Adult Behaviors That Decrease Student MisbehaviorAdults who work with confrontational students must have the capacity for patience, self-control, and self-coaching. Responding to this type of student requires forethought and planning.
De-escalating a confrontation can be accomplished in several ways. Each of the following suggestions requires tremendous desire on the part of the teacher for maintaining his or her own control and understanding that the student needs to save face.
- Speak calmly throughout the interaction.
- Keep the focus on the desired behavior of learning or work completion. For example, you could say, “Sounds like we have an issue to discuss. Let’s do so right after class. For now, can you get back to the report?”
- Use self-directed humor or self-admonishment: “Why didn’t I think of that? You’d think after ten years of teaching, I would’ve thought about this coming up!”
- Listen actively and acknowledge the student’s concerns: “Seems as though you are really angry. Let me think about it for today, and we’ll talk about it at another time.”
- Try the broken record approach—communication through a nonconfrontational voice and body language: “Please return to your chair and get back to work.”
Teachers will be able to use these strategies only if they rehearse them, at least mentally. Practice time through role-play can be given during faculty meetings.