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Dealing with Conflicts in the Classroom

May 16, 2017

/ by

Jeff Hersh


Students are people, and people have conflicts with each other. It’s human nature for students to sometimes not get along for a variety of reasons. Teachers know a key part of their classroom management is dealing with conflicts in the classroom. Conflicts can range from a disagreement in the classroom, inattentive or disrespectful students, relationship dynamics beyond the school walls, and bullying.


There are different methods for handling conflicts. Here are methods to effectively deal with tough situations in the classroom, as well as ways to prevent the problems from escalating or recurring.


Role Play


When a conflict arises, use it as a teachable moment and have students practice how to deal with different types of problems. As a class, have students act out roles on different sides of the conflict and discuss with everyone the best ways to solve the problem.


Journal Conflicts


When you identify a conflict between students, ask them to write their thoughts about the experience. Journaling feelings and clarifying their own point of view can help calm students and gives you insight into the potential core of the problem.


Report Conflicts


Encourage students to keep a log of conflicts they see forming or happening around the classroom. They don’t have to identify specific students involved, but identifying conflicts will help students learn how to anticipate potential problems and prevent them from growing into crises. Have students share these logs with you so you can gain insight into potential areas of trouble.


Conference With Students


There will be times when the conflict escalates and can’t be prevented. When this happens, take the time to meet with the students involved and encourage them to talk about what happened. Encourage the students to try to see each other’s point of view. Articulating why the other student may be having issues with them can help them see how they can avoid these conflicts in the future.


Teach Listening Skills


Routinely teaching students how to listen and be aware of others’ feelings is a proactive method to avoiding conflicts in the classroom. Lead students in short empathy exercises and allow them to practice understanding the emotions and point of view of others.  


How do you deal with conflicts in the classroom?


School Practice Assignments


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