Classroom misbehavior in the eyes of students : a qualitative study

Tan Lei Shek, R.C.F. Sun

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Using individual interviews, this study investigated perceptions of classroom misbehaviors among secondary school students in Hong Kong (N=18). Nineteen categories of classroom misbehaviors were identified, with talking out of turn, disrespecting teacher, and doing something in private being most frequently mentioned. Findings revealed that students tended to perceive misbehaviors as those actions inappropriate in the classroom settings and even disrupting teachers’ teaching and other students’ learning. Among various misbehaviors, talking out of turn and disrespecting teacher were seen as the most disruptive and unacceptable. These misbehaviors were unacceptable because they disturbed teaching and learning, and violated the values of respect, conformity, and obedience in the teacher-student relationship within the classroom. The frequency and intensity of misbehaviors would escalate if students found it fun, no punishment for such misbehaviors, or teachers were not authoritative enough in controlling the situations. Implications for further research and classroom management are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-123
Number of pages11
JournalInternational journal of child health and human development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Student misbehavior
  • Students' perceptions
  • Chinese students
  • Classroom management
  • Hong Kong


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