“Reactive” approaches, such as punishment, that follow problem behavior are time-consuming and fail to teach acceptable replacement behaviors. These approaches may also inadvertently reinforce the undesired behavior.
Adult responses to student problem behavior may actually cause negative behavior to escalate.
Keys to avoid escalating behaviors:
Appropriately intervene early.
Manipulate the environmental factors.
Identify replacement behaviors that can be taught.
The following non-verbal strategies may be used to de-escalate acting-out behavior:
Acknowledge the student’s feelings.
Remove the student from behavioral triggers.
Avoid getting into a power struggle with the student.
Verbal de-escalation is the process used to calm an agitated student by using communication, listening, and body language. When a student becomes agitated:
Provide the student with your undivided attention.
Maintain eye contact with the student.
Focus on feelings and engage the student in positive self-talk.
Monitor your body language — avoid gestures that appear judgmental or non-supportive.