Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The Behaviour Question: Behaviour

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The Behaviour Question: Behaviour

Article excerpt

How do you deal with students asking deliberately stupid questions to get attention from the class? For example, I had a student sit down for a French test and, after it had been explained that all the answers had to be in French, stick his hand up with a smirk on his face and ask, in front of the whole class, "Do we have to write in French, Miss?" He then looked round at his audience. I told him I was not going to answer the question, to which he replied that I had always told them to ask if they were stuck. At this point, the whole class fell about laughing and it took me five minutes to calm them down. This happens frequently in a couple of my classes. How should I prevent it?

What you said


This student thinks he has found a loophole in your behaviour policy, in that you can't tell him off for "just asking a question". He's wrong and you need to make clear to him that you consider this to be disruptive behaviour, just like any other. Call his bluff and punish him away from the attention of his friends - it won't seem nearly as funny.


At the start of my teaching career, I felt I had to answer every question because I had to help students, but now I quite often tell them to put their hands down, explaining that I'm not taking any more questions at that time. …

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