De-escalation ideas for academics when college students press a button

One of my favorite things about teaching is that every class, no matter how long you’ve been in the classroom, has its own personality and needs. Because of this, every September brings new opportunities and challenges, especially with class management. Inevitably, situations in the classroom escalate, for example when students refuse to work or question authorities. As we prepare for a new school year, the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) is sharing these de-escalation tips for teachers so we can respond effectively when students press our buttons.

1. Be empathetic and not judgmental

Try not to judge or dismiss students’ feelings when they are in need. Remember, whether or not we think those feelings are justified or not, their feelings are real (does this assignment really ruin your life?). Respect these feelings and remember that what the person is going through could be the most important event in their life right now. Also, the root of the student’s struggles may not be in the task. Chances are the student is upset about something else and needs our support and encouragement.

2. Avoid overreacting

Try to be calm, rational, and professional (I know, not always easy). Although we cannot control student behavior, our response to it has a direct impact on whether the situation escalates or defuses. Positive thoughts like “I can handle it” and “I know what to do” help us to maintain our own rationality and to calm the student. It’s okay to take a minute to gather our thoughts. When we pause, we prepare to respond to conflict in the classroom instead of reacting.

“Our students expect us to lead the way in the classroom,” said John Kellerman, a former middle school teacher and assistant principal who now works for CPI. “When we focus on what we can control and highlight the positive aspects, good things will follow. If we emphasize the negative, fear and fear follow. “

3. Set positive boundaries

One of the most helpful things we can do when a student misbehaves or misbehaves in class is to set them respectful, simple, and reasonable boundaries. When a student argues with us, we may say, “I care too much about you to argue. I’ll discuss this with you as soon as the argument stops. ”If a student yells, we can try saying,“ I can listen once your voice is as calm as mine. ”If a student isn’t doing their job, we step in positive limit and say: “After the work is done, you have five minutes to talk.”

4. Ignore challenging questions

Sometimes when a student’s behavior escalates they challenge our authority. They might say things like, “You are not my mother!” or “You can’t force me to do anything!” Dealing with students who ask challenging questions is rarely productive. If a student questions our authority, bring their attention to the problem at hand. Ignore the challenge, but not the person. Bring your focus back on how you can work together to solve the problem. So when a student says, “You are not my mother!” We can say, “Yes. You’re right. I am not your mother But I am your teacher and I want us to work together so that you can be successful in this task. “

Would you like more de-escalation tips for teachers?

How we react to our students’ behavior is often the key to defusing it. CPI’s Top 10 De-escalation Tips contain even simpler and more effective strategies to help teachers stay calm, manage their own reactions, prevent physical confrontation, and much more.

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