For some reason, this post was quite popular so I thought I’d do another one. For me, the one sentence interventions focus on individual students, are quiet, as private as possible, and the goal is always to end the situation quickly, maximizing instructional time.
I’m certainly no expert, management has never been my strength. I’ve always led with personality first, but it’s been part of my practice that I’ve been actively experimenting and researching this last quarter.
"But I wasn’t doing ________!!!"
So let’s be real, you know exactly what that kid was doing. They know what they were doing too. They’re trying to create a power struggle. Especially if you redirected them in front of other children. They need to save face.
Say: Excellent, it won’t be a problem to not do _____ for the rest of class then! Thanks so much.
Make it genuine.*** The redirection isn’t personal.
Continue teaching immediately, leave no room for the student to continue to argue. This is a great chance to cold call another student with a Lvl 1 or 2 question. You can also bounce back to your troublemaker afterwards with a Lvl 2 or 3 question to reinforce discipline. You’re redirecting them so the class can learn. This was not personal.
***Sarcasm or anger will kill this intervention. When redirection is focused on creating a culture for learning, I’ve had a lot more success.
A physical fight*
Sometime in your career, you’re going to break up a fight. It’s going to happen. It happened to me a lot at the beginning of this first year, and it still happens, even to the experienced teachers at my school.
*This is an intervention that works well for me, but only if you feel comfortable physically breaking up the fight yourself and have a good relationship with the student. For me that usually means stepping in between two students as quickly as possible, facing the student that I’m going to have the quiet intervention with.
*Whisper in their ear*: The only person that is going to get hurt in this situation is me and I know you don’t want to hurt me *student’s name*
#1, It’s private- the student can save face. There are no threats of consequences/detentions/referrals in a highly emotional moment.
#2, You’re reminding the student who leads the classroom. You.
#3, You’re reinforcing your safe space.
#4, You’re personalizing the situation to this student. You’re reminding them of their relationship and respect for you.
Lastly, in a subtle way you’re showing an entire class of students your discipline over the room without making the situation more explosive. The goal is to continue teaching after, you don’t want to leave your room a buzz for the rest of the period.
*Mildly annoying behavior during silent reading/journal writing/individual activities*
This is a great one for a student who would usually respond with “WHAT?!?!?! I WASN’T DOING ANYTHING!” if they were verbally redirected. It can throw off the concentration of the entire group.
Don’t say anything. Use proximity. Walk over to a student near your challenging student and read over their shoulder; give feedback or encouragement to this student.
Then smile at your troublemaker. Real big, genuine. It’s easy to give them teacher glare, but it has some serious finesse to smile at them instead. Make eye contact.
It won’t open the door to an argument, but it does use proximity and social interaction to let them know to stop. A hand on the shoulder as you walk away, if you feel comfortable, is another quick enforcer.