If a student an I are having a bad day — a fortunately rare coincidence, but one that nevertheless still happens — sometimes our conversation can denigrate into one that is not helpful to anyone.
Marvin Marshall, who writes a lot about positive classroom management techniques, offers some good advice in that situation:
The Person Who Asks The Questions Controls The Conversation
In other words, if the conversation is going south, asking a question could be one way to get it on track again — “What do you think we should do about this situation?”; “What do you think would help fix this problem?”; “How is what is happening now contributing to any goal you have for the future?”; “How could we deal with this situation in a way that would help you achieve a goal you want for the future?”
Obviously, students can offer retorts that are not constructive to any of those questions, too, but the strategy is worth keeping in mind.
As is other advice Marvin has offered, which I think is the best classroom management guidance I’ve ever heard:
Will what I am about to do or say bring me closer or will it push me away farther from the person with whom I am communicating?
Do you have any good one-sentence classroom management advice that’s good and easy for teachers to remember?
I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Classroom Management.