Sanctions for Rude Behaviour?

Vignette #24


I am a teacher and I teach English at a grammar school. Since the beginning of the school year (ca. 8 weeks) a student (7th grade) disturbs during the English lessons by commenting (negatively) on the contributions of his classmates. In addition, he keeps shouting during the lessons: "English is the subject I hate the most". Due to his behaviour he received several times a detention and/or additional homework. During the first weeks, he made this extra work. But this didn’t change his behaviour in the long run. In the meantime, he refuses to do it and complains that he feels treated wrong by me. He tells me his impression that the girls would never be punished for a similar thing. I have the feeling that the sanctions reinforces his misbehaviour.

My problem is that I don't know how to find out whether the use of sanctions affects the student's behaviour in such a way that he can participate productively in the classroom. Was it just the wrong sanction? Or was it the way I communicated the sanction? Or was it the sanction itself? I lack alternatives to react to such a situation in a different way.



My dilemma is that I am not sure in which cases a sanction helps to change the pupil’s behaviour at all such that he follows the rules in class and in which cases I should find another way – without sanction.


  • Information on effectiveness of detentions in school. (Tool 1)
  • Information on classroom management techniques. (Tool 2)
  • Classroom leadership questionnaire (Tool 3 and 3a)
  • Seek the conversation with the student himself to exchange our perspectives on the situation. (Tool 8)
  • Talk to parents and student to see if any other problems in his private environment are triggering this behaviour. (Tool 8)
  • Improve the learning activities of the pupil with support of other pupils, e.g. by working with Cool-groups: 2 to 3 students work online together when doing homework or preparing for a class test. (Tool 12)
  • Reflect my behaviour towards the student also in comparison to the other students (e.g., in a coaching session). (Tool 11)