Discipline: The helper!

We’ve had plenty of Discipline ideas before if you have several (or a whole class!) of misbehaving kids.

And today’s discipline technique is for when you are lucky (or unlucky!) enough to have just one difficult student.

And it is very simple:

Make them your executive assistant for the day!

He/She comes to the front and helps you out, doing demo discussions, helping explain things etc.

Very often if there is just one problem student in the class it’s because they aren’t being challenged enough.

So making them your assistant can do wonders.

Have you tried this before? Β Do let us know how you got on in the comments.

Or check out the previous Discipline ideas

Be genki,


Richard Graham

I'm on a mission to make education Genkiβ€”fun, exciting, and full of life! Genki English has now been researched by Harvard University and licensed by the British Council around the world. The results have been magical! Now I'm here to help you teach amazing lessons, with all the materials prepared for you, and to double your teaching income so you can sustainably help many more students in the future!

13 Responses to “Discipline: The helper!”

  1. Uli

    yes I have tried it before and it works.
    Great idea!

  2. Nena

    Yes, it definitely works!
    I have a little boy who in my class that is a terrible…he can’t sit still, can stop talking, he would never finish anything he started in his notebook.. etc. The other teachers complain about him in the same way, his classmates pick on him, etc. I used to spend most of the teaching time telling him to go back to his seat, to be quiet, to do the work till one day I decided to adopt a different strategy. I told them that from now on I was going to give out stickers (big shiny ones for excellent work, smaller ones for good or draw an unhappy face for bad messy work. We were working on people description with has got and they had to draw all the different types of hair (long short, curly wavy straight, spiky, etc) the last drawing was of themselves as they are and one of how they would like to be. He was sitting in front of the class and I saw he was trying his best to keep it clean, so I would encourage and show the class…”look everyone: He’s doing a great job, this is what I want, etc. The last 2 pictures were of him as he is: short straight dark brown hair and as he wished he could be: long spiky green and red hair very funny picture. He got his big shinny sticker, he was so proud, he asked if he could take his notebook home to show his parents…etc. The next time he told me his parents were really happy and gave him a special treat for doing such a good job…and I started praising any good behavior and getting him involved from the beginning of the class by asking him to hand out the notebooks to erase the blackboard etc. He was never a problem again!

  3. Anne

    Hello! Yes, I would like to agree that this is indeed an effective way to give importance to a child and at the same time giving them responsibility which keeps them on the right track.


  4. Ron

    I have a student that would constantly talk when I was trying to teach. I noticed he was often mocking or mimicking me. One day I decided to have him help me teach the lesson. He was pretending he was doing it anyway. I had him hold up my flash cards, and since I always ask the same questions I simply had him ask them to the class. It worked, he had already proven he could do it by mimicking me, and he had fun helping me out, which led to an incredibly productive class.

  5. Joe

    Hi! I have 36 students of which I can say 19 of them are trouble maker. Can you suggest anything to solve this situation? I’ve asked few of them to assist me whenever possible but the rest keep doing unwanted things. Thank you.

  6. Rehab

    I tried this before one of my students was soactive kliked to move and talk she didn’t want to stay I told her come and you will be responsible for collecting the books and help me but if youstay quiet she changed alot but
    I am choosing by turn all the student tohelp me

  7. Foster

    I never tried it, but I believe it will definitely work and I will try it sometime in future.

  8. Melissa

    I always try to do that with the students who have a better command of the language, or I also ask them to help their weaker classmates and act like tutors. This really makes them feel useful and satisfied when they see their classmates are improving.

  9. Alissa

    I once had this student who (finally) finished an exercise and I let him be the one to write the answers on the board.
    He did it…………..with quite a ‘funny’ handwriting, but he still did it! πŸ˜€

  10. nana

    Hi Richard,
    I have 4 trouble makers in a grade 3 class of 30,but most of the class is noisy.i must have been too nice at the beginning.Anyway,I try to speak with the trouble makers who are also impolite during recess time to agree on mutual respect;it worked somehow,but they still tend to get loud at times.
    I think it is the worst class ive taught in years..And the funny thing is that even if they misbehave,they always come to hug me when they see me outside.I am not sure they know they are giving me a hrad time.

  11. Elena

    There is a student in my class who can’t sit still, can’t stop talking, can’t keep his hands to himself and even sometimes screems.

    I tried everything: talked to him, talked to his parents, gave him time-outs, banned him from collective games every time he broke the rules (and he broke them every time). I know, that he is a good kid, kind, smart and talented, he just has some neurological problems that do not let him control himself.

    So I really wanted to find a solution to this problem without expelling him from the course. Needless to say, other kids and parents didn’t like him. The parents even told their kids not to stand or sit near him in class because he was so disruptive. So, when we did any actitivies in a circle, it usually looked like him taking over haIf of the circle, and all other students sitting or standing on the other half. I didn’t think “the helper” technique would work with him, because he also had a tendency to become very shy and resentful when he was singled out.

    Nevertheless I decided to try. We had a lesson on animals, and everybody had to mime an animal we were talking about. I usually showed an example how to mime animals and what their sounds in English were. This time when this student started to misbehave, I invited him to lead the mimes, and then, lead in a song. He was very happy to do that, our circle became more balanced as he took the teacher’s place. And he behaved much better till the end of the class.

    I’m very happy about that!

    I intend to use this technique with other disruptive students next week.

  12. Richard Graham

    @Elena: Thank you, that is fantastic to hear!

    @Nana: That’s what kids do, push and push to find out what they can get away with πŸ™‚ You have a connection with them now, so tell them what the new rules are for the class and be strict. They’ll change. Oh, and also change your thinking, this class is the biggest chance you have to learn to grow this year!

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