School-Based Intervention Idea from


Project Calmness When Approaching an Escalating Student  (Long, Morse, & Newman, 1980; Mayer, 2000; Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey, 1995)

A teacherís chances of defusing a potential confrontation with an angry or defiant student increase greatly if the instructor carefully controls his or her behavior when first approaching the student.

Here are important tips: Move toward the student at a slow, deliberate pace, and respect the studentís private space by maintaining a reasonable distance. If possible, speak privately to the student, using a calm and respectful voice. Avoid body language that might provoke the student, such as staring, hands on hips, or finger pointing. Keep your comments brief. If the studentís negative behaviors escalate despite your best efforts, move away from the student and seek additional adult assistance or initiate a crisis-response plan.


Long, N.J., Morse, W.C., Newman, R.G. (1980). Conflict in the classroom. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Mayer, G.R. (2000). Classroom management: A California resource guide. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles County Office of Education. Retrieved September 29, 2003, from

Walker, H. M., Colvin, G., Ramsey, E. (1995). Antisocial behavior in school: Strategies and best practices. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing.

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