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Compassion-Based Strategies for Managing Classroom Behavior (


When Grace Dearborn started her career teaching high school students, she felt confident about how to teach but unprepared for managing behavior in her classroom. During more challenging disciplinary moments with students, she used her angry voice with them, thinking that would work. Instead, on one occasion, an escalated situation led to a student following her around the classroom for 15 minutes while she was teaching until security could come to escort the student out of the class.

Dearborn started to see her changed approach to behavior management create happier and more engaged students and other teachers noticed, too. She shared her strategies with colleagues at school and then branched out to consulting other schools through Conscious Teaching. She is also the co-author of “Yeah, But What About This Kid?” and “Conscious Classroom Management: Unlocking the Secrets of Great Teaching.” She shared some of her strategies at the Learning and the Brain conference in San Francisco last month. 

She reminds educators that students of all ages need to be taught appropriate classroom behavior with compassion. She said that educators need many options in how they manage behavior because not all kids respond to the same measures. She listed several tactics in four categories.

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Tone, Volume and Posture

Avoid Standoffs

Look for the Subtext: I Don’t Care

The Gentle Press: Head Down on the Desk

Choice, Timeline, Walk Away

Visual Cues

To read more of Ki Sung's article, please click here.


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