Behavior Bit - Deescalating

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Stage 5: Tension Reduction Phase - the student may become sullen, withdrawn, apologetic or fearful.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.