4.2 Disruptive Students and Confrontation

Disruptive Students & Confrontation

Handling a student who is shouting out in class and asking tough questions as a guest presenter can be a challenging situation, but here are some steps that you could take:

  1. Stay calm: It’s important to remain calm and composed when dealing with a disruptive student. If you become angry or agitated, it could escalate the situation and make it harder to resolve.
  2. Remind them of your expectations: If you went over expectations at the beginning of your time together, take a moment to remind everyone about the expectations. Say “Reminder, I need you to put up your hand instead of shouting out!”
  3. Acknowledge the student’s input: Even if the student is being disruptive, it’s important to acknowledge their contribution. Thank them for their question or comment, and let them know that their input is valued.
  4. Redirect the conversation: If the student’s questions are off-topic or derailing the presentation, politely redirect the conversation back to the main topic. You could say something like, “That’s an interesting point, but let’s focus on this for now.”
  5. Offer to follow up: If the student has a legitimate question that can’t be answered during the presentation, offer to follow up with them after class to provide a more detailed answer.
  6. Seek help if needed: If the student’s behaviour is disruptive and interfering with the learning experience of others, it may be necessary to seek help from the teacher in the classroom to help settle them down. Normally, the teacher will jump in before you have to get to this step.

Overall, the key is to remain calm, stay positive, acknowledge the input and redirect the conversation back to what you were talking about.


There is always one or two students in every class who is extremely confident, loves to answer questions in class, and wants to be in the spotlight. This is not a bad thing, especially when you are just starting out presenting to classrooms – these eager students can be very helpful in encouraging others to put their hands up to try to answer questions.

Sometimes, however, they will put up their hand for every single question, taking away from the other kids’ chances and it becomes clear that they are wanting to monopolize the group.

Having monopolizing group conflict negatively impacts the group’s productivity and can disrupt your presentation. When one person dominates the group, other members may feel unheard or neglected, disengaging or withdrawing from the group. Conflict resolution strategies, such as setting clear guidelines and encouraging active participation, can help manage the situation and ensure that all members of the group have an equal opportunity to participate and contribute their ideas.

Taylor’s Tips: Redirect! Redirect! Redirect!

In my experience, when students are being disruptive in the classroom, staying calm and respectfully redirecting the question always works. Even if what they said was inappropriate, or just plain silly – redirecting the question will bring you back on track without giving too much attention (positive or negative) to the child who has disrupted the presentation.

For example, if I asked the class “What do you see in this picture that looks wrong, or that is unkind on the bus?” and a child put up their hand and said something silly, like “That man looks REALLY old” just to get a laugh from their classmates, I would respond with “Hmmm, okay. I’m looking for unkind things, anyone? What is going on here that’s wrong?” and simply redirect back to the original question.

Even if the answer was something more inappropriate, redirection still works because you are shifting the attention from them back to you instantaneously.

This also works well to help with monopolizing group behaviour because you can easily redirect, and ask someone else’s opinion. For example, the child who has answered most of the questions yells out another answer in class, which decreases the morale of the other students. Sometimes I will say “Okay, that’s one opinion. Does anyone else have any other ideas?” This makes it so the monopolizer has had their say, but now the floor is completely flipped to the other members of the group which gives them an opportunity to contribute.

Please watch the following video for an example of Taylor using redirection when being confronted with conflict:

BusReady Ambassador Training - 4.2