A highly effective teacher can facilitate, guide, support, foster, and nurture a positive learning environment – but we can never control it. Creating a positive classroom culture or managing student behaviours can be a major stressor for teachers. At the same time, we have a lot of power and responsibility to set the tone in our own classrooms and create a culture of learning that empowers students to engage in the lessons with respect for themselves and others.
Complete the teacher de-escalation reflection (docx) to determine areas of growth and strength.
Here are three ways we can de-escalate conflicts and maximize positive learning opportunities for students.
- Don’t take it personally – when students enter our classroom after a bad morning, feeling hungry, distracted, or any number of other emotions, it’s easy for us to take their words and actions as a personal attack. This can put us on defence, or worse – on the offence. Stop and think about what is happening, was there a catalyst? What action should I take? Focus on positive and personalised interactions to get the student on track with learning.
- Praise publicly – as teachers, we can set up a positive classroom environment. Instead of focusing on negative behaviours, focus on the positive behaviours of students. This sets the tone of the room and highlights classroom expectations.
- Reflect and redirect – increase private conversations that prioritise a brief reflection on the disruptive behaviour followed by direct feedback about what the student should do instead. Dealing with these conflicts individually and privately allows students de-escalate conflicts because they’re less concerned with how they may appear in front of their peers.