Skip to Content

Engaging Confrontational Students

Found in: discipline, handling disruptions

I have been teaching at a discipline alternative high school for many years. I have had plenty of defiant and confrontational students. Here are my dos and don’ts when dealing with defiant students:


  • Ask for input from the student on handling his/her problem.
  • Get to the bottom of the problem. Many times what is happening in the classroom can be tracked back to the moment the student awoke and started his day.
  • Always, always offer two alternatives (choices) to the behavior. Giving choices empowers the student, which in most cases is all the student wanted in the first place. By providing two choices you are still "in control" but the student doesn't feel as though they have "lost" the battle.
  • ALWAYS apologize if you are wrong. Always!!
  • Talk to them!


  • Do not judge your students in any manner. We don't even know why a student is placed at our school. If it is for a violent act, we are advised in order to not accidently invoke unwanted behavior.
  • Don't ask questions that can be answered with either a yes or no to any behavior situation.
  • Do not back a student into a situation that would require him/her to admit defeat in the presences of their peers.
  • When a student asks why to any direction you give, turn the question into a question to the student like, you tell me why I might not, or why do you think…. Again this gives the student a bit of power but the student doesn't realize you are still in control.


Average User Rating (0 users)

3 stars
of 5.

Your Rating