Characteristics of Disruptive Classroom Behavior

Most children will act up in class at some time or the other, but children who display poor behavior much of the time can be considered disruptive. Some teachers have a higher tolerance for these behaviors, while others are quick to ask the students to leave. Chronic disruption in class leads to difficulties for classmates, teachers and the child himself, says There are several types of behaviors that are usually considered disruptive and that most teachers won’t tolerate.


There are many ways in which a student can verbally disrupt a class. This can include taking over class discussions, veering way off the topic at hand, constantly asking questions or offering comments and generally not letting the teacher or other students talk. This can also include having private conversations with peers. In addition, verbal threats or teasing are considered characteristics of disruptive behavior in a classroom.


Students who act out in terms of behavior do so in a manner that hinders the learning process and makes it difficult for the teacher to adequately teach the subject matter. This includes sleeping or eating in class, which distracts the other students from the material being presented. It also includes passing notes or being late. Many disruptive students talk and interrupt the class when they enter late.

Other examples of disruptive behavior can include intoxication and bullying. Finally, those students who are disruptive find no problem with questioning authority, be it about grades or their knowledge on the subject being taught.


Many schools have policies regarding the use of cell phones or other personal electronic devices in the classroom. Despite this, many students continue to receive text messages or phone calls during class, often loudly enough to interrupt what is being done. Talking on the phone and returning texts are also considered disruptive behaviors in the classroom.

About this Author

Eliza Martinez is a freelance writer in Denver and has been writing for about two years. Martinez has been published in Boulder Women’s Magazine and Examiner. She has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in psychology.