How to handle an aggressive student?

What’s up, PRAC-Es?

There are a lot of things that are out of your control in the classroom. One of which is the students’ lives outside of school. Outside influences can occasionally cause aggressive outbursts from your students, that can be tough to deal with as a beginning teacher.

In this PRAC-E Snapshot, a senior teacher offers what he would do in this situation to regain control of the classroom but to also treat it as a learning opportunity for that student and the class as a whole.

Please enjoy the video and podcast below!


  • If the student is being overly aggressive, you need to isolate them from the class and give them a ‘cool off period’.

  • If things are getting overly serious, consult your school’s guidelines. You can also send them to senior management or buddy classrooms.

  • Have the student write a response, detailing the context of their outburst. Hear their point of view and let them feel heard.

  • Communicate with your HOD about what happened.

  • Get the other students engaged in some content, while you focus on the aggressive student.

  • Treat the outburst as a learning activity. Consult the student about how they would like to deal with similar feelings in the future. Prevention is better than cure. Perhaps they can show a card to you to display when they need to cool off.

Great suggestions. It is important to ensure you and your students have established clear rules and guidelines regarding acceptable behaviour. It is also very important to be consistent with the consequences. If there is an agreed set of rules and consequences, it is very important to follow these every time. Students respond to firm, fair and consistent guidelines and they need to know there are consequences for inappropriate behaviour.

1 Like