Does bad behaviour affect learning? (5 ways)

This blog post aims to answer the question, “Does bad behaviour affect learning?” and explore the effects of bad behaviour on learning and possible methods of correction to help understand the answer. 

Does bad behaviour affect learning?

Yes, bad behaviour can affect learning. Bad behaviour can affect learning in the following 5 ways –

  • Bad behaviour can negatively impact the learning environment.
  • Bad behaviour lowers the time teachers spend teaching.
  • Bad behaviour leads to poor academic performance.
  • Bad behaviour fosters a lack of motivation.
  • Bad behaviour can be a result of underlying learning and mental health disorders. 

What are these 5 ways bad behaviour affects learning?

Bad behaviour can negatively impact the learning environment.

Academic attainment is also influenced by student conduct. Pupils’ conduct can have an impact on their capacity to learn as well as the learning environment for other students.

Disruptive students can have a detrimental impact on a whole classroom by harassing other students, chatting during lectures, or prompting the teacher to interrupt courses to reprimand them. 

Disruptive students can impair a classroom’s test scores and academic progress, according to a 2010 research published in “American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.” 

Bad behaviour lowers the time teachers spend teaching.

Teachers with disruptive pupils may have to spend more time on behavioural control, lowering the amount of time they can spend teaching.

Bad behaviour leads to poor academic performance.

In their book “Welcome to Your Child’s Brain,” neurologists Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt suggest that impulse control is one of the most important determinants of predicting academic achievement. 

Students who struggle with impulse control have a harder time pushing themselves to study, do assignments, and pay attention in class. 

Even if they score well on IQ and achievement tests, this might limit their potential to flourish academically. In order to assist youngsters to acquire impulse control, Wang and Aamodt highlight the need of establishing rules and teaching frustration tolerance.

Bad behaviour fosters a lack of motivation. 

Even the finest professors won’t be able to compel a kid to study if he or she is uninterested. Student motivation influences whether a student studies or completes her homework, seek more assistance when necessary, and pays attention in class. 

In a 2006 report published in the “Annual Review of Psychology,” researchers underlined the importance of student motivation in learning and discovered that uninspired students perform worse. 

Children that are intrinsically driven are more likely to achieve than children who require external motivation in the form of punishments and incentives, according to developmental psychologist Albert Bandura’s study, which is included in the textbook “Child Psychology.”

Bad behaviour can be a result of underlying learning and mental health disorders. 

Attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, autism, and oppositional defiant disorder are examples of learning difficulties and mental health issues that can have a significant impact on student behaviour. 

According to “Child Psychology,” students with the oppositional defiant disorder, for example, struggle to accept authority and may regularly oppose instructors and parents. 

Even when teachers have good classroom management, students who require mental health therapies, occupational therapy, or psychoactive medicines may conduct badly in class. 

This can have an impact on these pupils’ capacity to study, and students with certain problems may find it difficult to succeed in traditional schools. Teachers frequently struggle with a few unruly students acting up in the classroom and disturbing a whole lesson. 

Troubled children, on the other hand, are not only disruptive to instructors and classrooms, but they are also more likely to receive poorer marks.

A recent study looked at the relationship between the development of problem behaviour in 5,400 children aged eight to eleven from 138 primary schools in England. 

The students were in Years 4, 5, and 6, which are the final three years of elementary school and are known as Key Stage 2. It was shown that people who acquired disruptive behaviour during these three “middle childhood” years performed lower on the end-of-Year 6 assessments, also known as SATs.

The study looked at problem behaviours such as when youngsters became furious, struck out, broke objects, injured people, or lost their temper. 

Children who corrected their issue behaviours between Years 4 and 6 nevertheless performed poorly on arithmetic, reading, and science assessments at the conclusion of primary school when compared to their counterparts who had never displayed any problem behaviours. 

These better-behaving youngsters made somewhat less progress between Key Stage 1 (age 7) and Key Stage 2 (age 11) tests than those who had been well-behaved throughout. As seen in the graph below, 67 per cent of these kids met the government’s Key Stage 2 goals. 

In comparison, 77 per cent of students who had no problems with their behaviour in the later years of elementary school met the required benchmark.

This shows that the learning lag produced by problem behaviours at a young age may result in worse academic achievement long after the issue behaviours have faded. 

How can students with bad behaviour be helped to learn better?

Regardless of the source, early action to modify the behaviour may be critical. 

According to research conducted in England, when schools were given funds to help their student’s mental health, elementary schools mostly used the funds for treatments aimed at reducing disruptive behaviour. 

An increase in money and assistance was linked to a reduction in problem behaviour. 

According to a new study, children with behaviour difficulties can usually stay up with classroom learning, but chronic behaviour problems might be a strong predictor of how successfully these kids adjust to the workplace.

These findings were discovered thanks to two research sponsored fully by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Developmental and Learning Sciences programme. 

Both investigations were undertaken by researchers from the University of Michigan’s Center for the Analyses of Pathways from Childhood to Adulthood (CAPCA) in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Parents, teachers, and social and behavioural scientists may be able to use the findings to help disruptive kids improve their educational and vocational outcomes.

In one study, researchers looked at data from six large-scale investigations involving over 36,000 preschoolers in which the same patients were studied over time. 

Two national studies of American children, two multi-site studies of American children, one study of British children, and one study of Canadian children were included in the study.

Greg Duncan, a professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern University, and the study’s 11 co-authors discovered that, surprisingly, difficulties getting along with classmates, aggressive or disruptive behaviours, and sad or withdrawn behaviours in kindergarten did not detract from academic achievement in childhood and early adolescence.

The researchers looked at a number of indications, including picking fights, interrupting the teacher, and disobeying orders. 

When they reached fifth grade, they discovered that kindergarteners who did these things fared surprisingly well in reading and arithmetic, keeping up with well-behaved youngsters of similar skills.

Although Duncan’s study revealed no link between early behavioural difficulties and later learning, another CAPCA study that looked at older children discovered one. 

Persistent behaviour issues in eight-year-olds, according to CAPCA investigator Rowell Huesmann, are a potent predictor of educational attainment and how well people would perform in middle life.

According to Huesmann, if behaviour difficulties exhibited in younger children persist until they reach the age of eight, they can lead to further problems. 

While just a tiny percentage of youngsters fall into this category, their actions have the potential to impair their vocational and academic accomplishments compared to their better-behaved peers.

Huesmann drew his findings on a previous study as well as a recent analysis by CAPCA’s Eric Dubow, Paul Boxer, Lea Pulkkinen, and Katja Kokko. That group looked at two sets of longitudinal data from the United States and Finland.

Children who participated in more frequent violent behaviours as eight-year-olds had a much worse educational performance by their 30s and significantly lower status professions by their mid-40s, according to an analysis of data from 856 US children and 369 Finnish children.

Conclusion – 

This blog post aimed to answer the question, “Does bad behaviour affect learning?” and reviewed the effects of bad behaviour on learning and possible methods of correction to help determine if bad behaviour affects learning. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

References –

Patalay, P. Does developing bad behaviour in primary school affect a child’s grades? (2015, August 28). Retrieved from,progress%20between%20the%20Key%20Stages.

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Miller, R. Negatives of Disruptive Behavior in the Classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Address Problematic Student Behavior. Carnegie Mellon University. (n.d.).Retrieved from

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DeVries, J. M. How Does Social Behavior Relate to Both Grades and Achievement Scores? (2018, June 4). Retrieved from

Kremer, K. P., Flower, A., Huang, J., & Vaughn, M. G. (2016). Behavior problems and children’s academic achievement: A test of growth-curve models with gender and racial differences. Children and youth services review, 67, 95–104. Retrieved from

Thompson, V. How Can Behavior Affect Academics for Students? (n.d.). Retrieved from

Children’s Bad Behavior Gives Insights to Academic Achievement and Later Career Success. National Science Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Smolleck, L. A. & Duffy, C. G. The Role of Negative Behavior on Children’s Academic Performance in Early Childhood Education. (2017, November 8). Retrieved from

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