How often would you send students out of your class because of disruptive behaviour? Never? Once a week? Once a day? Once a lesson? I’d imagine your response is largely  determined by the kind of school you are working in and its disciplinary system.

There was a very interesting piece in the media this week that reported on research that showed, students see being sent out of class as a personal attack by most students, prompted by a teacher’s anger or dislike, rather than as a consequence of disruptive and unruly behaviour.

Only around 40% of students were able to identify why they had been sent out of class. This seems strange, until you read that the same study shows that only 42% of the students were given the reasons for being sent out, and less than half were spoken to after the lesson. I’m not here to tell teachers they shouldn’t be sending kids out of class, but I am suggesting they should at least be telling the kids why they’re being sent out. How else can they address the behaviour teachers disapprove of?

To just assume kids know their behaviour is inappropriate is one assumption too many. When this happens, the author of the research, Professor Ramon Lewis said students perceive (often incorrectly) that teachers were angry and disliked them. This perception became the focus, rather than students accepting responsibility for behaving badly. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again – teaching is all about relationships. And relationships are all about communication. So if you are going to send a kid out, make sure they know why, and how you would like to see them improve in the future.


Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, writer and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at and tweets at @danhaesler