5 Tips for Managing Student Defiance

Share This:
Share This:


Student defiance is one of the most difficult misbehaviours to manage in a classroom. If left unchecked, student defiance can be a destructive and, potentially, career ending classroom influence.

Defiant students;

  • Disrupt the teaching learning paradigm of a classroom;n
  • Are usually poor achievers;
  • Seem difficult to motivate towards learning

Understanding student defiance

Often, the very reason students are defiant is completely out of the teacher’s control. Teachers do not set the moral compass of students. That is set by parents, their individual community, circumstances and the company they keep.

Educators are, however, expected to manage students whose moral parameters are askew. There are some strategies that quite often make defiant students easier to manage in the classroom. Long term difference might take a longer action plan.

Here are 5 quick ways to manage student defiance in the classroom

#1 – Start the day on a positive

Start with forgiveness, even if the student is continually defiant in class. Building a relationship with defiant students can be difficult but not impossible

Remember, teachers don’t have to like the defiant student, but they do have to care about their learning. Simple things like meeting the student with a greeting at the classroom door goes a long way to building a working relationship. Even a snarling dog will settle down if placated. However, it is VERY EASY to be defiant if the object of defiance (the teacher) is snarling as well.

It is much more difficult for an individual to remain defiant if confronted with pleasantness. Such pleasantry also sends a message to the other 29 pairs of eyes watching their every move. Teachers get a ‘big tick’ for professionalism and the defiant student will find less allies amongst the other students.

#2 – Don’t let the little things GROW!

Carry out proactive intervention.

Redirect the student defiance before it escalates. This may stop the misbehaviours.
Don’t be hyper vigilant through as this often targets students. Look for positive interaction opportunities instead. No doubt there will be some corrective action along the way.

#3 – Model respectful behaviours

Defiant students seldom see purposeful interaction in place.

Let the defiant student witness positive teacher-student interaction in practice.

After interacting with behaving students, initiate an interaction with the troubled student. Sometimes a flow on occurs with the positivity of the first interaction setting the tone for an interaction with your potential trouble maker.

#4 – Get back to learning

Emphasise the point. The only reason teachers need better behaviour in class is to improve the learning for all.

Defiant students are generally un-interested in making a teachers life easier.

They can forget the “I’m sick of your behaviour! I’ve HAD IT!” type statements. These often carry no weight and make little difference in managing student defiance.

The defiant student doesn’t care about a teacher’s feelings. Mentioning that misbeahviour is hindering a mate understanding the topic may carry more weight.

#5 – Have a crisis management plan

Quite often a teacher will need to be the first responder in a crisis situation. This is especially certain if the situation jeopardises the safety of others.

Every crisis is different.

Crisis management calls for a substantiated process of action. Develop a crisis management plan for all these types of situations.

Click here to have your team members take the Relief Teaching Solutions
‘Crisis Management Quiz’

Previous Post
Managing the Classroom When You’re Angry
Next Post
Behaviour Management Strategies for Relief and Contract Teachers

Related Posts