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Identifying and Dealing with Anger in the Classroom By Alicia Gail Bryant EMG 807 July 2002.

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Presentation on theme: "Identifying and Dealing with Anger in the Classroom By Alicia Gail Bryant EMG 807 July 2002."— Presentation transcript:

1 Identifying and Dealing with Anger in the Classroom By Alicia Gail Bryant EMG 807 July 2002

2 Who’s Angry? Anger is a normal human emotion. Everyone experiences anger at some time for various reasons. Anger is part of any human relationship, even (or maybe especially) student/teacher relationships. Anger is cumulative and transferable. …in other words, anyone can be angry! However, some students are angrier than others.

3 Types of Anger Explosive – Visible, quick to appear – Little planning or thought is involved – Uncontrolled behavior – Not deep-seated – Little skill needed to help work through the anger

4 Passive – Covert; not easily noticed – Planning involved – Kid is in control of their behavior – Anger is deep, and though kid may need to talk about it, he/she may have trouble doing so – Moderate skill required to help kid work through the anger

5 Implosive – Invisible to others – Emotions are out of control and dictate behavior – Often kid doesn’t even know he/she is angry – Anger is hidden inside, and may be very difficult to uncover – Professional help is needed to deal with these situations This kind of anger can be caused by repeated abuse, either emotional or physical, often by peers. School shooters exhibit implosive anger.

6 Phases of Escalation of Anger Calm Trigger – Something that sets a person off Agitation Acceleration Peak De-escalation Recovery Hopefully, we can stop a crisis situation before it gets to the peak phase…

7 Characteristics of Stages of Escalation Calm – Student is on task and following rules. He or she responds well to praise. The student will initiate good behavior. He or she is focused on the goal before them, and interacts appropriately with adults and peers. Trigger – The student is denied something he needs or receives a negative consequence. The student may be provoked, be submitted to a change in routine, or experience a high pressure situation. They may also have suffered a series of problems that they have been unable to solve.

8 Agitation – As the student becomes agitated, her eyes may dart back and forth. She may begin to use non conversational language, and move in and out of various groups, with the result being having no membership in any group. At the other end of the spectrum, students may withdraw, stare into space, stop working, and become still and silent.

9 Acceleration – As momentum increases, students may begin arguing and pushing back verbally. They will stop working and become non-compliant and defiant. They will begin to provoke other students and adults as their anger escalates. Some kids will cry, others will also walk out to escape the situation altogether. They may threaten, intimidate, or verbally abuse others.

10 Peak – Once students reach their peak, they may strike others or themselves, throw extreme tantrums, or hyperventilate. They may also scream and run, or resort to other types of violence. In extreme cases, the lives of those around the angered student become endangered.

11 De-escalation – As the student begins to “subside”, they may become confused, withdraw from the situation and those around him or her, or go to sleep. They often deny what they have done, or blame others for the situation. They may go back to the task they previously abandoned, or respond well to new directions. They generally avoid any discussion of the situation that doesn’t involve blaming others.

12 Recovery – Students may become subdued as they recover from an escalated episode of demonstrated anger. At times, they may be defensive, but are often ready to begin work again on their own. As with de-escalation, they tend not to want to discuss the situation.

13 Varying Experiences Since each student is different, no two students experience the phases of escalation in the same way or in the same time frame. However, the adults working with students prone to outbursts of anger must work to identify the stages in individual students, and stop the process at the earliest possible stage.

14 How can teachers intervene to stop the escalation process? Interventions at each of the stages of escalation are possible. The following strategies can often stop or prevent the escalation process: – Calm phase Provide a structured classroom with quality instruction and adequate attention for all students – Trigger phase Provide students with formal methods for solving problems. In addition, many students also need an individual plan in the event of a problem.

15 Agitation phase – Students who have reached the agitation phase often need personal space and time to relax. The teacher needs to remain close and provide independent or movement activities, depending on the individual. Students need to be involved in planning what is appropriate.

16 Acceleration phase – Once students reach this phase, teachers need to carefully monitor voice tone, and remain calm, respectful, and detached. Students need a face-saving escape, and pre- planned strategies should be used. Peak phase – Teachers need to consider physical safety needs of all present. Later teachers need to look at possible behavior patterns leading up to such an event.

17 De-escalation phase – This is the time for isolation and cool-down time. Students can work independently, and the classroom can be physically restored, if necessary. Other students can resume regular activities, and the student(s) involved can be dispositioned at this time.

18 Recovery phase – Focus on normal activities and routines. Some actions have serious consequences, and these should not be sugar-coated. Teachers should communicate expectations that the student can succeed and meet standards. The student should be involved in planning ways to avoid such episodes, and the episode should be closed at this time.

19 Anger appears to be on the rise. Where is this increase coming from? Changes in the American family structure and dynamics Increasing poverty in the U.S. Increase in instances of child abuse and neglect Increase in exposure to violence (media, etc.)

20 When anger works in concert with violence and fear, rage results. Fear is often the basis for anger… What are today’s kids most fearful of? – Losing a parent (to death, divorce, a step-parent, etc.) – Losing face with peers – Going blind – Getting hurt (especially at school) – Being poor or homeless

21 If everyone feels anger, why don’t all kids react with violence? In the middle class, verbal responses are often used, and can even be an effective way to deal with situations. When kids are affected by poverty, effective verbal responses are often not known or respected. A physical response may be all that many kids feel they have access to, or all that is understood.

22 How can you deal with anger in your classroom? Make sure your classroom is highly structured. Kids who are angry, especially those who experience implosive anger, do not deal well with inconsistency. Build positive relationships with students. Make sure the environment is safe, comfortable socially, and learning takes place. Validate anger. Acknowledgement is important if anger is not to be buried. Teach kids to work through and solve problems. Have a plan in place for dealing with out of control situations. What kinds of things will you do and say? Plan your responses and actions. Model and teach positive responses to anger.

23 References Straughn, L. (2002, July 10). Understanding and working with angry students: You must first seek to understand if you are to be understood. Educating Kentucky’s At-Risk Kids: Best Practices for Alternative and Non-Traditional Settings. Conference at Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY. Whitaker, J. (2002, July 10). Positive behavioral support systems/Universal Tier Model. Educating Kentucky’s At-Risk Kids: Best Practices for Alternative and Non-Traditional Settings. Conference at Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY.

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