The PBIS World Book

Speak in Calm And Neutral Tone

Why should I do it:

  • It is a quick method to de-escalate a student
  • It keeps you in a calm state of mind
  • A student will take your lead in the way you speak and behave
  • Reduces aggressive behavior and lashing out
  • Increase likelihood of coming to a resolution
  • Improves conflict resolution
  • Keeps the teacher in a position of authority and control
  • Prevents students from turning staff against one another or creating ancillary conflicts and tensions
  • Prevents students from causing a “scene” and gaining the attention of others
  • Prevents students from playing on the emotions of the teacher

When should I do it:

  • When you are processing a problem with a student
  • When a student is reluctant to follow your directives
  • When a student is trying to verbally engage you in an argument
  • When a student is escalating
  • When a student becomes aggressive or threatening
  • When a student’s emotions are getting the better of them
  • When students raise their voices, scream, yell, etc
  • When students become defiant and oppositional
  • When students are very upset
  • When students intentionally say insulting, rude, and mean things to intentionally make the teacher angry
  • When students purposefully try to upset or work up the teacher or others
  • When students challenge the authority of the teacher and provoke

How do I do it:

  • This technique takes a lot of patience, support, self-control and self-talk
  • Be aware of your own physiological cues to getting angry, annoyed, offended, disrespected and frustrated
  • When you have those feelings/thoughts, say to yourself talk yourself out of losing your temper
  • Use “I” statements, ie: “I would like for you to make a choice between doing your work at your desk or at another desk” Rather than “you need to make a choice now about where you are going to do your work”
  • If possible, remove yourself from a tense situation before talking to the student to calm down
  • Always provide consequences to students in the most non-emotional state possible
  • Maintain your composure and emotional state
  • DO NOT match the emotional or other escalated state of the student
  • Speak in a measured and calm manner
  • Maintain a non-threatening posture and stance
  • Do not make threatening or sudden gestures, motions, or actions
  • Be matter of fact and avoid lecturing or talking on and on
  • Be succinct
  • Avoid a lot of back and forth with the student, saying what you need to then walking away in a calm manner