As adults in a school, we demand respect. At times, our demands are met with resistance from students. Like hostage negotiators and first response crisis managers, we should know how to deescalate situations. Engaging in a power struggle with children is pointless and teaches nothing.
Stage 1: Anxiety - The student demonstrates an observable increase in anxiety.
Teacher: Do not deliver ultimatums. Listen and offer the student simple choices to help the child gain emotional control.
Stage 2: Questioning/Ignoring - Students may quickly jump to this stage and seek to control the conversation.
Teacher: State simple, clear expecations with logical consequnces. Try to get the message across that you care and understand the student's position.
Stage 3: Refusal Phase - teachers frequently engage in power struggles during this phase.
Teacher: Although difficult, the teacher must remain calm during this phase. Provide a solution that protects the student's dignity.
Stage 4: Emotional Release - loss of control. Often, the teacher will enter into a fight or flight physiological response. The student may engage in verbal or physical itimidation or actual assaults.
Teacher: gently removing the student (verbally) from the stiuation is necessary at this point.
Stage 5: Tension Reduction Phase - the student may become sullen, withdrawn, apologetic or fearful.
Teacher: Give the student time to further release and gain their self control. The student needs time to prepare mentally to deal with the consequences of their behavior.