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Give Choices

Give Choices

Why should I do it:

  • Way of empowering the student
  • Prevents power struggle
  • Makes students feel engaged and a part of the decision making process
  • Increase compliance
  • Students respond better to choices
  • Improved coping when having to do an undesired task
  • Decreases conflicts, refusals, defiance, and opposition
  • Builds rapport

When should I do it:

  • Offering students choices should be a regular part of classroom management and strategy
  • When telling any student to do something or giving a directive
  • When a student is reluctant to do something
  • When a student is stuck on making a decision
  • When a student engages in a power struggle or is argumentative
  • When students become oppositional and defiant
  • When students make excuses
  • When students are reluctant
  • When giving consequences
  • When giving rewards

How do I do it:

  • Speak in calm, neutral tone
  • Provide the student with two or more choices that you will fully accept, for example, “you can either do your work sitting at your desk or sitting at the table”
  • Have the student decide in ten seconds, or you will choose for them, for example, “I gave you several choices. If a choice isn’t made within 10 seconds, I will choose for you” (this prevents the choosing process from going on all day)
  • Present the entire class or group with choices when assigning work, for example, “Students, you can either do the odds or evens, you choose”
  • Give choices when rewarding, for example, “Johnny, do you want computer time or a fancy pencil?”

Resources & Support for technique:
(Items with footnotes link to external websites)


  1. Adapted from Partners in Learning: From Conflict to Collaboration by Lieber, C. Offering Students Choices from Day One. [].
  2. Teaching Today. Give At-Risk Students Choices. [].
  3. Wolf, J. Offering Your Children Choices: Using Choices to Gain Your Kids’ Cooperation. [].
  4. Paulson, M. (2009). Parenting Tips, Kids Learn by Making Choices: Parenting Advice to Help Children Gain Independence & Responsibility. [].