A Little Non-Confrontational Class Management


A standard problem teachers run into during any class is disruptive behavior. One effective way to deal with them is often as simple as changing where you are standing. I am sure we all learned this technique while going through certification, but it works so well that it is worth revisiting. The technique consists of identifying a problem and standing next to it. The teacher normally does not need to say anything. In fact, saying something often escalates situations into full-blown confrontations. It is much easier to continue talking to the class, being friendly, while slowly meandering closer to the problem student(s). You do not need to look at them. It generally works better if you take care to completely ignore them. What you do is walk up or down an aisle and stop next to the problem desk. This sends a number of messages to the class. It tells them that you are aware of what they most certainly see. It gives a quiet message that an adult is in the room, in a position of authority and aware of what is going on in the class. You can continue to be friendly, confident enough to continue talking while in the quietest possible way, stopping disruptive behavior. In the worst case, you can always bend over and quietly ask the student to leave class and wait in the hall. Then you can continue your lesson until you have time to go out and speak with the problem student. This is a very effective, friendly way of maintaining control of your class while continuing to make education the highest priority.


Steve Simpson is the editor of Ed.Net Briefs (http://www.edbriefs.com), a weekly online education newsletter with more than 60,000 readers. He earned his Ph.D. in communications at the University of Washington. He can be reached by e-mail at .

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