25 STRATEGIES TO DE-ESCALATE ANGRYStudents
The following strategies are intended to assist with de-escalating a student’s behaviourbefore out bursts occur Outburst Starting to get upset If we think of an outburst occurring in an arc…with the outburst happening at the top of the arc. The following ideas would be used before we reach the peak and it might be too late to calm the person down verbally.
Pre- INTERVENTION skills
#1 Recognisethe student’s warning signs and intervene early. Nonverbal warnings include agitation, aggressive body language, clenched fists, LOUD VOICE, small items pushed around. Become aware of these! Don’t ignore or turn your back away from an angry student with the intention of simply ignoring the situation.
The optimal distance for giving acommand is round 1.5meters 2. Do not give directions or commands to an angry student from behind a desk or sitting down.
3. Survey the area around you and the student for potential safety issues Look for: - Proximity to other students - Scissors - Sharpened pencils/ pens - Open doors/ windows - Removed shoes/ clothing - Any potentially hazardous item
4. To help avoid confrontation don't "frontally" face the child. Stand facing them with your side. This body language is less threatening and puts you in a better self-defense position should the child get aggressive.
6. Get eye level -neither one of you is up or down. Encourage the student to be seated, but if he/she needs to stand, you stand up also.
7. Look Calm An emotional response from an adult will reducecompliance. Exercise self-control! Body language should be relaxed, with legs and arms uncrossed. Take a deep slow breath before acting
8. Reduce stimulation. • Invite the student to a quiet place (like side office or desk) if this is comfortable and does not jeopardise yours or other children's safety.
QUICK Review • Intervene early • Survey the area • Avoid frontally facing • Allow space • Eye level - sit or stand • Look calm • Reduce stimuli if possible
How and What to say
Use a soft, quiet but firm tone and makeeye contact. 9. Lower your voice tone to a whisper. REMEMBER: • Do not maintain constant eye contact (this can be intimidating). • Do not point or shake your finger. • Do not touch the child. • Keep hands out of your pockets, up and available to protect yourself.
10. Be very respectful even when firmly setting limits or calling for help. The agitated student is very sensitive to feeling shamed and disrespected. We want him/her to know that it is not necessary to show us that they must be respected. Always treat them with dignity and respect.
11. Don’t press for explanations for their current behaviouror ask why? e.g., “Now tell me exactly why you feelyou have the right to behave so inappropriately…” why You can get to the bottom of this later!
12. Always be looking for any small positive behavioursand reinforce • Examples: • Student takes a seat as you requested • Students starts breathing calmly • Students picks up an item you requested • Student uses the words at any time “I feel……” Acknowledge these behaviours frequently!!
13. Set clear firm limits about behaviourthat is and is not acceptable • Involve the child in setting up these expectations • Set a small number (sometimes 1) that will be focused and built on • Write them down and display them so eveyone can see them Avoid using negative language (don’t, stop etc;) when setting these
14. Acknowledge feelings Effective listening makes the student feel heard and can be the key to diffusing a critical situation. • "I can appreciate your situation...” • “It sounds hard for you too...” • “Thank you for letting me know...” • “I can see how angry/frustrated/upset you are. When you are feeling calm again we can talk about this“ • With practice we can all understand and/or appreciate another's point of view or needs.
15. Use words/phrases that de-escalate: “Let’s try….. “Maybe, we can “What if …. “I feel, “It seems like, ‘I think, “Sometimes people can….. “Perhaps we…. “I wonder if……
16. Breath deeply and slowly throughout your discussion. Demonstrate and practice the behaviouryou want them to do. You don’t have to announce it, just do it as you talk with them.
17. Tell the child to start an appropriate behaviour “Pleasestart picking up the blocks.” and Make fewer stopdemands such as,“Stop arguing with me! Pick up the blocks” Avoid putting commands into the form of questions
18. Demand the Possible • Be certain the request is something thechild is able toaccomplish. • Some directions are confusing. Thechild may trulynot understand your expectations. • Try to break down complex concepts into smaller steps.
19. Allow time to comply. Avoidinterrupting the child with further instructions Wait 5 Seconds AFTER a request. Do not talk with the child, do not argue or respond toexcuses. .
20. Do not discipline or attempt to change the mind of someone while they are in crisis. : • Pointing out reality will only increase the child’s frustration. • This is not the time to start discussing consequences or change a person’s thought process regarding what they believe in Our goal is to calm and discuss calmly
21. Don’t escalate the situation by making threats that you can’t follow up on. • “You can’t talk to me that way!” • “Do you want to leave my classroom?” • “Do you want me to call the office?” Examples:
23. Do not defend yourself or anyone else from insults or curses. Do not be defensive- even if the comments or insults are directed at you - they are not about you. They areabout distracting you, upsetting you or getting you off your game. Don’t let that happen!
24. Once the student has calmed down… • - Be part of the follow up. Help to problem solve and deal with the real issues. • This builds trust and confidence in the relationship between teacher and student • Do not rush them –give them as long as they realistically need to calm down
25. Reflection • Discuss and/or write down together what the student should do next time • Set some goals for the future • Make these positive and don’t dwell on the negative behaviour but make sure they know it is unacceptable
Review • Lower your voice tone • Be very respectful • Don’t press for explanations • Look for any small positive behaviours • Set clear firm limits about behaviourthat is and is not acceptable • Acknowledge feelings • Use words/phrases that de-escalate • Breath deeply and slowly • Tell the child to start an appropriate behaviour rather than stop it
Review • Demand the Possible • Allow time to comply • Do not discipline or attempt to change the mind • Don’t escalate the situation by making threats • Communicate one central thought or idea throughout • Do not defend yourself • Help to problem solve and deal with the real issues
Finally, Be familiar with the appropriate referral resources that are available on campus to assist thestudent immediately. If the student has not calmed down.