School-Based Intervention Idea from


Use Non-Verbal and Para-Verbal Behaviors to Defuse Potential Confrontations  (Braithwaite, 2001; Long, Morse, & Newman, 1980; Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey, 1995)

When interacting with defiant or confrontational students, teachers can use non-verbal and para-verbal techniques such as non-threatening body language, soft tone of voice, or strategic pauses during speech, to reduce tensions.

For example, if a student is visibly agitated, you may decide to sit down next to the student at eye level (a less threatening posture) rather than standing over that student. Or you might insert a very brief 'wait time' before each response to the student, as these micro-pauses tend to signal calmness, slow a conversation down and help to prevent it from escalating into an argument.


Braithwaite, R. (2001). Managing aggression. New York: Routledge.

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

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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