Indiscipline in schools

⌚︎ 3 min.

Learning resource

Indiscipline in schools

School indiscipline conceptualized in a national framework; suggested role-play activities simulating acts of indiscipline
Proposal for use
Prevention of radicalisation
Target group
Age 14-25
Pedagogical method
  • Make participants aware of attitudes commonly related to indiscipline. 
  • Identify factors that can be the basis of undisciplined behaviour.
  • Develop skills to analyse cases to counter indiscipline.

The activity starts with a debate on the following topics related to (acts of) indiscipline:

  • a definition of what indiscipline is, based on the participants' daily experiences;
  • possible reasons behind the phenomenon of indiscipline;
  • strategies to decrease the level of indiscipline and prevent (youth) marginalisation.

Teachers can introduce existing studies on the topic of indiscipline at a national level or other relevant surveys. What is considered as "indiscipline" by the students? Are there any differences in their views based on their cultural backround or origin?

The discussion is followed by a role-play, as a way to simulate a situation of indiscipline at school and possible ways to solve it .

During the school break, before the 9th grade science class, Tiago accused Jorge of stealing his shoes from the boys' changing room during their physical education class. Jorge defended himself, saying that it was not him who stole the shoes and that there was no proof against him. However, in science class Tiago accused Jorge again of stealing his shoes and called him a thief. Jorge was infuriated and physically assaulted Tiago during class.

Due to the fact that this was not the first time that Jorge got involved in situations of conflict, the school principal called a meeting to decide what sanctions should be imposed on Jorge. The following were asked to attend this meeting :

  • The attacker? Jorge;
  • The victim? Tiago;
  • The tutor (mother) of the attacker;
  • The tutor (mother) of the victim;
  • The school principal;
  • The science teacher;
  • The mediator/educator/social worker;
  • The student representative of the boys' class.

Notice that depending on the number of participants, the ones who do not have a specific role to play will be "observers", responsible for providing a final record of the role-play meeting. For this reason two people will be responsible for writing down the minutes of the meeting, as well as a list of the pros and cons regarding the final decision of the case.

Each participant must play different points-of-view regarding the situation:

  • School principal: coordinates the meeting and acts to promote reflection and participation of all participants of the meeting. 
  • Mediator/educator/social worker: believes that Jorge should be sanctioned, but argues that the situation needs to be carefully analysed to not be unfair.
  • Student representative of the boys' class: thinks that Jorge should be punished, considering this act in the light of his previous actions.
  • Jorge's mother: feels very sad about the situation and defends her son by insisting on that he was insulted, and that because of that he does not deserve to be punished.
  • Tiago's mother: argues that Jorge should be punished, so that the situation is not repeated either with her son or with other people.
  • Science teacher: believes that Jorge must be sanctioned because of his behaviour in the classroom.

The final decision of the case should be discussed among all participants, including the "observer participants".

Human and material resources

Different role scripts for the simulation/role-play.

One to two action facilitators.

Evaluation of the learning process

The debate and its evaluation should allow teachers to find out to what extent and how deep the objectives on awareness raising were achieved. Teachers must ask the participants to anonymously (optional) write about what they learned during the session.

Suggestions for follow-up

To do a final summary of the discussion about "indiscipline" and the role-play.   

Awareness module
Pedagogical modalities
Discussion within classroom
Number of participants
Universidade do Porto
Date of creation
Language(s) available






Portuguese, Portugal




Violent Behaviour