Hi all,

I'm looking for information on policies and procedures regarding managing behaviour in the classroom. I'm hoping you all can help.

I'm after a policy that would be appropriate for a commercial environment where a client has paid for the training of their employees. I'm actually writing an essay on this topic and have lots of ideas and experiences on how to manage behaviour but worryingly our organisation doesn't actually have a policy on it! The MD currently trusts our judgement on how to deal with difficult situations but this obviously isn't ideal and a policy should be put in place to protect all involved.

I have a few ideas in mind in terms of how to deal with each 'level' of disruption/poor behaviour where I see the last resort as asking the attendee to leave the session (fortunately I have never had to do this) however it would be great to hear all of your thoughts and experiences before I start writing my own policy.


Thanks in advance.


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Interesting one.  Fortunately I've never had to ask a learner to leave either.  I think the response will vary depending on the type of behaviour:

  • Not interested in this topic - I think that this can be covered by summarising the learning objectives and agenda at the start and getting all learners to confirm why they're there at the start.  If that person isn't interested in just that topic, then I'd do nothing and wait to engage them in the session in which they're interested
  • Not interested in anything - same procedure, they may have been told to come and not be interested.  If they're a minority then I'd tend to just not worry about them.  Maybe try to give them a key role in any exercise?
  • Disagrees - I reckon that this can be fun.  If your trainer has the skills to do it unemotively, start an argument!  It can be a great way of building engagement
  • Intimidating/threatening - not acceptable, if they shout or act in a threating way, I'd tell them that you find it unacceptable, if it continues, I'd toss their sorry arses, prefereably by a large burly security guy

Just my thoughts

Many moon ago in a previous organisation, we were rolling out a process and accompanying IT system that we knew would be controversial (without getting into to much detail, the human change piece hadn't been done properly) and the first few classroom sessions were spiky, to say the least.  We adopted a three strikes and you're out of the room policy for behaviour deemed unconstructive or dispruptive.  The person then had only 1 course of action if they wanted to take it further; the CEO!  I know, a bit like sending a naughty pupil to the headmaster but it was appropriate in the context we were facing and also was the first big show of Exec Support for training.  The CEO went on to personally endorse our activities and this was a big help on a number of initiatives.


I agree with John's points - not interested/disagrees gives a trainer a great opportunity and challenge. Initimidating/threatening - out on their ears :)


We don't have a policy and, in some ways I would be wary of this, as a good trainer should be left to deal with poor behaviour in the classroom in a (perhaps creative but) professional way.  I think that there is a difference between training where there is holistic negativity and courses where there are one or two more difficult customers in the room.  Colin Kemp obviously had a particular situation whereby the full endorsement/threat of the CEO was a necessary 'incentive'.

Where we have had the potential for whole classrooms to react negatively, we have used certain techniques within the design of the training, such as starting with a discussion focussing on  'what if we didn't do this'.  As long as the discussion is carefully facilitated and moved forward so that it ends up being an energised positive result. 

In terms of individuals, I have, on occassions, had a conversation with a member of the class who is being destructive.  Sometimes I ask for their 'help' in talking about how they have achieved positive outcomes/results (where they are well-experienced but negative) whilst others I have asked for them to 'use their influence' to encourage some of the less verbal classmates to share their experiences/ask questions (which gets them to encourage rather than try to take over).  Of course, it is very different when training on management development, personal effectiveness, or systems training as each one will require a different style.  This is why I would wonder how effective a policy would be.



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