how to avoid an argument

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by english9teach, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. english9teach

    english9teach Rookie

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    Sep 1, 2006

    A few of my kids think it is OK to argue with the teacher. When they do not get their way, they throw a fit! How do you deal with argumentative kids?
     
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  3. hojalata

    hojalata Comrade

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    Sep 1, 2006

    From love and logic:
    When a student is trying to argue with you, you go "brain dead" and answer with one or any of these over and over again. Keep in mind, they should not be said sarcastically.
    -"I know..."
    -"Probably so..."
    -"I like (or respect) you too much to argue."
    -"Nice try.." (whispered with empathy)

    So here's a sample conversation:

    Student:No way, that's not fair. Mrs. Smith down the hall doesn't make HER kids write in cursive.

    You: I know....

    Student: This stinks. I can't believe you're so much meaner than all the other teachers.

    You: I know....

    Student: No one uses cursive in the real world anyway. Adults get to write however the want!

    You: I respect you too much to argue....


    If they don't get that you're not going to give in, you can just tell them that it sounds like they're trying to argue. You argue at 12:15 and 3:15 daily. (lunch and after school).
     
  4. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Sep 1, 2006

    Of course it is not ok to argue with a teacher, but unfortunately we all have to get over that. Your kids have probably learned that it's ok to argue with their parents and sometimes are encouraged by their parents to challenge all authority figures.

    The only way to win the argument is not to play. I agree with Hojalata. Be emphathetic. Sometimes I just shake my head no sympathetically. If that doesn't work, I'll say something like, "I wish I could make you happy in this situation, but this is the way it needs to be. I'm not going to change my mind. I'm sorry." For example, at the start of last year a boy refused to sit in his assigned seat and tried to sit somewhere else. He was very argumentative and indignant. I just said something like, "I'm sorry you're unhappy with your seat, but it's not going to change. I hope you'll move to your correct seat so we can have a good day in class today. I don't want to have to send you to the time out program over something like this." And then I pretended to stop paying attention to him so that he could cool down and move to his correct seat without everyone watching. It took him a good minute but he did it. If I had stared at him and said something like, "You need to move now . . . 1 . . . 2 . . . 3" I'm sure he would have said, "Man, I don't have to put up with this %*#&$" and stormed out.

    Once I get to know the kids I give them the "Silly you" response, like I thought they were joking because obviously I would never go for that. "No silly, we're not going to watch movies until the end of the year! You all must have been replaced by aliens because my students would know me better than that!" I also might try a little begging: "Can't you just do it for me? Please? It would make me so happy!" with a sweet, innocent look on my face.
     
  5. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Sep 1, 2006

    P.S. Empathy diffuses most but not all conflict. There are times when you simply have to end the discussion. Like in the seat example above, I will say firmly, "I am not going to argue with you about this. This is just how it is," and then I will disengage by moving to another part of the room. It is much easier for the student's pride to remove yourself than to order him to return to his seat or order her to be quiet, and you run the risk of the student continuing to argue just to save face in front of the other students; in my experience it's better to move and give the student the chance to cool down. If the student keeps arguing, then I'll send him or her to the time out program and/or write a referral.
     
  6. mrsk

    mrsk Rookie

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    Sep 1, 2006

    I have found that if you offer to have them come discuss it with you at lunch or after school, they rarely show up. End of discussion.

    ex: "You're wasting valuable classtime. If you would like to discuss it either at lunch or after school, I'd me more than happy to listen to you."
     
  7. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Sep 1, 2006

    Hojalata offered my suggestion. Besides going "brain dead" (my favorite L&L technique), you can also use the "rip and walk." State firmly what you want the student to do, rip your eyes from his/her face, and then walk away, assuming compliance. I choose never to engage in power struggles with my students. If they continue to argue, I invite them to leave the room. Several teachers in my school have posted classic L&L posters of "I argue at 11:35 and 3:35 daily, which time works best for you?" Most students don't care enough to come back and argue.

    Granted, this won't work in every situation, but I have found it works most of the time for me!
     
  8. bierko

    bierko Rookie

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    Sep 4, 2006

    It's really annoying when there's one or two kids that are trouble makers. It slows down the whole class, it really does.
    Just make them go out of the class. Send them to ISS instead of your class for a week or something, maybe they'd get the hint. ):<
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2006
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 4, 2006

    I realize that each school is different. But be very very careful about this approach. For starters, you're not handling the problem yourself; you're handing it off to someone else. Secondly, what do you have left for a REAL problem-- a fight or something? Thirdly, a WEEK? For an argument?

    What are they arguing about? Topics related to the class discussion or ones related to the running of your class?

    Maybe a better approach to start with would be an after school "chat" about respect. About how some things are open to discussion (like whether or not the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was justified) while others (like your authority) are not. Some kids are just never taught this at home, for reasons I'll never understand.

    Also, there are times when the schedule simply does NOT leave time for a debate, and they need to understand that.

    edited to add: Does your school have a Forensics team? Seriously consider pointing them towards Debate.
     
  10. shadowrose45

    shadowrose45 Rookie

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    Sep 4, 2006

    HI

    I have my classroom rules pretty well set ahead of time- but at the beginning of the year, I hold a discussion with the kids about what rules they think- of course, I'm guiding them where I want them to go.

    Ex: Ok, John, who is sitting next to you is talking to his friend and you can't hear me reviewing for the midterm..."

    In this way, you're letting them feel they have a role in the rules, and you're making sure that the examples are a detrement to them as well- if they don't hear the review, they don't know what's on a test...

    I don't believe in sending kids from the room- I'm a teacher, I try and handle my classroom. Of course, there are going to be exceptions to this rule. Fights, things like that- by regulations are handled by the AP. Otherwise, my room, my rules, my penalties if they aren't followed.

    For instance, I might give a kid a detention- but not send a referral. Nothing is in their permanant record, but they have to spend half an hour after school with me.

    I do like the arguing poster idea- I think I'll make one!

    As someone suggested, it's very important to show empathy. You have to let that student know that you hear their concern- empathy isn't agreeing, though.

    "I understand you want to sit next to your friend. When I was in school, I liked to sit with my friends, too."

    I also like compromise. NOt giving in- but coming to a satisfactory conclusion.

    Kids need to feel like they are respected, too!
     

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