Blog Tutors Tutoring Tips Crash Course on Classroom Management: Understand & Correct Bad Group Behaviour

Crash Course on Classroom Management: Understand & Correct Bad Group Behaviour


Tutors, we know you’ve been there. You meet all sorts of students every day. And sometimes, you come across classes where things are in ABSOLUTE disarray!

Students are chatting loudly, a smartphone game tournament is underway in the back, and most are too busy in their own worlds to give you any attention.  

It can be utterly frustrating to have a disoriented and disrespectful class. While you’re not there to be a counsellor, disruptive behaviour in class needs to be addressed so that you can give your students productive lessons. 

In this article, we’ll teach you all about classroom management essentials. You will learn everything about the different behavioural issues of students and how to deal with them effectively

How do you Define Bad Behaviour in a Classroom?

What do you think counts as bad behaviour in class? Is it a student who bullies their classmate? Or is it when a student challenges your authority? Similarly, lack of class participation could also indicate bad behaviour. For most tutors, though, it’s all of the above. 

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In fact, anything that disrupts the harmony of your class could be bad behaviour. Here are some signs that you can look out for:

  • Not being attentive to lessons
  • Using phones in class
  • Talking when you are giving lessons
  • Verbal harassment
  • Not engaging during class discussions

If you start noticing such behavioural patterns, it is time to pay close attention to the involved students. So, let’s get started. 

Distractions and Disruptions


In simple terms, distractions and disruptions can be any action that diverts attention away from the learning environment. For instance, you might be introducing a new lesson. However, amidst this, some of your students might be talking among themselves, which diverts attention. 

As you would already know, these side conversations not only distract those around them but also disrupt the flow of the class. What’s more, such distractions can affect the overall classroom atmosphere, making it challenging for everyone to focus on the subject at hand.


Inattentiveness is another challenge tutors face from their students. This can cause students to miss out on the lesson or task at hand. Inattentiveness could manifest in many ways. 

For example, you might notice that your inattentive students are daydreaming, easily distracted by external stimuli, or simply into space. This can further lead to a struggle to grasp the material and incomplete assignments. 

Lack of Participation

In a lively classroom discussion, there’s often one student who consistently avoids eye contact, never raises their hand, and seems disinterested in contributing to the conversation

When students consistently refrain from actively engaging in class activities, discussions, or answering questions, it is considered a lack of participation. 

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This behaviour can result in a disinterest in the subject matter or shyness. It could also be due to reluctance to share thoughts with the class. A consistent lack of participation limits the student’s own learning opportunities. Not only that, but it also impacts the overall richness of classroom interactions. 



Tutors are likely to have issues with bullying in classrooms. Bullying is characterised by intentional acts of aggression, harassment, or intimidation directed towards a specific individual or group. 

Furthermore, bullying can take place in many ways. It could be verbal, physical, and social. These days, cyberbullying has also become a common aspect in classrooms. In 2022, a disciplinary teacher reported that she came across WhatsApp stickers created from another teacher’s photos, which were shared in unofficial student chat groups.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident. Many tutors and teachers in Singapore have shared their experiences about bullying and harassment against students and even teachers in classrooms. 

Why Does Bad Behaviour Happen In Class?


A student’s bad behaviour is often a result of various factors influencing their emotions, social interactions, or personal challenges. These factors will be reflected in their struggle to cope with different situations. 

That being said, the factors can also vary widely from one student to another.


The most obvious aspect to consider is the fact that each student is unique. The individuality of a student is determined by a wide range of characteristics, such as personality traits, likes and dislikes, mannerisms, emotional quotient, communication styles, and more

How each student reacts to different things also differs greatly. A hyperactive student will constantly seek the next ‘interesting thing’ in a classroom, while a quiet kid will stay in the corner to avoid attention.

Put simply, it’s NOT EASY to get everyone on the same page!

For instance, some students in your class are good at verbal communication. They might prefer expressing themselves by talking or doing presentations. 

On the other hand, there would also be students who prefer non-verbal communication, such as writing. 

Understanding how individual differences influence classroom behaviour is key to promoting an inclusive and effective educational experience.

Family and Home Environment


In our country, parental involvement in students’ academics is highly emphasised and encouraged. In fact, 67% of Singaporean parents frequently check their children’s homework and assignments. Still, the level of involvement varies from one student to another. 

Active parental participation is more important than you think!

When parents help with their child’s homework and check their progress with tutors, it makes the students feel appreciated. It’s a gesture that shows care, encouragement and support from the family.

Learning Disabilities


Tutors should also be aware of how learning disabilities might affect a student’s behaviour. For example, a student with dyslexia might show signs of distress in class because they might not understand the lesson. 

This makes it essential for tutors to understand how learning disabilities can influence classroom behaviour.

Understandably, classroom management can be quite tough when it involves students with learning disabilities. Often, tutors will require special training to understand the special education needs and help your students.  

If you need to know more, you can check out MOE’s guide on the special education needs of students. 

Emotional and Social Challenges


As a tutor, it’s not hard to figure out that children, or adolescents in general, respond strongly to their emotions. 

It’s not that they’re ‘moody’; they just have a harder time keeping up and controlling their own emotions. Meaning, they will often show their emotions outright. This can come in the form of outbursts, tantrums, or other disruptive behaviours in response to frustration, stress, or anxiety. 

Students with low self-esteem or confidence may also act out in class to deflect attention from their perceived inadequacies. Think of it as a ‘defence mechanism’ developed by the student. When they ‘challenge their teachers’ by insisting that they are not wrong, it masks their insecurities and keeps them in their comfort zone.

They may lie, shout and make irrational decisions in order to hide feelings like embarrassment in front of the class.

These coping mechanisms often share similarities. For instance, disruptive behaviour, such as withdrawal or avoidance, can be of an aggressive nature. Similarly, your students can also completely become non-participants in classes because of a conflict, choosing not to interact with the lesson instead.

Both such behaviours are equally disruptive to a conducive learning environment.

Peer Influence


Peer influence is another social aspect that you need to monitor between your students. Of course, you don’t need to go out of your way to micromanage everything that they do. 

Just understanding the red flags is good enough

For instance, teenagers often have the need to fit in and gain acceptance from their peers. In the process, they end up losing their opinions to the majority. This will drive them to adapt their behaviour to that of their peers. 

Depending on the peer group, this could be good or bad behaviour. For example, if a student exhibits disruptive behaviour in the classroom, others may follow suit, thinking it is acceptable or even desirable within their social group. And if the student receives positive reinforcement from their classmates, then such bad conduct would be escalated

On top of this, interpersonal conflicts among students can also escalate into disruptive behaviour in the classroom. Your students may bring outside conflicts into the classroom, leading to disturbances and distractions. 

Considering this, it is essential for tutors to understand peer dynamics to address and prevent disruptive behaviour in classrooms. 

What Can You Do to Address Bad Behaviour?


It’s a lot to take in, but tutors are often misunderstood as being second fiddle to school teachers. In fact, tutors work as hard as teachers in a classroom setting. And, of course, they face the same challenges. 

To keep your students focused on your lesson, here are some actionable strategies that can help turn the tide when faced with disruptive behaviour. 

Set Clear Expectations

From the very beginning of the school year or a new term, you should communicate your expectations to the students. Meaning, be explicit about what behaviours are considered acceptable and unacceptable in the classroom.

For example, make it clear that students should raise their hands before speaking and treat others with respect. 

How can you do this? You need to speak up with authority and make sure that you are heard. So, you could come up with something like this. 

‘Guys, raise your hand before speaking while I’m in the middle of the lesson, okay? Otherwise, you’re being rude!’

This is clear and stern. It conveys instructions and explains how to be polite. 

You can also encourage your students to share their thoughts and insights about classroom rules.  This will help you understand why your students might not be following any specific rules. Is it because they don’t understand the rule, or is it because it’s too strict?

If your students are determined not to listen to your bottom line, consult their parents to change their understanding of what is expected during your lessons. You could schedule parent-teacher meetings. These meetings offer an opportunity to share observations, express concerns, and collaboratively develop strategies for improvement.

And what’s more, when parents are informed about classroom expectations, they can reinforce those expectations at home. This helps students understand that behavioural norms are applicable across various settings, not only in classrooms. This will tremendously help to reinforce the importance of positive conduct.

Interactive Activities


Another way is to encourage active participation. This will help you become closer to your students and understand them better. When the tutor-student relationship becomes closer to that of friends, it becomes easier for them to see things from your perspective.

They don’t want their friend to be put on the spot, so they’ll cooperate with you better and engage with your lessons more sincerely.

Collaborative Efforts with Parents and Schools


Earlier, we discussed how family background could affect a student’s behaviour in class. Given this, regularly communicating with parents and even their school teachers will help you identify behavioural issues early on. This communication also provides insights into a student’s individual needs and circumstances

Not only that, in cases of persistent behavioural challenges, involving parents in the problem-solving process fosters collaboration. 

Tutors should also regularly schedule parent-teacher conferences. This provides dedicated time for discussing a student’s behaviour. These meetings offer an opportunity to share observations, express concerns, and collaboratively develop strategies for improvement.

And what’s more, when parents are informed about classroom expectations, they can reinforce those expectations at home. This helps students understand that behavioural norms are applicable across various settings, not only in classrooms. This will tremendously help to reinforce the importance of positive conduct.

Conflict Resolution


Sometimes, the problem comes from a clash of personalities and thoughts.

When students get into conflict with each other, you MUST be prepared to de-escalate the situation.

Depending on the individuals involved and the types of conflicts that can happen, you should adjust your approach accordingly.

To make the reading easier, we have broken down the process of conflict resolution into simple steps. 

Step 1: Maintain Your Composure

It’s common sense, but as the adult in the room, people look to you to resolve problems. And importantly, to attend to them right away. 

It is natural to have concerns when conflicts arise. Even if it’s your first time as a tutor, never show any worries on your face. Maintain your composure and approach the situation in a calm manner so that your students can also trust that you know what you’re doing!

Step 2: De-escalate Any Aggression

Sometimes, conflict can escalate quickly. If the conflict becomes at risk of physical violence, it is best to separate the students involved IMMEDIATELY. Teenagers are especially far too willing to throw down with their emotions. They’re very likely to do something that they’ll regret doing, so keeping them apart is the BEST way to calm them down.

Provide a space for each person. This will allow them to cool their heads so that they return to a more rational line of thought.

Step 3: Listen Actively 

Crucially, you should actively listen to each student involved and allow them to express their perspectives. At this stage, ensure that you understand their concerts and encourage empathy. 

Step 4: Find Common Ground

You can also establish common ground among students, encouraging them to communicate openly and constructively. For example, you can ask students to phrase their concerns like ‘I would appreciate it if …’ or ‘ I feel upset when…’. 

Step 5: Teach Conflict Resolution 

Tutors can also educate their students on how to resolve conflicts among themselves using compromise, negotiation, and brainstorming potential solutions together. This will help them work towards a mutually acceptable resolution. 

Step 6: Communicate With Parents 

All that being said, you might also have to involve parents when necessary. They can provide valuable insight into why their child behaves in a certain way and how you can resolve the conflict. 

Step 7: Document and Follow up 

And don’t forget to document any conflicts that take place in your class. If you have taken any disciplinary actions, you should make a record of them, too. On top of this, you should also follow up with the students involved to ensure that the conflict has been addressed. 

Importantly, acknowledge their efforts to resolve the issue. Even this slight recognition will reinforce positive behaviour and encourage them to conduct themselves properly. 

How Can You Create a More Conducive Environment For Learning?

If you incorporate the points we mentioned above, you should get a firm grip on classroom management. However, there are also a few steps you can take to create an encouraging environment for good classroom behaviour. 

Well, it has been widely established that giving positive encouragement is a powerful tool in shaping behaviour. But how do you actually do this? We have some ideas that might interest you in this aspect. 

Create a Safe Space for Your Students


Tutors play a crucial role not only in teaching academics but also in helping their students in their personal development. So, you have to keep this in mind and offer a safe and welcoming space for your students. 

By being an approachable tutor, you will help your students to be comfortable expressing themselves, asking questions, and taking intellectual risks without fear of being judged.

Establish a Growth Mindset

As a tutor, you should actively encourage your students’ efforts to better themselves academically or personally. When you acknowledge their resilience and perseverance, you are reinforcing positive thoughts in them. 

Additionally, you should also celebrate both individual and collective successes. Recognize achievements, improvements, and positive contributions. Such celebrations create a positive atmosphere and motivate students.

Differentiated Instruction and Individualized Support


Another factor we discussed above is how individual factors can affect a student’s classroom behaviour. The only way to address this is to include individual support and personalised learning techniques in your lesson plans. However, we understand that this can be challenging when you are tutoring groups

But, we do have a few strategies that will help meet the diverse needs of your students. 

Pre-Assessment and Continuous Assessment

It would be smart to conduct pre-assessments in your first class. If it is not possible, it’s best to do this as soon as possible,  early on during the academic year. This will allow you to gauge your students’ prior knowledge and skills. 

You can then combine this with continuous assessment to adapt the lesson plans. You can also take ongoing feedback to ensure that each student receives the appropriate level of challenge.

Instructional Materials


You can also consider creating a variety of instructional materials to cater to diverse learning preferences. This doesn’t mean you need to create different course material for each student. 

Rather, you can include a variety of mediums. For example, you need not stick to using verbal teaching methods or those provided by your tuition agency or centre. In fact, in order to appeal to different learning modalities, you can use videos, hands-on activities, and interactive digital resources.

You can also complement these resources by adjusting the pace of instruction!

Some students can learn fast and require accelerated challenges to stay engaged. But more often than not, most students come to tuition because they appreciate a slower pace of learning.

Always be on the lookout for your student’s learning preferences!



Remember, building an efficient classroom is a journey. Keep trying out different strategies and methods to find out what’s best for your teaching style and your student’s learning style

We hope that our guide has given you some actionable insight into classroom management. If you need more ideas on tutoring, feel free to explore the following articles! 

Integrating Creativity with Today’s Learning Techniques

Search Engine Optimization: Top 5 Strategies For Tutors To Get More Students In Singapore

How To Strengthen The Relationship With Your Online Students 

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.