Students who argue

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Jun 1, 2017.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Jun 1, 2017

    What are some strategies for students who argue? I had a student today who would not stop arguing with me and I know I could have handled it better.

    Examples:

    Student and his friend continued to talk during attendance and I ask him to move. He immediately says "what??? Why me?" I know I should have stood firm and waited for him to move but I was really flustered.

    This whole class was really bad. I had to separate almost all of the boys before the class was working appropriately. I did give the whole class a warning to quiet down and start working before I started seat changes. Finally, I had to move the student who argues. He again started to argue and I said I'm waiting. He finally went but walked veryyy slowly which I didn't pay attention to.

    At his new seat, he was still being distracting and annoying but it was better. I did make a mistake when he left his pencil in the sharpener for a very long time and told him that his behavior was not appropriate today. I know I should have asked him if he was done sharpening his pencil instead. He was also upset that I wasn't moving the girls' seats. (Who were all behaving appropriately!) I asked an aide who came in at the end of the period and she said that this student is always like this but the arguing and defensiveness was super annoying! How do you deal with this?
     
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  3. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I would not argue with a student. If a student says something like, "You never told us we couldn't throw pencils!" I would answer, that may be, but you still don't get your pencil back."

    Here's a interesting, but brief article on power struggles that helped me.
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jun 1, 2017

    Less is more.
    If a kid asks me to justify something and it's obviously to argue (not because they genuinely want to know) I say things like this:
    "Because I said so" (especially to a kid who always challenges me)
    "I'm the teacher, you're the student, if I ask you to move, you move."
    "I asked you to move seats, move seats. You're not in trouble, just move"

    This may sound rude, but it works for me (I'm in high school and we have a lot of defiant kids). I used to be nicer, trying to explain myself, or justify my decisions, then I realized I was just tiptoeing around their feelings, afraid to hurt them. They took advantage of it.
     
  5. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Jun 1, 2017

    I don't fall into their little traps. If I tell a student to do something and he/she starts arguing, back-talking, grumbling, whining, questioning, etc...I just keep repeating what I told them to do.
    Example:
    Me: Billy, come move to this seat up front, please.
    Billy: Why?! I wasn't even talking!
    Me: Billy, come move to this seat up front, please.
    Billy: That's not fair! Tommy and George were talking! Why don't you move them??
    Me: Billy, come move to this seat up front, please. If I have to ask again, I'm writing you up for insubordination.
    Billy: *gets up and slams books and such around, grumbles under breath, moves to the front seat at a snail's pace, throws stuff down and collapses with a huff and promptly puts his head down to pout*
    Me: Thank you. *And I get on with class as if Billy is invisible.*
     
  6. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Great article. That was very helpful for me, thank you!
     
  7. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I use the wait time method quite often. It works. Engaging with the student is never a good idea; doing it often breaks down the relationship because it will only inevitably end with the student getting a consequence and the teacher getting peed off. And then it becomes a habit and a "win" for the student everytime he can engage you in useless arguments.
     
  8. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Jun 3, 2017

    This is good advice. I think part of my issue was that I was clearly frustrated with this student at some point. It would have been better to wait and check on him later.
     
  9. renard

    renard Companion

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    Unlike most teachers, I came into the profession with a background in law enforcement (as opposed to working with kids/teens) and had a solid base of verbal judo training prior. It really helped. In a nutshell, one person can bark but can't argue (that takes two). Once you argue, you escalate. Avoid, de-escalate, and all that. It's human nature and the strategy works with the drunk, the high, and the mentally immature* (teens display emotions over rationality often which is, of course, a natural stage at their age). I highly recommend it.
     
    readingrules12 likes this.
  10. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Jun 3, 2017

    Really good book on this topic:
    Defusing Disruptive Behavior in the Classroom by Colvin
     
  11. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    Jun 3, 2017

    We have the same behaviors here. Left unchecked, you will lose the entire class.

    It's hard to avoid cynicism at the moment, so I will leave it at that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017

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