Do you ever find yourself struggling to maintain control in your classroom? Do you feel like no matter what you do, your students are still pushing the boundaries and testing your limits? If so, then it’s time for you to take a step back and re-evaluate how you interact with your students.
The key to avoiding power struggles is understanding that these conflicts don’t have to be an ongoing battle of wills. By finding alternative solutions and approaches, teachers and students can benefit from improved relationships and better learning outcomes. Check out these tips for avoiding power struggles in the classroom.
Stopping Power Struggles
1 – Stand Your Ground
Stay firm and remove yourself from any unruly behavior (when safe). Students learn that simply following instructions makes their days smoother. Focus on what they need to do, and if they begin to oppose those instructions, walk away. Don’t forget to remind them of the task at hand before moving on to any other activity.
2 – Work Followed by Fun
How you structure the school day makes a huge difference when it comes to avoiding power struggles. Try creating a routine where a period of work is always followed by a period of fun. This makes it less arduous for students and gives them something to look forward to at the end of their task.
3 – Remove Your Reactions
Try maintaining a Zen-like demeanor. Refrain from raising your voice or showing any emotional reaction. Give clear instructions using visuals, first/then statements, and other methods. If the student attempts to run away, stay calm and follow them without chasing. If they begin to tantrum, wait until it passes and repeat the instruction firmly. It is essential that students complete what is asked of them without exceptions.
4 – Give Them Choices
When you give your students choices, it can be an effective way to eliminate power struggles between you and them. Offering options gives them a feeling of autonomy and control over their own learning experience. By providing choices, your students are more likely to take ownership of their decisions, which can lead to improved learning outcomes. Allowing choice also encourages you to think of alternative approaches that may work better for each student, allowing for a stronger connection between both parties.
5 – Give Them a Spot
Assigning spots to your students can be helpful when trying to minimize power struggles between you and them. Having designated spaces allows for greater structure and organization of activities, as everyone knows what their assigned spot is. It also helps with classroom management, such as making sure everyone is accounted for in the midst of all the chaos or confusion that might arise during certain tasks or activities. In addition, it gives students a sense of security since they know exactly where they are expected to be and have a reliable place to go in order for them to participate in learning.
6 – Choose Your Battles
As a teacher, it is important to choose your battles in order to help avoid power struggles in the classroom. Determine which topics or issues are worth addressing, as well as when so that you don’t enter into an unnecessary conflict with your students. Be willing to compromise on certain topics and take a step back if needed. Understand when to let go of a situation or challenge rather than letting it escalate into an uncontrollable conflict.
By recognizing these opportunities and backing down from those you deem unnecessary, you will be better able to maintain a positive relationship with your students and keep things peaceful in the classroom. How you act and react will ultimately determine a lot about the power struggles – or lack thereof – in the classroom.
7 – Get to Know Your Students
As a teacher, it’s essential to take time each day to get to know your students better by having conversations about topics outside of school. This helps to build relationships and foster mutual interests and respect between yourself and your students, which will ultimately lead to an environment conducive to learning without fear of power struggles or any other negative behavior interactions. Taking just a few minutes each day to get to know your students on more than just an educational level can have lasting benefits for the entire classroom.
It’s important to remember that power struggles in the classroom don’t have to be an ongoing battle of wills. By understanding how students think and feel, teachers can find alternative solutions and approaches to avoid these conflicts altogether. With improved relationships between teacher and student, everyone will benefit from better learning outcomes.
Taking a few moments each day to reflect on your interactions with students is key for ensuring healthy communication dynamics in the classroom. So take some time today to review these tips for avoiding power struggles in the classroom – you may just find yourself becoming a more effective educator as a result!