Teachers see clowning as an inappropriate attention-getting device that, unfortunately, is successful much of the time for the attention-seeking student. To deal with such behavior, consider which of the following you would or wouldn't do.

  1. Avoid public reprimands of a student clowning; instead, try one of these responses:

         Move toward a clowning student without making eye contact.
         Give a private warning of impending isolation from the group within the classroom.
         Isolate the clowning student to the rear of the classroom for a short time (1-5 min.) after only one warning.

  2. For repeated incidents of clowning, schedule a private conference with the student during recess or lunch. Present rationales for doing the clowning outside of the classroom and discuss alternative ways of getting attention (class plays, show-and-tell time, or a few minutes of stand-up comedy at the end of the day).

  3. Make a written signed contract for improving behavior. Include incentives and the possibility of being excluded from fun activities if the clowning continues.

  4. Enlist class support in ignoring a student's inappropriate bid for attention. Say, "Please don't pay attention to his/her nonsense. We're in school and we have quite a bit to do -- don't let ____ steal your time"

From The Discipline Checklist by Ken Kosier. Copyright 1998, the National Education Association.