Sometimes our students are not self-aware of their attitude. For that reason it is very important to give them time to understand that they need to modify their attitude. Instead of standing in front of them and showing them your disappointment, give your instruction and move away allowing time for your student to take into account your request. For example you could say “ John could you please open your book and start work? I’m going to see Will to help him and I will come back in two minutes to see if you need any help as well. ”
Redirect their attention by using a positive directional language. Try avoiding any involvement in discussion about what your student do wrong. Instead try to center their attention on the task. Your instruction has to be clear and short. “ Okay Kate and Mary, you should be ready now. We are looking at the task p. 35 ”
Give them choice. We always like being given a choice. So do our students. Make things clear to them that they are responsible for their learning and attitude and if they don’t follow the established rules in the classroom they will have to accept the consequences. Having a classroom behavior display is always good so that you can point at it and remind them of sanctions. Here are some ideas on how to implement this technique:
“ Sophia, you can either work quietly with your friend or you can come up and sit with me to do the task. The choice is yours”
“ Tom, you can do the task as I told you to or get a detention as I warned you earlier. It’s completely up to you.”
Another variation to the Choice technique is the Partial agreement technique. While you listen to your students’ concerns it deflects confrontation and avoids any escalation in the issue. For example you could say.
“ I completely understand that you didn’t have time to do your homework. Yes, you had some unexpected family members visiting you yesterday. However, I gave you this task a while ago and you need to learn to organize yourself, right?”
Consider the following situation:
– Student: “It wasn’t me, I swear I didn’t do anything”
-Teacher: “Maybe not – but we know what the rules are about and next time I’d like you to help me reinforcing this, thanks. ”
Another trick that works really well is called “tactical ignoring”. You will find out that some students are looking for attention. They may want to show –off in front of their friends often because they have low self-esteem. Don’t focus your attention on this attention-seeking attitude. Instead praise nearby students who do the work really well. At some point the misbehaving student will start understanding that if he behaves better he can as well receive praise.
Using a routine is also a great tool to redirect behaviors.
Treat your students as grown-ups. When you want to defuse a situation, try to engage a discussion with them maybe at the end of the class to avoid any peer pressure.
Don´t underestimate the use of humor. Using humor will allow avoiding situations to escalate. However you need to be cautious with the words you use as sarcasm is not an effective tool, it will have the tendency to make the situation worse.