Conflict in class: Examples, causes, and prevention among students




conflict in class

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It is no secret that conflict can arise in any setting where people are present. This is especially true for children who are still learning how to effectively communicate and understand one another.

While some conflict is inevitable and can even be beneficial, too much of it can lead to a hostile and unproductive learning environment.

In this article, we will explore the different types of conflict that can occur in the classroom, as well as the various causes and prevention methods.

What is classroom conflict?

Classroom conflict is a situation in which two or more people in a classroom setting are experiencing tension, disagreements, or hostility. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as differences in opinion, personality clashes, or competition for grades. Classroom conflict can have a negative impact on the learning environment and the overall academic experience.

What are some examples of classroom conflict?

In every classroom, there will always be some form of conflict among students. It is important to understand what these conflicts are so that they can be resolved quickly and effectively. Here are 15 examples of classroom conflict among students:

1. One student repeatedly interrupts another while he or she is trying to speak. This can lead to classroom conflict.

2. Two students consistently argue with each other over the same thing.

3. A group of students regularly excludes one student from their activities.

4. A student spreads rumors about another student in an attempt to ruin his or her reputation.

5. A student constantly tries to put down or make fun of another student in front of others.

6. A student refuses to do his or her share of work in a group project.

7. One student is always trying to show up or outdo another student.

8. One student keeps another student from participating in a group activity.

9. A group of students gangs up on one student and bully him or her for a period of time.

10. One student makes threats against another student, either directly or indirectly.

11. A student gets others to gang up on another student and bully him or her.

What are the causes of classroom conflict among students?

In every classroom, there is bound to be some conflict among students. While a certain amount of conflict can be healthy, too much can lead to a disruptions in learning. So what are the 12 most common causes of classroom conflict among students?

1. Different learning styles.

Some students learn best by listening to lectures, while others prefer more hands-on or visual methods. This can lead to conflict when students feel like they are not being taught in a way that works best for them. For example, some of my students learn best when doing what they are learning while others learn by reading and listening. Some learn well alone while others learn best in a group. This often creates confusion among students when you give  them the opportunity to choose what to learn and how to learn it. 

2. Competition for resources.

When there is a limited number of resources (such as desks, pencils, or seats), students will often compete for them. This can lead to conflicts when one student takes too much advantage of the situation and the other students feel powerless to stop him or her. 

3. Personal differences.

Some students are just more competitive than others. Whether it’s a desire to stand out or simply wanting to be the best, this type of competition can lead to conflict. For example, one student may be unwilling to let another student have the lead in a class discussion, even if that other student is not contributing as much as he or she should. This can lead to conflict between them and can affect the peace of the classroom.

4. Heterogeneous ability levels.

When students are of different ability levels, it can be difficult for the teacher to create lessons that challenge everyone without frustrating those who are struggling. For example, a student who is advanced in mathematics might find a lesson on basic algebra easy, while a less-experienced student might have problems completing the same task. This can lead to conflicts as the more advanced student feels less challenged and frustrated, and the less-advanced student feels left out and unimportant.

5. Poor teaching.

If you are not a good communicator or do not have an engaging personality, it can be difficult to keep your students interested. When your lessons are boring or you are not engaging enough, students may start to feel frustrated and conflict can become a reality. This can lead to a conflict between you and your students because they may begin to misbehave or interrupt the class.

6. Learning is disruptive.

Students may be learning different skills in different classes. This can create conflict as students are trying to learn new information and simultaneously follow the instruction from their teacher. This can lead to disruptions in the classroom, leading to conflict between you and your students. For example, a student who is struggling to learn something might be disruptive while another student is trying to follow something else in the lesson.

7. Lack of motivation can cause classroom conflict.

Students may be less motivated to learn if they are not interested in their subject or teacher. If your classes are not interesting, students may lose interest and become disruptive. This can lead to conflict between you and your students because they will not be able to focus on the lesson. For example, a student who is struggling in a math class may become disruptive if he does not enjoy the subject.

8. Lack of technology can cause conflict in your classroom.

If students need computers and other technological tools to access information and communicate with others but they are not there, conflict can arise. For example, a student who is assigned to a classroom without a computer may become disruptive because he cannot complete his assignments.

9. Lack of encouragement can create an environment for conflict in your classroom.

Students may not be motivated to learn if they see no use for the knowledge or if they are not encouraged by you. This does not create positive and conducive environment for everyone to succeed. This environment can breed conflict between you and your students or among your students themselves. For example, a student who feels unsupported may not feel like he can contribute to the class discussion, which could lead to conflict.

10. Lack of relevance can breed conflict in your classroom.

Students may see no relevance between what they are learning and their life outside school. This can lead to an environment where students are not engaged in the class. This can also lead to conflict because students may feel like they can’t connect or relate with what they are learning in class. For example, a student who is learning about Ancient Greece but does not have any connection to it may feel frustrated and angry when he does not understand the material.

11. Lack of uniformity can cause classroom conflict.

Students may learn different things in different classrooms and therefore have a hard time transferring their knowledge. This can lead to conflict because students may not understand each other or the material. For example, a student who learned about Ancient Greece in a history class may not be able to understand a student who is learning about Ancient Greece in a Greek language class.

12. Lack of discipline and order can cause conflict in your classroom.

Students may be distracted by the noise in the classroom or by the behavior of other students. This can lead to conflict because students may not be able to focus on what they are learning. For example, a student who is trying to learn may not be able to focus if there is a lot of noise in the room and the other students are constantly talking. That can cause fights/quarrels among students.

12. Lack of role models.

If you don’t model conflict resolution or how to avoid or prevent conflict in your classroom, your students will not know how to handle issues that can lead to conflict among themselves. The same applies to the guardians or households of the students. For example, a student who grew up in a household where there was always conflict may not know how to handle disagreements without getting emotional or upset. That can lead to fights/quarrels in the classroom.

How to prevent conflict among students in the classroom?

It’s no secret that conflict among students can easily arise in the classroom. If left unchecked, conflict can lead to disruption, decreased productivity, and missed learning opportunities.

Fortunately, there are many things teachers can do to prevent classroom conflict. Here are 19 of the most effective strategies:

1. Encourage positive reinforcement among students.

Positive reinforcement is a great way to prevent conflict because it rewards desired behaviors and discourages negative ones. For example, giving students positive feedback for having good behavior in the classroom can help them learn to behave positively in other situations as well.

2. Establish clear rules and consequences from the beginning of the school year about conflicts in the classroom.

When students know what is expected of them and what will happen if they don’t meet those expectations, they’re less likely to engage in disruptive behavior that can lead to conflict. For instance, students who are expected to keep their voices down during class may be given a detention if they can’t follow that rule.

3. Make sure all students have access to resources and support.

Not all students will respond positively to rules and consequences, so it is important to make sure they have the resources they need to cope with conflict in a healthy way. This could include accessible counseling services, group therapy sessions, or educational materials related to conflict management.

4. Have high expectations for students’ behavior regarding conflict management in the classroom. 

From an early age, students are socialized to interact with others and resolve conflicts. When these skills are not exercised in a healthy manner, it can lead to conflict in the classroom. Poor conflict management can have many negative consequences for students, including feelings of frustration, anger, and stress.

Opportunities for conflict arise naturally when students are trying to learn new material or when they are working on group projects. However, teachers should take steps to prevent conflicts from occurring in the first place.

They should have high expectations for their students’ behavior regarding conflict management, set clear boundaries for unacceptable behavior, and provide training on how to effectively resolve disputes.

By taking these steps, teachers can help their students learn how to work cooperatively and productively together.

5. Establish and enforce rules that are consistent and clear regarding conflict management and resolution.

Consistency is the key to effective discipline and conflict. If students know what is expected of them, they can adjust their behavior accordingly. For example, if you expect students to take their turn speaking, make sure that the rule is stated clearly and consistently. Doing that can help reduce the incidence of conflict.

6. Encourage students to resolve conflicts peacefully.

Many conflicts can be resolved without involving the authorities. If a dispute is too heated to be resolved peacefully, consider consulting with a teacher or administrator who can help mediate the situation. For instance, in a classroom setting, you may ask students to come up with a solution to their dispute outside of class.

7. Build a positive climate where students feel safe and secure in order to prevent conflict in your classroom.

When conflict arises in a classroom, it can be difficult to know how to approach the situation and manage the emotions involved.

A positive climate where students feel safe and secure is essential in preventing conflict from happening in the first place.

Creating a safe space for students to communicate and exchange ideas is one of the most important steps in preventing conflict from occurring.

Some common causes of conflict in classrooms include misunderstandings or differences in opinion, teasing or bullying, and competition among students.

A positive climate is important to ensure that all students feel welcome and respected, regardless of their background or interests.

By creating an environment of mutual respect, it will be easier for teachers to identify and address conflicts before they become too serious.

8. Consistently enforce school rules and procedures.

If students know that you’re serious about enforcing the rules, they’ll be less likely to misbehave and create conditions for conflict. For example, making sure that all students are wearing the correct school clothing and insignia helps to create a sense of order and discipline.

9. Teach students how to solve problems and work out conflicts peacefully and respectfully through conflict resolution skills.

Teaching students how to resolve conflicts can help prevent conflict in the classroom. Through conflict resolution skills, there are a number of different ways students can learn how to solve problems and work out conflicts peacefully and respectfully.

Some students may benefit from learning about different types of conflict before they enter the classroom setting.

This can help them better understand how certain types of disputes might play out in a classroom setting and give them tools for negotiating or talking things out without resorting to anger or aggression.

Additionally, providing opportunities for students to practice these skills outside of class can help them develop proper techniques when they inevitably do encounter conflicts while studying or working together.

10. Model appropriate behavior in your own daily interactions with students, and address the misbehavior of others in a positive manner.

When it comes to classroom behavior, it is important to model appropriate and positive interactions with students. It is also important to address the misbehavior of others in a constructive manner. By doing so, we can help maintain a healthy and productive classroom environment for all. Below are some tips for modeling appropriate behavior:

Always be respectful. When speaking to students, always use polite language and avoid profanity. Remember that everyone is different, so try not to impose your own views on them. Speak slowly and clearly so that everyone can understand you.

Stay calm under pressure. When something goes wrong in the classroom (i.e., a student gets out of control), do not get emotional or upset yourself. Remain calm and collected, even when things are getting tough. This will help keep the class atmosphere positive and orderly.

11. Use prevention strategies such as peer mediation, counseling and conflict resolution to reduce problem behaviors.

When students are in a classroom setting, conflict is inevitable. However, there are ways to prevent it from becoming a problem.

One way to prevent conflict is through peer mediation. This involves having one or more classmates step in and help resolve the dispute between the two parties. It can be helpful in situations where one student feels threatened or uncomfortable.

Another prevention strategy is counseling. This can help students work through their emotions and learn how to manage their anger and frustration in a constructive way.

Conflict resolution programs can also be useful in preventing conflicts from escalating out of control. These programs teach students how to identify and deal with conflict before it turns into an issue.

Finally, it is important for teachers to create an environment that encourages healthy communication and collaboration.

By creating an environment where students feel comfortable communicating their concerns, educators can reduce the chances of conflict arising in the first place.

12. Teach social skills to students who have difficulty with them to help prevent conflict in the classroom.

Many students have difficulty with social skills and, as a result, can often be prone to conflict in the classroom.

This is especially true for students who have experienced prior trauma or who have difficulties with sensory processing.

Teach social skills to these students can help prevent conflict from occurring and help them to better navigate interactions with classmates.

Additionally, teaching these skills can help students feel more confident and supported in their classrooms.

13. Use data to guide your discipline plan and to keep you alert on issues of conflict.

The occurrence of conflict in the classroom can be a result of a variety of factors, many of which are impossible to predict.

However, effective discipline plans can help to mitigate the potential for conflict while promoting student learning. One way to identify potential conflicts is by regularly monitoring data collected from students.

For example, if there is an increase in negative behavior or disruption in class, it may be indicative of a problem that needs to be addressed.

When possible, it is also important to keep track of individual student progress and achievement so that any issues can be appropriately addressed.

In addition, being aware of the causes and prevention of conflict can help you better manage difficult situations when they do occur.

14. Get a training on positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) to help you prevent conflicts within your class.

It is important to get a training on PBIS in order to help you prevent conflicts from happening.

PBIS includes strategies such as setting clear expectations, providing positive reinforcement and feedback, and using conflict resolution techniques.

By incorporating these strategies into their teaching practices, educators can help their students learn how to behave cooperatively and respectfully within the classroom setting.

15. Develop a system to address issues that result in conflict among students.

A system for tracking incidents of conflict. This information should be compiled so that you can determine which students are most likely to experience problems that lead to conflict and take appropriate action to help address these issues.

For example, you may want to look at which students consistently exhibit disruptive or aggressive behavior, or who have a history of conflict with other students.

Having a system to help you in doing this can help you to better identify and address the root causes of conflict, and ensure that everyone in your school is able to participate in a safe and positive educational environment.

16. Conduct a needs assessment to determine the extent of issues that may cause conflicts in the classroom and decide how they can be resolved.

Conflicts in the classroom can arise from a variety of sources, such as personal differences, different interpretations of rules, or differing views on how best to learn.

A needs assessment can help determine the extent and causes of conflicts, as well as possible solutions.

In order to resolve conflicts effectively, it is important for teachers to have a clear understanding of their students’ interests and motivations.

Furthermore, effective conflict resolution requires both parties to be willing and able to listen to and empathize with each other.

17. Monitor students who are on long-term disability or have a disability that would affect their ability to follow rules or avoid conflicts with others.

When students are on long-term disability or have a disability that would affect their ability to follow rules or avoid conflicts with others, it is important for you to be able to monitor them.

This can be done in a number of ways, such as having someone check in with the student regularly, setting up specific expectations for behavior, or directly intervening when necessary.

When done effectively, this type of monitoring can help ensure that students are getting the assistance they need and minimize potential conflict in the classroom.

18. Train students who have difficulty following rules and following directions

Conflicts in the classroom can arise from a variety of sources, most notably differentiating between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. When students follow rules and directions but still engage in conflict, it can be difficult for them to understand what is expected of them. This can lead to frustration on the part of both your students and you, and ultimately conflict.

One way to help prevent conflicts from arising is to provide clear and concise directions to students. This not only makes it easier for them to understand what is expected of them but also prevents them from misunderstanding or misinterpreting instructions.

Also, it can be helpful for you to establish clear guidelines for acceptable behavior so that students know what not to do in order not to upset others. By following these guidelines, you can help create an environment where all students feel comfortable participating in and learning together.

19. Work with students to resolve issues that result in conflicts.

Conflicts can arise in a classroom when students have different opinions or perceive different situations differently. There are many causes of conflicts, including personality traits, emotions, and social surroundings.

It is important for you to work with students to resolve issues that result in conflicts. This can be done by providing opportunities for dialogue, establishing clear rules and expectations, and reinforcing positive behavior.

You should also be aware of the signs of potential conflict and take appropriate measures to prevent it from escalating.


In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the different ways that conflicts can arise in the classroom and to have a plan to resolve them. By establishing rules and procedures at the beginning of the year, and by being consistent with them, teachers can help to prevent many conflicts from happening. When a conflict does occur, it is important to deal with it immediately, in a fair and firm manner. By doing so, teachers can help to create a positive and respectful learning environment for all students.

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