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How to handle an angry student.

Date: September 25th, 2014
By: Polly Bath

Watch this video [1:48] for my tips on de-escalating anger, teaching new skills, and getting the kid back in the classroom.

Boy: …I hate this [beep] place. I’m never coming back here. This is [beep] . Get away from me.

Polly Bath: Now, that child is angry. I have a system I use to help out with that situation. I call it de‑escalate, relate, teach skills, and reintegrate.

Let’s first de‑escalate. Don’t try to reason with a child when they’re upset. Give them a chance to calm down. A puzzle, coloring book, or just some downtime, and don’t talk at all.

That’s one of the best de‑escalation techniques I use, is not to talk at all.

Or I like to validate their behavior. They want to be validated that something was wrong or something didn’t go right for them. No matter what they presented, always validate that it was a problem for them.

Then, next is to relate ‑‑ relating meaning talking about anything. It could be a conversation that has nothing related to the behavior at all. It could be a conversation about squirrels running up trees, or perhaps a race‑car race or something. Something to get in there and have a conversation. Once I have that down, then I’m at a moment where I can teach.

We can go back to the behavior, and we can teach the child some coping skills.

Once we’re done with that, we reintegrate them. Reintegrate them right back into the classroom without any further word or talk about it. Once it’s done, it’s done. If you try to rehash it the next day, you’re going to end up in a struggle again.

Remember, de‑escalate, relate, teach, and then reintegrate.