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Dealing With Defiant Students

Found In: advice & support, works4mediscipline

I’ve been the go-to teacher for many defiant students over the years, and I've definitely learned a few things about how to handle them.

Some Do’s

If possible, stand side-by-side when confronting a student about something. Many students, especially boys, dig in their heels for a fight when confronted in a face-to-face situation. It's a natural reaction. If you can have the same conversation side-by-side, it changes the feel of the situation (for both of you, actually) and can often result in a better exchange. Always use a calm voice. Raising your voice only heightens the tension in the student. And use silence as a tool too. Extra-long wait times between questions or comments offer you and the student a chance to think and perhaps respond more appropriately. Let students know you like them but not their behavior. For many of these kids, they think they are their behaviors, and much of this is internalized in them. If you can tell them that you care for them and that it's their behavior you don’t like, it has an amazing effect.

One Big Don't

Never get into a power struggle. You are the adult and know better. If the conversation feels like it is slipping toward a power struggle, find a way to change the course. Even take a break if necessary or get someone else involved if a break isn't possible.


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