school and being with her peers. The school counselor places Diana in a homeroom with several girls on the after school sports teams of basketball, volleyball, and tennis. They encouraged Diana to join a team and have taken it upon themselves to practice extra with her. They invited Diana to sit with them and some other students at lunch. *(I substitute for most classes, but wish to teach secondary school Mathematics and hope I could apply this behavior management to high school students. )


  1. Aveyard-Barry, M., (2013), What Are the Causes of Behavior in a Classroom? www.ehow.com/print/info_7929261_causes-behavior-classroom
  2. Canter, L., Canter, M. (1976), Assertive Discipline: A Take-Charge Approach for Today’s Educator, p 72, 73.
  3. Gibbs, N., (2011), Workable Classroom and Procedures, Building Classroom Discipline, tenth edition, Ch. 6, p 106-111, http//gcumedia. com/digital-resources/pearson/2011/building-classroom-discipline_ebook_10e.php.
  4. Heward, W., (2009), Ohio State University, Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education, ninth edition, p 173, 185. What Are The Steps of Canter’s Behavior Management Cycle wiki.answers.com/Q/What_Are_The_Steps_of Canter’s_Behavior_Management_Cycle?
  5. Sarvesh, Motivation And Behavior, www.motivation.com.in/motivation-and-behavior.html
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